SALEM (CBS) – “What haunts me the most is the look in her eyes,” says Laurin Suffern, as she remembers her pet’s last moments.
Suffern’s mother fell gravely ill eight years ago, and gave her Chihuahua named Brooklyn to Suffern to take care of before she died.
With her doctor’s help, she says she got permission to have Brooklyn live in her Salem apartment as an emotional support dog.
Then came the nightmare. “When she took her last breath, it rumbled through her lips and I could feel it on my cheek and I said, ‘She’s gone.’”
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources issued a cease and desist order against the Woburn office of the pest control company, Terminix in June. The order documents how apartment management allegedly admitted giving a Terminix crew “the wrong list” of apartments to treat.
The state ordered Terminix to “provide pre-notification” to residents before treating their homes, and to “appropriately” label poison traps like the nine that Suffern says she found in her apartment days before Brooklyn showed signs of being poisoned.
“There was blood from one end of my apartment to the other. It was everywhere,” says Suffern. “I just remember screaming.”
A Terminix spokesperson said, “We are aware of the situation and we are working with the involved parties.”
In a letter to Suffern’s attorney, a law firm representing Salem Heights Apartments said, “It would be a stretch to find fault with our client in hiring a licensed, nationwide pest control company.”
But Suffern’s attorney says she should have been notified. “There has to be a safer way when they’re working around homes with pets and since…almost two in four homes have pets, this is a vast issue,” said Jeremy Cohen of Boston Dog Lawyers.
They say they want pet owners to know what the traps look like, and the heartache they can cause.
Suffern is left with a box of her dog’s ashes and belongings, which she says can never replace having her best friend by her side. “I miss her terribly,” she says.