The dogs died of heat exhaustion after an HVAC short.

After a "freak accident" last Sunday, eight dogs have died of heat exhaustion at Virginia Beach Dog Training in Portsmouth, Virginia. According to Portsmouth-based WAVY-TV, co-owner Nicole Hubert "explained that the owners left the house for 5 to 6 hours and during that time somehow the AC unit clicked on, but turned to heat somehow."

John Holloway, who lost his French Bulldog, Ego, told WAVY-TV that "Hubert explained the house got to be about 90 degrees."

Another dog owner, Chris Kowalski, told WTKR, "At the time, they just said that their AC went out and that they went to church and they were gone for roughly four hours. When they came home, they said multiple dogs had passed away, some of them were sick and they just started spraying them down with water trying to cool them off. I spoke with [owner Nicole Hubert] on Monday, and I guess there was actually a short in their HVAC system, and rather than the AC just being faulty, it caused it to blow out hot air the entire time they were gone." 

While Virginia Beach Dog Training did not specify the number of dogs that died in the accident, Portsmouth Animal Control officials said eight dogs passed away. 

Both Holloway and Kowalski "tried to leave reviews on Facebook, but the company's page was gone." Kowalski said, "What really got to me was when they took their Facebook page down and we couldn't leave comments and reviews for other people considering to use them in the future. It also hurt that 24 hours later, they did bring another dog in. I mean, they just had six to eight dogs die there Sunday afternoon and they brought a new one in Monday afternoon." 

By Thursday, Virginia Beach Dog Training's Facebook page was back up. They posted the below statement

"Last weekend we had a freak accident that resulted in the loss of both members of our personal pack as well as several of our clients dogs. We are devastated by the loss and have tried to show compassion and respect for the wishes of the parents of those that were lost. We have been in direct, timely contact with each person affected by the accident and have been transparent with the events surrounding the accident. Once the immediate crisis was handled, we investigated the cause, found, and corrected the equipment failure, as well as are continuing to put measures in place to prevent any chances this situation could happen again.

We have been in contact with animal control and have cooperated fully with their investigation.

Words cannot begin to express our sadness we feel as a team and we understand the outrage and concern. We appreciate the support from our clients who have reached out during this terrible time to offer their condolences and continued support.An animal control investigation is underway."

While both Holloway and Kowalski say Hubert compensated them $5,000 and had their dogs cremated, Holloway is considering a civil lawsuit. "If your sole business is to run an animal boarding school and if eight of those animals die," Hollway told WTKR, "I don't think you get to continue doing that."

We're horrified to hear about this accident. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.