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New England family warns of the suffocation dangers of pets and snack bags

Before you pop open a bag of your favorite summertime snack, veterinarians and pet owners are asking others to think twice. (WGME)

WILTON, CT (WGME) – Before you pop open a bag of your favorite summertime snack, veterinarians and pet owners are asking others to think twice.

Abandoned as a week-old puppy in North Carolina, Bentley found a home in Wilton, Connecticut, and a mother, in Tara Hibbitts.

In October, the Hibbitts family was running an errand and left Bentley at home.

Seven-year-old Logan will never forget what he saw next when they returned an hour later.

"We came home and he was laying on the ground with the bag on his head, and throw up inside of it," Logan Hibbitts said.

Ten-year-old Bentley was dead, suffocated by a Mylar chip bag that was left on the couch.

For a mother, it was a shocking sight.

"The bag was like sealed around his neck. so that's what happened. He was just struggling walking around the living room trying to get it off," Tara Hibbitts said. "He died a very scared little dog."

For a seven-year-old boy, there was grief and guilt.

"I said it was my fault, because I'm the one who left it out," Logan Hibbitts said.

More than 17,000 people share, read and mourn animals lost like Bentley on the “Prevent Pet Suffocation” Facebook page.

Local veterinarian Bennett Wilson says if your pet gets its paws on a Mylar bag, it can lose its life in a matter of minutes.

"If the animal inhales, and creates that vacuum, that bag gets sucked up against their face and covers their windpipe, and then it obstructs their breathing," Wilson said.

The best way to stop suffocation is by bailing on the bag. Empty out chips into a resealable container, once empty, cut off the bottom and sides of the bag before you throw it away.

"Any dog. Any smart dog, any dumb dog, any old dog, any young dog, they're all fully capable of this, because it's food," Wilson said.

Nine months after Bentley's death, his loss still haunts the Hibbitts family.

Now the Hibbitts say Bentley's life mission has never been clearer.

He’s a guardian angel, for the families unaware of the potential tragedy hiding in their trash can.

"Any kind of pet, you should never leave a bag out," Logan Hibbits said. “Because it’s the easiest way their pet can die."

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