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Dog Owners Say Heating Pads Used During Surgery Left Their Pets With Severe Burns

RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A New Jersey woman is calling for change after her dog suffered burns during a procedure at an animal hospital in Ridgefield Park.

Cooper, a boisterous 3-year-old English bull dog, is everything Cris Repoles ever wanted in a pet.

"Cooper is lovely, he's adorable, he's a very sweet boy," Repoles told CBS2's Jessica Layton.

But her playful companion has been suffering in pain.

"He has third degree burns all over his body," she said.

Burns, she says, he got from a heating pad while undergoing surgery at Ridgefield Park Animal Hospital in December.

Repoles said when she first noticed the bumps, the head veterinarian said it was a skin allergy. But the wounds got worse, and she got a second opinion.

"He said any vet would look at that and know those are heat burns, so I was like, hmm," she said.

Bobby Lombardo said the same thing happened to his Rottweiler, Harley, in March.

"It's pretty uncomfortable to see her in pain," he said. "I've been a dog lover my whole life. They've had many successful surgeries, none of which they were burned with a heating pad."

Layton visited Ridgefield Park Animal Hospital and spoke with the owner, who said the heating pads are necessary, because of the risk of hypothermia during surgeries.

Doctors place a towel over the heating pad, so it isn't directly on the dog's skin, and then plug the pad into the wall. But there's no way to actually monitor the temperature.

So now, they're using a different kind of pad that does show the temperature.

The head vet at the animal hospital said they're sorry about Cooper's injuries and have tried calling to apologize several times. He also said they didn't even know Harley was hurt until reporters notified them.

In the meantime, Repoles started a petition to ban the heating pads from veterinary practices altogether, in hopes it will prevent another dog from discomfort.

"Find something else, find blankets – I don't know, I'm not an expert, but I believe there is a solution out there," she said.

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