After a video went viral this week that shows a Petco groomer repeatedly yanking a terrified dog’s leg, the company announced today it has fired the unidentified man.
Hanna Marie Pellissier was in her car outside the Atlanta Petco late Sunday afternoon when, through a store window, she witnessed the groomer’s abusive handling of the dog.
“He was trying to cut his nails and the dog pulled his paw away,” Pellissier wrote in a description of the cellphone video she took and then posted on Facebook.
“The employee then started smacking the table and then pulling hard on the dog’s leg. The poor dog was panicking and trying to get away. The employee just kept pulling on him.”
She notified the store’s manager, who told her, “I’ll try to say something to him.” She also called Petco’s customer service to complain.
Three days later, thanks to Pellissier’s diligence and the power of social media, Petco terminated the employee.
“There are strict grooming protocols in place to ensure the safety and well-being of pets, and we are very concerned by the conduct of the groomer in this video,” the company said in a statement sent today to 11Alive. “As such, after a thorough investigation, this employee is no longer at Petco.”
The dog is in good health and back at home, Petco stated.
No Statewide Regulation for Dog Groomers
Surprisingly, dog groomers are not required to be licensed or certified in any U.S. state. (New York City and Miami-Dade County, Fla., do regulate them; however, this is not done statewide.)
Thousands of dogs have been injured or died in the hands of incompetent groomers. Although laws have been proposed in some states to regulate grooming businesses, none of them have passed.
“Bijou’s Bill” is currently making its way through the New Jersey legislature. It’s named in memory of a Shih Tzu who died during a routine grooming session at PetSmart. “Lucy’s Law,” a similar bill in California that was named after a Yorkshire Terrier mix who was severely injured by a groomer, failed to pass in 2012. Petco and PetSmart strongly opposed the bill and lobbied against it.
Until statewide laws are passed, when you take your dog to a groomer (especially at a large chain store, where many of the deaths and injuries occurred), it could be a life-or-death matter to ask some important questions.
“It would behoove you to find out who your groomer is, how long they’ve been grooming, what kind of track record they have — you need to do this kind of work,” Rosemary Marchetto, Bijou’s dog mom, told CBS New York in December.
“I thought it was safe. I thought it was a licensed profession.”
Here’s the video Pellissier took, which is difficult to watch.
Photo via Facebook