Henry, a 1-year-old Dachshund, was only supposed to get a grooming Sunday at a PetSmart in San Mateo, Calif.
But Henry ended up with a punctured lung and two broken ribs after spending only three minutes with groomer Juan Zarate. As Henry bled from his mouth and had difficulty breathing, an on-site veterinarian tried to save his life — to no avail.
“We know that the dog was brought there with no injuries or no known illnesses of any kind and we do believe that actions taken by the groomer, during the grooming session, is what caused the dog to die,” San Mateo Police Department Sgt. Rick Decker told ABC7 News.
Zarate was arrested at the store and charged with felony animal cruelty. He is out on bail and expected to make his first court appearance sometime in June.
An X-ray revealed Henry’s internal injuries. The Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA is conducting a necropsy (an autopsy for animals) to determine what caused Henry’s death.
Meanwhile, PetSmart is conducting its own investigation.
“We are heartbroken by the loss of Henry. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of pets, and we take full responsibility for the pets in our care,” the company said in a statement sent to ABC7 News.
“The individual involved has been placed on suspension pending the outcome of this investigation. Any incident of animal cruelty goes against everything we believe as a company and as individual pet parents. No words can express our deep sorrow for the family, and we will continue to work with the pet parent during this difficult time.”
Henry is not the only dog that has been killed or injured by a groomer at PetSmart (or Petco, or other pet stores). You may be surprised to know that pet groomers are not required to be licensed or certified in any U.S. state. They are regulated in New York City and Miami-Dade County, Fla., but not statewide.
New Jersey may be the first state to require licenses for groomers. The proposed law, “Bijou’s Bill,” is named in memory of a 6-year-old Shih Tzu who died during a routine grooming session — at a PetSmart store.
Until statewide laws are passed, to prevent a tragedy from happening to your own dog, it could be a life-or-death matter to ask the groomer some important questions, especially at PetSmart and Petco stores, where many of the incidents have occurred.
“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,” Bijou’s dog mom, Rosemary Marchetto, told CBS New York.
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