Trip To PetSmart Ends In Tragedy For Puppy Owner, Groomer Arrested On Suspicion Of Cruelty

What was supposed to be a simple visit to the groomer ended in tragedy for one pet parent after their Dachshund puppy died at a PetSmart in San Mateo, California. Police arrested the PetSmart groomer on suspicion of animal cruelty after postmortem X-rays determined Henry had suffered two broken ribs and a punctured lung.

The 1-year-old dog named Henry was taken to the PetSmart purely by chance after his regular groomer was unavailable that day.

Just 3 minutes after the Henry’s owner dropped him off at the PetSmart, the technician came out saying that the pup suffered a medical emergency.

The groomer, identified as 38-year old Juan Zarate of San Francisco, apparently exited the grooming office holding Henry, who was bleeding from the mouth and having trouble breathing, and took him to the on-site veterinarian. The vet was unable to save Henry and he died, NBC News reported.

San Mateo police officers responded after Henry’s owner called them to the store. After X-rays revealed the Henry’s injuries, San Mateo police responded quickly to the news and arrested Zarate and booked him on suspicion of felony animal cruelty.

PetSmart said in a statement it is “heartbroken over the loss of Henry.”

“Any incident of animal cruelty goes against everything we believe as a company and as individual pet parents,” PetSmart said in the statement. “No words can express our deep sorrow for the family, and we will continue to work with the pet parent during this difficult time.”

The company said it is conducting an internal investigation and that Zarate is suspended pending the outcome.

Henry’s regular groomer spoke to NBC News and says the puppy was always submissive and well behaved and doesn’t understand how a dog can go in for a nail trim and end up dead. She feels guilt-stricken after she and Henry’s owner had a minor scheduling conflict that lead to Henry being taken to PetSmart.

Since the news came out, other owners now coming forward to say that their dogs have been injured at the same PetSmart.

“This is a tragic case of animal cruelty and thus, led to decisive action in the arrest of the alleged offender,” police said in a news release. “The pets in our community can’t speak for themselves, so its inherent on all of us to be alert to the signs and symptoms of animal cruelty and neglect.”

This is not the first time large pet retail chains have had questionable grooming incidents. In 2015 a dog died at Petco after being left in a dryer and another Petco customer allegedly caught a groomer abusing a dog on video.

Many dog owners in California are calling for regulation of groomers. Do you think this would be a solution?

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