Do you have a pet companion at home? If you do, you know just how precious and beloved these animals are to us. It doesn’t take long for us to think of our pets not like animals but like family members. Similarly, studies have shown that humans often feel more empathy for animals than they even do for their fellow human beings.
It’s for these reasons and others that an emerging story about PetSmart has drawn so much attention in the press.
According to Today, PetSmart has recently faced animal mistreatment allegations after at least four dogs died after grooming appointments in the store’s custody.
These deaths took place within the last five months and three of them took place at stores throughout New Jersey. Most recently, dog owner Chuck Crawford told NJ.com that his eight-year-old corgi, Abby, had died during a bath at the store chain as recently as March 29th. According to Crawford, he was frustrated with how the company broke the news to him:
“It was a 20-second phone call. It was so crude and beyond comprehension. To take your pet for a grooming and have them die? That is the absolute worst thing.”
Crawford originally brought both his corgis, Abby and Harley, in for the grooming.
Though he was able to pick up Harley safe and sound, the news about Abby was shocking—particularly because he was told to pick up the dog’s body at a store separate from the one he had dropped her off at. The original store that Crawford visited had been the Toms River store, but he was told to pick up Abby’s remains at a nearby store in Brick. Still, PetSmart released a statement explaining what had happened:
“When Abby became unresponsive, our associates took her to a neighboring PetSmart store with an in-store veterinarian. We are deeply saddened by Abby’s passing and we are in constant contact with her pet parent during this very difficult time.”
In addition to Crawford, other pet owners have also reported having negative experiences with the chain.
“A woman named Danielle DiNapoli also posted her experiences with her dog, Scruffles, in a Facebook post from December 30th, 2017 which has since gone viral. Under similar circumstances, DiNapoli reports that her dog was also going in for a standard grooming when the unthinkable happened:
My beautiful healthy scruffles died yesterday at Pet Smart in Flemington Nj while getting a standard grooming. Pet smart refuses to answer any questions regarding her passing and only states it’s under investigation. We have asked to speak to the groomer and a report of what happened during her last hours on earth. They refuse to give us information. Please share if anyone as witnessed our baby yesterday at petsmart in Flemington at 9:45am – 10:40 am pls inbox me. Please help us❤”
Napoli’s story was also bolstered by dog owners Tara Fiet and David Bolduc, who took their dogs to the same store in Flemington.
Fiet’s dog, Ranger, came home from his grooming seeming lethargic and under the weather before dying two days later. Bolduc’s dog, George, came back alive from his appointment but with a serious back injury. According to all the above parties, PetSmart was unable to adequately explain what had happened to the pets during grooming that caused their injuries.
As a result of everything, PetSmart now faces a lawsuit from DiNapoli family.
Regardless of how the case finds out, let this story stand as a PSA for all pet owners—particularly those living in the area of the affected stores.
Although we all love our pets dearly, it’s good to remind ourselves to take extra precautions when letting others take care of our pets. In the meantime, PetSmart will be under legal scrutiny to explain what happened in some of these cases of alleged animal mistreatment.
Make sure to take extra care of your pets when leaving them in the care of strangers, pet owners!
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