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Dog’s Death Sparks Groomer Backlash

Written by PETA | August 16, 2011

Can you trust your groomer? A dog named Sadie died a hideous death from burns and other injuries when a PETCO groomer left her locked inside a cage dryer. Now her guardian, Teresa Gilland, is suing the company, seeking to have cage dryers banned in their grooming locations. We concur. Cage dryers can be death traps, and one needless death in a grooming salon is one too many.

This isn’t the first time—and it almost certainly won’t be the last—that an animal has been injured or has died because of PETCO’s negligence. Countless animals have suffered from heat exhaustion after being left unattended in front of hot dryers, and at least one dog accidentally hanged herself when she was left unattended and tried to jump out of a grooming tub.

The best way to protect your dog from all this trauma and danger and yourself from the risk of losing a family member is to learn to groom your dog yourself. It isn’t hard, and patience is required, but it is worth it. Still going to the groomer? Then PETA offers these safety tips:

  • Stay with your dog! Never let your dog disappear into the back room, no matter what anyone says. Groomers who have nothing to hide should welcome you or let you watch through a viewing window.
  • Consider mobile groomers who will provide services at your home, where you can watch and participate.
  • Find a veteran groomer who is confident with his or her skills and limitations and knowledgeable about animal behavior. Turn and walk out the door if the groomer appears to be afraid of or impatient with animals.
  • Look up your groomer on the Better Business Bureau and do a Google search to see if any other patrons have encountered problems with the groomer.

For more information, see PETA’s grooming accident factsheet.


Written by Michelle Sherrow

Commenting is closed.
  • Dominick Serra says:

    Petco in Lake Grove, NY killed my dog on 04/13/2011. He was dropped during a grooming rupturing his spleen, over 4 days I spent over $7000 trying to save my little guy. Over 3 years later I havent gotten a dime from my lawsuit .

  • DaizyMaine says:

    I learned to groom my own dogs, there are excellent youtube videos to guide you and the best thing is the hair grows back so a mistake is gone soon enough. My friend/breeder gave me advice and pointers and it did not take long to get great results. I would rather know they are secure and happy in the process, so I invested in professional tools – they have paid for themselves in a couple groomings (I have 2 dogs). Good heads up on the company though, I was not aware of the problems.

  • Lisaj says:

    I have a very similar story however my dog did survive her horrific injury: In August of 2010 I had taken my Papillon named Winnie to Petco to be groomed. The usual groomer was not available so the appointment was booked with another Petco groomer. My dog seemed extremely distressed at pick-up time; she was crying and squirming while being handed over the counter into my arms. When I asked the groomer “Katie” what was wrong with my dog? She replied: “Winnie is such a Drama Queen!” Upon arriving home I discovered that Winnie was in such pain that she was unable to walk. I examined her more closely and noticed an enormous bruise covering almost the entire left side of her tiny body! Since being groomed at Petco Winnie has had to undergo four surgeries. Her blackened skin had become necrotic and a large portion of her left side had to be removed. Winnie’s surgeon believes her injury to be the result of a thermal burn. Winnie walks with a limp and has no fur on her left side. The insurance company for Petco has not yet offered to reconcile her medical bills after almost a year. My little dog is not the same happy carefree spirit she used to be but our family is grateful that she has survived.

  • Groomer says:

    incompetent groomers like the ones causing negligence related deaths and the like are giving professional groomers a bad name. I have been grooming for about five years; not a long time compared to some people but I at least know how dangerous MANY of the tools in a grooming environment can be for a dog. The cage dryer is just one risk in many that can cause serious harm. The best way to prevent these kinds of horrible oversights is to remain vigilant and attentive for every animal you are grooming. I have NEVER had a negligence related injury because I am never negligent to my clients. To ban cage dryers from the grooming environment would be very detrimental to my grooming routine. a cage dryer should only be used to ensure that the face is dried, thus ensuring that the finishing dryer never has to go near it. Finishing dryers are another risk groomers (good ones) must know how, when and where on a dog’s body to use. The solution to this problem is simple: Foolish hack artists running around with their grandmother’s shears chopping dog hair to smithereens and killing innocent animals out of sheer stupidity should choose another profession, such as french fry technician at a local fast food restaurant. Amateurs! PUT THE SHEARS DOWN AND STOP THE NEEDLESS KILLING! I would never work at a petco because they price gouge the customer and let anyone who attended their “special” grooming schools to groom. I work alongside some real artists. I love the money, but I love the animals I groom even more. The ones that truly need to be clean and clipped are why I groom in the first place. ALL dogs, disabled, unkempt, overgrown, agressive, or otherwise, should be as clean and healthy as the show dogs. enough from me.

  • rottsrus says:

    I would never leave my dog anywhere near Petco. Just the thought gives me the heebie jeebies.

  • Mae says:

    I worked as an assistant groomer at petco for a while,  I stayed there as long as I could bear it, but its the people working there that can be unethical. Some cruel ppl who have no business near animals were hired on the spot bc of thier money making rappor as an effecient groomer. I hate kennels as much as the next.person bur I know the store I was at the kennels were ventilated by air vents that were room tempeture and only on for 15 minutes once the pet was inside. I dont think that the equipment was necessarily cruel I think thw groomers themselvesought to be in jail. I definatley believe that animals will continue to suffer under petcos care as long as theyre money hungry — who dont care about anything except a sale. Fortunatley I was able to get out of there, and I groom my pups at home n pals to do the same.

  • maddy says:

    This is sad. I remember we once had one of our dogs go to the groomer’s at Petsmart and when he came back they had done a terrible job of trimmign the hair around his face that he had bald spots and they clipped his nails too short to the point where they were bleeding! We’ve never taken him back to that place since the incident.

  • kathy says:

    Many years ago we took a dog we had to a groomer and we picked her up when she was done. When she came home she was mad at us for about 2 hours. She would have nothing to do with us and spent 2 hours alone anywhere we were not, which was the yard. She looked mad as she sat alone. They obviously did something mean to her. She was a very happy dog before we left her there. We never took her to a groomer again.

  • Kalama Halamezad says:

    How sad. I tend to take my dog to groomers where the grooming area is both public and within eyesight and earshot of multiple workers at all times. That way, at least if something goes awry, someone will at least hear a dog in distress.