On Wednesday, Twitch user Royce Thomas happened to be livestreaming her visit to Bark n’ Bitches, a pet shop in Los Angeles. While the camera was filming, a shop employee forcibly grabbed a dog by the neck and violently threw her across the room. The dog, who was visibly shaken after the assault, reportedly landed on her head with an audible thump. The footage, seen below, quickly went viral. Folks online are understandably upset.
In response to the abuse, Bark n’ Bitches posted this statement on Instagram:
“There was an inexcusable incident in the shop tonight. We will not tolerate this or any actions that put our rescues in harms [sic] way. The appropriate actions are being taken.”
In the caption, the business also stated that a veterinarian had “cleared” the dog and that it was “grateful.” In a follow-up Instagram video, shop owner Shannon von Roemer informed viewers that “the employee is no longer with us.” “Fired?? Try arrested. Gotta be kidding me,” retorted one person on Twitter:
Fired?? Try arrested. Gotta be kidding me
— Josh Reich (@jdr1227) November 14, 2019
According to TMZ, local animal services are investigating the pet shop boutique and the Los Angeles Police Department’s Animal Cruelty Task Force is allegedly aware of the incident.
If You See Something, Say Something
“If she was comfortable throwing a dog in front of an audience, you can bet your life savings that her abuse against animals is A LOT worse when she is alone with them,” one person commented on YouTube. “This was in front of customers. What’s going on behind closed doors?” asked another person on Instagram.
The comments are true … and if Thomas hadn’t recorded the incident—and if the video hadn’t sparked viral outrage—would the abusive worker still be handling dogs?
It’s crucial that everyone—whether paid employees or volunteers—be thoroughly vetted before being allowed to work with animals.
Animals Need Us to Speak Up
Thomas’ actions—recording the violent incident and publicizing the footage—may have prevented future abuse. We know that witnessing animal abuse can be very traumatic, especially if you aren’t sure what to do about it.
How Do I Report Animal Abuse?
If you see that an animal is in imminent danger, you know specifically where to find the animal, and the abuse or danger is occurring at the time, please call your local police department. If it’s unresponsive, call PETA—we’re here to help.
Remember, your actions may be the animal’s only hope. Take photographs, record video, and—most importantly—don’t leave the scene until the situation has been resolved.