PetSmart Kills: Another Dog Dies After ‘Routine’ Grooming Session

Pet-Store Chain Under Fire for Spate of Grooming Deaths—PETA Exposé Prompts Police Sting

For Immediate Release:
June 4, 2018

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

San Antonio

PETA has learned that yet another dog has died after being entrusted to PetSmart groomers, marking the latest in a series of animal deaths following grooming sessions at the store’s salons. On May 22, Brandi Villarreal picked up her dog, Lexi, from a PetSmart store in San Antonio and found her distressed and breathing heavily. Her tongue was blue, and her gums were purple. After multiple trips to the vet over the next two days—during which time PetSmart called the distraught Villarreal requesting the veterinary paperwork—the previously healthy dog was found to have a consolidation in her chest, likely caused by trauma, and had to be euthanized because of her declining condition.

“After what should have been a routine grooming session, a dog was left in severe respiratory distress for two days before dying—and PetSmart is apparently doing its usual shady song and dance in response,” says PETA Director of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “This tragedy is exactly why PETA urges animal guardians to steer clear of big-box pet-store chains and choose only reputable groomers.”

Since 2016, at least five other dogs—including one in California who sustained two broken ribs and a punctured lung and died of strangulation—have died at or following grooming sessions at PetSmart locations across the country, and many more have been traumatized, allowed to escape, or severely injured. The incidents have sparked protests at PetSmart stores nationwide and inspired New Jersey legislators to introduce bills aiming to regulate the grooming industry and enable guardians to seek damages for their animals’ deaths.

In March, PETA released disturbing video footage and photographs from a multistate eyewitness investigation revealing systemic neglect and widespread animal suffering at three PetSmart stores. The findings prompted police to raid a Nashville store, seize sick and injured animals, and file cruelty charges against the store’s three managers.

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