For Immediate Release:
September 14, 2022
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382
Pittsburgh – “Everybody was just standing around doing absolutely nothing, and Kobe was [lying] there lifeless.” That’s the horrifying scene depicted by CBS reporter A.J. Ross in an urgent new PETA video, in which she recounts finding her beloved dog, Kobe, dead on the grooming table at a local PetSmart store after bringing him in for a routine nail trim. To help other guardians prevent tragedy, Ross is sharing her story and new surveillance footage of Kobe’s death, which shows the dog struggling with two restraints around his neck before he died.
“There’s so much inherent risk, and you are literally placing your pet’s life in their hands,” says Ross, who notes that she was only out of the room for about 10 minutes. “I wish this would never happen to anyone else.”
Ross and PETA urge dog guardians to learn how to groom animals themselves or find groomers who make house calls and always allow guardians to stay with their dogs. The group points out that public reports show PetSmart and other big-box pet store chains and grooming facilities have a laundry list of incidents involving animals who have been traumatized, allowed to escape, severely injured, and even killed in their grooming salons. As one investigation revealed, employees are pressured to meet quotas, leading groomers to shove animals through as quickly as possible, assembly-line style.
“The tethers around Kobe’s neck appear to operate like a noose, and reports indicate that he is one of many dogs who has died this way at PetSmart and other places that offer grooming services,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling on guardians to stay with their dogs during grooming sessions to ensure their safety, because even a simple nail trim could be a matter of life or death.”
Ross obtained footage of the incident after demanding a criminal investigation, and in recent weeks, she filed a civil suit against PetSmart and two employees. The latter also face felony charges of cruelty to animals. PetSmart stated that it had launched its own internal investigation and “found unintended failure to adhere to our pet safety processes” and that it was subject to an external investigation. The chain eventually terminated personnel it described as “responsible” for the incident.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.