WARNING: This story contains graphic images not suitable for all readers
An unnamed PetSmart employee in Houston has been fired, after a video of her abusing a Shih Tzu during a grooming visit went viral.
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According to a statement to the Washington Post, a PetSmart spokesperson said the treatment of the two-year-old dog was “completely unacceptable.”
“The associate was immediately terminated. At PetSmart, we all love pets, and this video does not represent who we are as a company,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Last week, owner Brooke Vowers posted the graphic video of the incident on her Facebook page.
“Just took my dog to get groomed and as I’m walking out this lady comes up to me and said she’s been waiting for an hour to see whose dog this was because of how mean the groomer was to her and that she called corporate,” she wrote on the social media site.
“I am sick to my stomach about it and will not be going back.”
The video shows the groomer aggressively holding down the dog’s, Boo, muzzle and yanking the dog’s ear.
The video had come to Vowers’ attention by Zahiana Jenkins and Terah Leder, two PetSmart customers who recorded the incident through a window. After about seven seconds, the two had intervened and started swearing.
“Me and Terah Leder were flooded with anger while watching this woman ‘groom’ this very sweet animal,” Jenkins wrote on Facebook.
“It came to the point where it wouldn’t have felt right to leave without finding the owner and letting her know what happened to her sweet baby,” she continued. “As you can see me and Terah weren’t having it and hit the hell out of the glass.”
This news comes months after a Pennsylvania family’s dog died after it was mauled at a PetSmart grooming centre.
“We still don’t know why the other dog came in close enough contact with [our dog] Brewster,” owner Lauren Miller told Global News in November 2017.
“We know Brewster was being groomed, so he was tethered to a waist height table, but what was the other dog doing with a lead long enough to get him?”
Social media users react
On Vowers’ Facebook video, hundreds of users shared their disgust and anger with the groomer’s treatment of Boo.
“That dog is every bit the owner’s child. The poor dog was trying to be brave because the dog knew mommy dropped it off for grooming and the dog was trying its best to still be good in the face of the groomer’s aggression,” user Annabell Whit wrote.
“Your dog wasn’t being uncooperative and didn’t attempt to bite the so-called groomer. Please sue them. I hope you get reimbursed for every dollar you spent having your dog groomed there, as well as punitive damages against PetSmart for traumatizing your pet,” user Hadeev Sel-Naib wrote.
Another Facebook user alleged she saw the same groomer abusing other dogs. “I’ve actually had words with her. I used to take my dog there for nail grinding and would stay and wait,” user Jeanette Leal Murrell wrote.
On Feb. 2, Vowers posted an update after finding out the PetSmart groomer was fired from her job.
“Just want to thank everyone for the kind messages and support. It’s unfortunate someone had to [lose] their job but I truly hope this is an eye-opener to new policies with grooming monitoring in the future,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “I hope changes are made and this prevents future damage.”