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Taking a pet to the groomers shouldn’t be a life or death experience, but unfortunately for animals across the nation, grooming has become a dangerous experience.
For one man in New York, it was fatal for his 10-month-old English Bulldog.
When Darren Harris dropped his dog, Enzo, off at a Petsmart to get groomed, he wasn’t worried for Enzo’s well-being. So, when got an emergency call to “come quickly” from the PetSmart, he was shocked.
By the time he and his mother arrived, the pup had been moved from the grooming station to the Banfield Pet Hospital inside the store.
Enzo was losing oxygen and couldn’t breathe; he didn’t even recognize his family when they got to the animal hospital.
English Bulldogs and other Brachycephalic breeds (ones with short snouts), when in hot or stressful environments, can experience respiratory distress. When grooming salons cause these breathing issues, it can even be life-threatening.
A PetSmart spokesperson said via KTLA that specialized care is offered for English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs, Boxers, Boston Terriers and any dog mixed with one of these breeds.
This special care includes:
- An enhanced Hands on Pet Assessment at the time of check-in and check-out.
- An Express Groom requirement (very minimal time in a kennel, service performed start to finish).
- The use of harness-style methods, instead of traditional leads around the neck.
- No kennel-dryers -pets are towel dried or hand-held drying is utilized.
- No muzzles used.
However, even though Petsmart claimed to take precautions, Enzo was panicked, unable to breathe, and was slowly suffocating because of the grooming. A representative for the company claimed that the groomer “acted appropriately and, with Enzo’s care in mind, recognized signs of stress, stopped all services and immediately took Enzo to the veterinarian.”
When Darren and his mother saw their puppy at the pet hospital, they were heartbroken. He was running back and forth while his air passages closed up on him. His family didn’t know what to do — and apparently, the vets working at the hospital didn’t, either.
Tragically, Enzo passed away an hour after being taken to the clinic.
“He was the sweetest dog ever. And to watch him take his last breath…and we trusted these people,” Enzo’s dad said.
No necropsy (animal autopsy) was performed on Enzo after he passed away, so the exact cause of death will never be known.
Although veterinarian Dr. Richard Jakimer had previously diagnosed Enzo with a kidney disease, it’s not believed that this disease was the reason for the puppy’s death. Kidney disease had the potential to limit Enzo’s lifespan, but it wouldn’t have caused sudden respiratory distress that lead to an acute death.
Enzo’s dad filed a lawsuit against PetSmart in small claims court — and warns others of taking their beloved pets to groomers (especially large chain store groomers). Although the puppy’s death was an accident, it wasn’t the first. There has been a rash of accidental animal deaths at grooming salons — and its a pattern of negligence that pet owners need to be aware of.
When you hand your fur baby over to be groomed, make sure that the people responsible for your pet will take care of them! Don’t let a precious member of the family d.ie because of this kind of preventable negligence.