Dog deaths, injury reported after groomings by a PetSmart in NJ
LAMBERTVILLE — When Danielle DiNapoli dropped her dog at the PetSmart in Flemington for a routine grooming, she had no idea it would be the last time she would see Scruffles alive.
DiNapoli and her husband, Tom, said they left their 8-year-old English bulldog at the store on the morning of Dec. 29, and 45 minutes later got a call that the pup was dead.
Two weeks later, these city residents are still looking for answers.
"No one was there to answer my questions. No one was available to give us any explanation about what happened to our beloved family member," Danielle said. "From what the vet stated, the dog was dead upon arrival. They tried extensive CPR and they could not bring her back."
Scruffles was not the only dog to die after going to the same PetSmart's groomers last month.
Tara Fiet said she brought her dog to PetSmart on Dec. 22. He died two days later.
NJ.com also reported that another dog owner said his dog wound up with a back injury after a visit on Dec. 22. That owner said PetSmart called and told him that his shih tzu bit a groomer, which he said was out of character for the dog.
The DiNapolis launched the Facebook page Justice for Scruffles, which has more than 2,000 likes so far.
"People go there and there are so many people that have written their stories about the tragedies they've endured through PetSmart grooming," DiNapoli said.
She said they filed a report with the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which investigates animal abuse.
A statement from PetSmart said the company was "truly saddened by the loss of Scruffles," and that the internal investigation determined that the associates involved in in Scruffles' care "followed all policies and procedures consistent with care and services provided to breeds such as bulldogs."
The company said it is awaiting the results of a necropsy, "which will likely assist in understanding the overall circumstances leading to Scruffles' unfortunate passing."
Not knowing what happened to Scruffles has been heartbreaking for DiNapoli, who said she is hoping they can help ensure that no other families have to endure a similar heartbreak.
It is accountability, responsibility, and change at PetSmart that DiNapoli said she would like to see come from all this. She said that can start with ensuring that groomers who the company hires are properly trained and held accountable for their work.
"The lack of remorse on their behalf, the way in which they dropped the dog off and did not wait for us to arrive to console us, and at least give us some information as to what happened, I just can't believe they would do something like that," Tom DiNapoli said.
"It's so unfair," his wife said. "It's the sudden shocking loss of a loved one and I'm not able to get closure because they keep changing their story and then they won't give us anything in writing."
Even if they get the written investigation report that PetSmart promised to provide them, the DiNapolis said it will have "no credence" because the company has changed its story so many times in the past few weeks.
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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com