SAN MATEO —A San Mateo dog groomer and the national chain he worked for were hit with a lawsuit Tuesday by the owners of a dog that died after what was supposed to be a routine nail clipping last May.
KRON4’s Maureen Kelly talked to the owners who are still grieving their loss, and their attorney who says the company PetSmart has a long list of complaints involving animals being injured or even killed by their groomers.
“It was horrific,” Henry’s owner said “We took him for a nail clipping and he came out spewing blood.”
That groomer, Juan Zarate, could be in front of a jury as soon as next week after pleading not guilty to charges of felony animal abuse and animal cruelty. The San Mateo D.A. says Zarate was angry that the dog wouldn’t cooperate and that a necropsy showed the dog had been strangled, suffered two broken ribs and a punctured lung.
On Tuesday in their lawyer’s office, Stefan Zier and Terrie Peacock sat holding their surviving dogs Bella and Tony closely. They refer to Henry as their son.
“We never had children together, so I hope people understand that these are our children,” Zier said.
“He was just a little dog just 10 lbs, just turned one year old we had no idea that taking him in could end his life,” Peacock said.
Their lawyer says a review of ConsumerAffairs.com show numerous complaints of other animals being seriously injured or even killed in while in the care of PetSmart groomers at locations across the nation since 2010. They are also concerned that the dog grooming industry is unregulated.
“So I go in and get a manicure that lady doing my nails is licensed by the state, there is regulation of that industry there is nothing like that for pet grooming, so PetSmart represents that its groomers are trained over 400 hours and certified in safety,” said Zier and Peacock’s lawyer. “That’s PetSmart’s own training that’s their own certification process and they have the control to improve their grooming and unfortunately they seems they did not.”
KRON4 reached out to PetSmart to get a comment on the lawsuit. They say they do not comment on pending litigation.
Henry’s owners say this legal action is not about the money.
“We just want to make sure no one else has to go through this,” Peacock said.