A Phoenix family thought that hiring a mobile groomer would be less stressful than a typical salon for their 7-year old Maltipoo, Max. Instead, the very groomer that parked a full-service salon in front of their home would be responsible for the death of their beloved dog.
For many pet parents, especially those that work long hours or owners of reactive or sensitive dogs that simply can’t be groomed in a traditional salon, mobile grooming is a godsend. Typically, a mobile groomer drives their self-contained, full-service salon right to your driveway, bathes and grooms the dog right there, and a few hours later returns a happy, clean, and gorgeously groomed pup right back to your front door.
The idea was appealing to Sean and Amanda Wohland, whose Maltipoo, Max, was stressed being left for several hours at a standard brick-and-mortar salon. Unfortunately, it’s a decision that will haunt them, and their young children, for the rest of their lives.
The Wohlands had hired a groomer from Roaming Rovers to come to their Phoenix, Arizona home last Wednesday afternoon to give Max a bath and groom. They were told the entire process would take a couple of hours.
When four hours had passed with no word from the groomer, the family became worried and went to check on Max’s progress. Amanda Wohland and her kids walked outside to look in the van’s windows. That’s when they saw Max hanging by a rope around his neck off the side of the grooming table.
“We all looked in, and we saw our dog hanging from the table,” Amanda told ABC15. “He was hanging by the table, and you could tell he was dead.”
They tried frantically to get to Max, but the door was locked. They banged on the door, but the mobile groomer was nowhere to be seen and didn’t answer.
When police arrived, they found the mobile groomer sprawled out on the floor of the van, incoherent and acting strangely. “She was completely incoherent. She was just moaning and making noises,” Amanda described. “She couldn’t sit still. She was rolling around saying she was in pain. The next minute she was numb,” added Sean.
“She was in a fetal position — like all crumpled up on the steps and then when she fell out of the van she was just still in that fetal position and was moaning and trying to get up, but she couldn’t,” said Amanda, who described the inside of the van as being in complete disarray.
“Everywhere it looked like a tornado had hit the inside. Just brushes and everything was everywhere in there.”
“Seeing the groomer, seeing the state she was in, it seems like I was in a movie it just wasn’t real,” Sean recalled to ABC15. “I couldn’t believe my eyes. She was so erratic in her nature. She couldn’t sit still. he was scratching herself saying she was in pain and she was numb at the same time.”
A now-edited Facebook post initially suggested that the groomer had taken methamphetamines at the time Max was groomed. Police are now investigating Max’s death and will release information after their investigation is complete.
The owner of Roaming Rovers mobile grooming released the following statement:
On behalf of Rovers, we once again wish to offer our deepest condolences to the Wohland family for the loss of their beloved Max. We regret at this time, that until the pending investigation is complete, we are unable to be interviewed. Once again, our hearts go out to Sean, Amanda, and their children. God bless.
The owner has also confirmed that the groomer responsible for Max’s death has been fired. At this time, she has not been arrested or charged, but police say animal cruelty charges are possible pending the outcome of their investigation.