Dog Abuse

Dog Dies During Grooming at New Jersey PetSmart

A New Jersey pet parent is devastated over the sudden and unexplained death of his healthy Corgi during a routine grooming appointment at PetSmart.

petsmart grooming

It was the third death of a dog in the care of New Jersey PetSmart groomers in as many months on March 29, when dog owner Chuck Crawford got the horrifying news.

Crawford dropped both his dogs, best friend Corgis Abby and Harley at the Tom’s River, New Jersey PetSmart store around 8:00am for a routine bath and groom. At about 9:45, he received a call that his beloved Abby was dead.

“It was a 20-second phone call. It was so crude and beyond comprehension,” Crawford told “To take your pet for a grooming, and then have them die? That is the absolute worst thing.”

Crawford was told that Harley was fine and could be picked up, but 8-year old Abby was dead. To retrieve her body, however, he would have to go to a nearby store in Brick, New Jersey, where she’d been taken by PetSmart employees when she became unresponsive.

“When Abby became unresponsive, our associates took her to a neighboring PetSmart store with an in-store veterinarian,” PetSmart said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by Abby’s passing and we are in constant contact with her pet parent during this very difficult time.”

Without answers as to what happened to his beloved dog, only that Abby’s death is under internal investigation by PetSmart, Crawford collected his deceased dog’s body and took her to Animal Health Diagnostic Lab in Ewing, New Jersey for a necropsy. The results could take up to a month.

Abby had visited her veterinarian only a few weeks earlier where she was given a clean bill of health.

The sudden and unexplained death comes only 3 months after two different dogs were killed during grooming at another New Jersey PetSmart store.

PetSmart grooming salons around the country are no strangers to injury and death of dogs in their care. Just last month, a Bulldog suffered bilateral eye hemorrhages following a grooming appointment, in February, a PetSmart groomer was fired after being caught on camera mishandling a dog. In December, two dogs died and a third was injured following separate grooming appointments at the same New Jersey store. And, last year, a Chihuahua died following a simple nail trim procedure at a California store, a Dachshund was strangled to death only minutes after arriving to be groomed, and a Newfoundland died of heat stroke following a grooming at an Ohio store.

Following the injuries to his dog’s eyes during a PetSmart grooming in March, North Carolina dog owner Michael Batchelor created a petition and website campaign urging PetSmart to discontinue grooming until regulations and safety measures can be put into place to prevent additional injuries and deaths. Learn more (and sign the petition) at

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