Dog Abuse

UPDATE: PetSmart Not Responsible in Death of Florida Family Dog

CORRECTION: This article has been updated to correct the original version of the story which falsely implied that PetSmart is responsible for Fabio’s death. An independent necropsy conducted by the University of Florida has confirmed that PetSmart did not act improperly, and that Fabio’s death was caused by an infestation of heartworms and a pre-existing respiratory condition.

Original article published April 17, 2018, updated April 25, 2018.

A Florida family claimed they dropped their “healthy, happy dog” off for grooming at a Tampa PetSmart. An hour later, their dog was dead. New details, including necropsy results, reveal that pre-existing conditions led to the Yorkie’s death.

In an interview with Tampa news station, Fox13, dog owner Marcos Soto said his Yorkshire Terrier, Fabio, was “happy, up-to-date on shots, and showed no sign of illness” when he was brought to a Tampa, Florida PetSmart store for a grooming appointment on April 16, 2018.

PetSmart asserts that during check-in, a customer service representative noticed (and documented) that Fabio’s hair was matted and knotted, indicating that he was long-overdue for grooming and suggesting deficient care. As a result, PetSmart required Soto to provide additional written authorization prior to accepting Fabio for grooming.

Soto confirmed in writing that Fabio was not suffering from any “heart disease” or “any health or behavioral conditions.” Specifically, he certified that Fabio was not suffering from “respiratory disease, seizures, arthritis, allergies, injuries, open wounds” or “other illnesses.”

Approximately one hour after leaving Fabio at the store, the Soto’s were contacted and asked to return, as Fabio had suddenly and unexpectedly shown signs of illness and, despite efforts by a veterinarian, had passed away.

Following Fabio’s death, PetSmart issued a statement that read:

“We immediately rushed Fabio to the vet when he exhibited signs of illness, and we are very saddened that he passed away. The loss of a pet is extremely difficult, and we have shared our deep sympathy with the pet parents. We are conducting an internal investigation and hope to receive the results of the necropsy report, which should help us understand the overall circumstances leading to Fabio’s unfortunate passing”

Fabio’s remains were sent to the University of Miami for a necropsy to determine the cause of death, to investigate whether he had a pre-existing condition or if wrongdoing on the part of the PetSmart groomer somehow caused his passing.

According to PetSmart, an independent necropsy conducted by the Anatomic Pathology Department at the University of Florida’s Veterinary Clinics conclusively determined that the dog’s death was caused by a “chronic” and “locally-extensive” infestation of heartworms and a pre-existing respiratory condition.

Fabio’s pre-existing conditions had not been disclosed by the Soto family prior to his grooming appointment. Under PetSmart’s grooming policies, all pets must be in good health prior to receiving any grooming services. Had Soto disclosed Fabio’s pre-existing conditions, he would not have been accepted into the grooming salon.

Therefor, the cause of death – as determined by the independent necropsy – was unrelated and not caused by PetSmart, its employees, or the grooming appointment.

Original article published April 17, 2018, corrected April 25, 2018.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Cc

    Apr 30, 2018 at 3:28 am

    The thing is, the dog WAS on heartworm preventative. From what I understand, Petsmart would not allow the necropsy report to be released to the owners. That sounds shady to me.

  2. JP

    Apr 29, 2018 at 8:24 am

    The owners were such poor owners their dog was *infested with heartworms*. They live in Florida and obviously didn’t bother to have it on preventative. So, now a whole store has been blamed for the death of a person’s dog that they couldn’t even bother to take minimal care of. But, it has to be someone else’s fault. Can’t be theirs….

  3. Jenn

    Apr 28, 2018 at 1:36 am

    Thank you for posting the update! Now if only other owners would release the results of their pets necropsies–particularly the owners of the grossly obese Corgi and the obese elderly Bulldog who insist it’s PetSmart’s fault their pets died but won’t release necropsy results to prove it.

  4. TzDogs

    Apr 27, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Thanks for the article, just wanted to let you know that there is a typo in the last paragraph. Therefor should be spelled Therefore. Therefor does exist as a word, albeit an uncommonly used word, just not in the way it has been used here.

    Here’s an explanation if you’re curious:
    https://www.grammarly.com/blog/therefore-vs-therefor/

  5. Joyce

    Apr 18, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    There have been to many abuse and deaths from petsmart I suggest you find a reputable groomer ask for recomendations from other pet owners I’m sure there are some good groomers that work for petsmart but never know who you can trust or stay while your furbaby is being groomed

    • Richard

      Apr 27, 2018 at 10:26 am

      So the fact that this poor dog was very ill is still petsmart’s fault? Or the morbidly obese dog? Or the one with an undisclosed heart-condition? I don’t feel for the owners, I feel bad for the groomers who are being slandered despite being great people and by people like you who tell others to find “reputable” groomers without considering full stories or information.

    • Kim

      Apr 27, 2018 at 12:03 pm

      Did you even read the story? Petsmart had nothing to do with the death of the dog. It was all owner negligence

    • Nicolette T

      Apr 27, 2018 at 2:08 pm

      I hate to break it to you sweetheart, but a lot of the “reputable groomers” that you’re talking about that work in private shops started out at Petsmart. Keep in mind that all groomers learn from somewhere and that anyone can print out a certificate on google but not everyone carries strict safety policies as they do. In regards to professionalism, I ask that you consider other professions as well. You could see a doctor with 30 or 40 years of experience and it doesn’t mean that there any less likely to commit malpractice. Don’t base your opinion off of others experiences. If you’ve never had your own experiences with them then it’s not your opinion to have.

    • Sherry

      Apr 27, 2018 at 2:21 pm

      Maybe you should read the updated story.

    • Carlie

      Apr 27, 2018 at 2:32 pm

      The results came back and the dogs heart was infested with heart worms. A preventable disease with monthly medication however if left neglected it is a painful slow death where the parasitic worms literally eat the heart from the inside out making the muscle very weak. at any point a dog can jump move wag its tail just breathe a certain way and the worms can get lodged into the blood stream or rip the heart muscle open… there are bad groomers 100% but there are also bad owners that slowly and painful kill their pets from neglect.

    • J t

      Apr 27, 2018 at 4:53 pm

      It was not PetSmart fault the dog died from heartworm disease and a pre existing resperitory condition. Read before you start bashing

    • Jo

      Apr 27, 2018 at 5:59 pm

      Joyce, Read the update on this article, seems the poor dog had heartworm as well as a respiratory issue, that the owners did not disclose to the PetSmart employee.

    • Sherlyn

      Apr 27, 2018 at 10:18 pm

      I’ve been dropping off my dog at petsmart for its groom…. and i never had a problem with them, my dog even started to have a bond with his groomer Catherine. He wags his tail everytime he sees her, pee out of excitement which only happens when he sees me after work. Read the article first before bashing

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