A San Mateo, California PetSmart dog groomer has been arrested and charged with animal cruelty after a dog suffered fatal injuries just minutes after being dropped of for grooming.
Juan Zarate, 38, of San Francisco, was arrested at the San Mateo PetSmart store on Sunday after Henry, a 1-year old Dachshund died after only 3 minutes in his care. Henry’s owner brought him to the store for grooming. Three minutes after dropping Henry off, Zarate came out of the grooming office holding the dog, saying he was having a medical emergency. Henry was bleeding from the mouth and having trouble breathing.
An on-site veterinarian was unable to save the dog. X-rays established that he’d suffered two broken ribs and a punctured lung.
In an email to ABC7 News, PetSmart wrote: “We are heartbroken by the loss of Henry. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of pets, and we take full responsibility for the pets in our care. We are conducting an internal investigation and will take immediate action based on our findings. Additionally, we are working with the local authorities. The individual involved has been placed on suspension pending the outcome of this investigation. Any incident of animal cruelty goes against everything we believe as a company and as individual pet parents. No words can express our deep sorrow for the family, and we will continue to work with the pet parent during this difficult time.”
Police investigating the incident confirmed that Henry arrived in perfect health with no injuries. It is unclear what happened in that 3-minutes that he was alone with Zarate.
A full necropsy to determine the cause of his injuries is being performed and the police investigation is ongoing.