When news broke last week of a popular Georgia dog groomer’s alleged abuse leading to the death of a dog, dozens of former clients stepped forward with additional complaints, prompting police to issue new warrants for her arrest.
Michelle Louise Root, 41, of Gainesville, Georgia, the owner and featured stylist of Paw’sh Paws pet grooming salon in Cumming was arrested last week, charged with felony animal abuse after allegedly kicking, dragging, and choking a client’s dog to death. Since her initial arrest, dozens more dog owners have stepped forward to file additional complaints against the groomer.
Now, police have issued arrest warrants and are actively searching for the dog groomer, now facing multiple felony abuse charges.
On October 7, when Eric Francis arrived at Paw’sh Paws to pick up his dog, Meko, he walked into the business and found Meko unresponsive. Groomer and owner, Michelle Root told him the dog had had a seizure. Francis rushed his dog to a veterinarian where he was pronounced dead.
Following Meko’s death, two employees from the Paw’sh Paws grooming salon contacted police, claiming that the dog did not have a seizure, but that the salon’s owner had, in fact, abused the animal, causing his death.
Employees reported that the dog “was kicked multiple times in the side of the head and the dog was drug across the pet salon and was hit up against the table and washtub and was hung by the leash very gruesomely,” said Deputy Chief Barrett.
Root was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty. But, after bonding out of jail, she returned to work, opening her salon for business the very next morning.
As soon as news of Meko’s death was announced, dozens of former clients of the dog groomer contacted Cumming Police to report additional incidents of abuse. One case in particular, police said, provided enough evidence to prompt police to conduct search warrants.
“We have received multiple phone calls from other potential victims that reach all the way back to the early 2000s,” Deputy Chief Aletha Barrett, spokeswoman for the Cumming Police Department said. “We are still waiting on veterinarian reports and a lot of different things in terms of the investigation, but the complaints [go back to] 2003 when she worked at PetSmart.
On Oct. 18, officers with the department, with assistance from Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputies, executed search warrants simultaneously on Root’s grooming salon and at her home, where they “were looking for documents and records to corroborate the stories” of other possible victims, according to Barrett.
Based on the findings of those searches, police issued a warrant for Root’s arrest for felony animal cruelty stemming from an incident several years ago, not related to Meko’s death. Additional charges against the dog groomer may be issued as the investigation continues and additional customer statements are recorded and verified.
Authorities are asking for Root to turn herself in. Anyone with information about her whereabouts is urged to contact Cumming Police immediately.