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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.