A Los Angeles couple says a PetSmart (NASDAQ:PETM) groomer is responsible for the death of their beloved English bulldog puppy, Rita. The couple, who have remained anonymous, filed a civil lawsuit against the pet store chain on April 9.
According to CBS Los Angeles, the complaint states that the plantiffs brought their “healthy and happy” 4-month-old puppy to PetSmart for a routine grooming in May and received a call shortly afterward to pick her up and take her to a veterinarian. The puppy died in the vet’s office 45 minutes after she arrived.
The lawsuit claims that results of necropsy performed on Rita indicate that the pup was likely strangled during her grooming at a Downey, Calif., PetSmart store. The plantiffs, who are seeking more than $25,000 from PetSmart, also allege that the store tried to cover up the incident by ordering that the puppy be cremated before the owners could pick up her body.
“The facts as represented in the recently distributed press release by an attorney are not what we believe to be true relative to this unfortunate situation,” Michelle Friedman, spokesperson for PetSmart, told CBS Los Angeles. “As a practice, however, PetSmart does not comment on pending litigation,” Friedman continued.
The suit isn’t the only backlash to recently hit PetSmart. In February, a German shepherd mix apparently escaped from a PetSmart grooming shop in Wheaton, Ill.