A PetSmart groomer is facing allegations of animal cruelty after a dog died in his care.
Juan Zarate of the San Mateo PetSmart was arrested after a dachshund died, having suffered from a punctuated lung and two broken ribs.
The dog, named Henry, was brought in on May 15 at around 5:15 pm for a grooming appointment.
Three minutes later, Zarate, holding the dog, walked out of the grooming office saying the animal was suffering from a medical emergency.
“The dog was visibly bleeding from the mouth and having trouble breathing,” San Mateo police said in a statement.
An on-staff veterinarian realized the dog was having difficulty breathing and tried to help the dog. Despite best efforts, the dog died.
A post-mortem X-ray showed the two broken ribs and a punctured lung, the police stated.
Further investigation conducted by the police determined Zarate’s deliberate actions likely contributed to the death of the dachshund. He was arrested for Felony Animal Cruelty.
“This is a tragic case of animal cruelty and thus, led to decisive action in the arrest of the alleged offender,” the police stated. “As you know the pets in our community can’t speak for themselves, so its inherent on all of us to be alert to the signs and symptoms of animal cruelty and neglect. ”
The Peninsula Humane Society will perform a necropsy on the dachshund to determine the cause of death.
Zarate was suspended from his PetSmart position, while the company investigates the matter.
“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,” Michelle Friedman, vice president of PetSmart’s corporate communications, told This Dog’s Life.
“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.”
Image provided by San Mateo Police Department