Dog owners sue PetSmart after dachshund dies

Months after their dog died in the care of a groomer at a PetSmart, in San Mateo, California, pet owners are suing the retailer.

KTVU reported in May said Juan Zarate was arrested and charged with animal cruelty after the death of 1-year-old dachshund Henry.

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"About three minutes after the groomer took the dog into the back to be groomed, the groomer came out and was saying the dog was having a medical emergency," police spokesman Sgt. Rick Decker said at the time of the incident. "The owner said that he could see the dog was foaming at the mouth and had some blood in his mouth. We're certain it was not an accident."

Report: PetSmart groomer arrested after dog dies

KGO reported that a necropsy found that Henry died of strangulation and had a punctured lung and two broken ribs.

"The last image I have of him was him in the groomer's arm and, unfortunately, bleeding profusely from his mouth," Stefan Zire, one of Henry's owners, told KGO.

"But who would anticipate that you go in for a pedicure and you die?" Terrie Peacock, Henry's other owner, told KGO.

KGO reported that Zire and Peacock are suing PetSmart for negligence.

KTVU reported that the owners' lawyer, Alison Cordova, cites 40 incidents at the retailer that involve serious injuries or deaths during pet grooming.

"The volume of reports of dogs and cats sustaining serious and sometimes lethal injuries while being groomed at PetSmart undermines the claim that PetSmart is 'where pets are family,'" Cordova said in a statement. "PetSmart claims that it trains its groomers and annually certifies its groomers in safety. If that is the case, then it seems the system is broken."

Henry's owners are seeking unspecified damages, but Cordova said they also want to set a precedent for other pets in the future.

"The goal is to change the systems, either internally or to have some sort of larger oversight and regulation of the industry. It really isn't about the money," Cordova said.

PetSmart declined to comment because of the pending lawsuit.

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