Two separate women in Oahu have filed suit against Petco, claiming that the Kaneohe store of the chain is responsible for cutting off part of a dog's tail; over-clipping a dog's nails so as to cause bleeding; and snipping off the tip of an ear, then supergluing it back on to avoid detection.
Gladys Kapuwai took her dog, Dodo, to Petco last July; the suit alleges that the Pomeranian-Maltese mix was returned to Kapuwai with part of an ear cut off, then glued or sewn back on. Kapuwai assumed that the ear, whose cut portion fell off a couple of days later, was infected, but when she took her pooch to the vet (along with the ear), techs put the tissue under a microscope, and truth came out: the ear had been re-attached using "a SuperGlue-type glue." Vets told Kapuwai that the ear segment could have been saved, had proper action been taken in time. Says Kapuwai, "Even the doctor said they could have saved her ear if they told me right there, but they didn't."
Yahoo! Screen: Pony farm faces foreclosure
Green -- whose husband, Michael, is the attorney representing both cases -- picked up her dog Hope last year to find her in similarly shocking condition: she alleges that Hope's eye lashes and whiskers had been cut, that her nails had been over-cut and were bleeding, and that the tip of Hope's tail was cut off and bleeding. On top of that, Hope was "in filthy condition," Mr. Green noted, adding tartly that Petco did offer them some redress. "My dog, they offered another free grooming," Green said. "I guess they wanted to take off other body parts."
Green believes the cases involve the same worker, and the painful stories don't stop with his wife and Kapuwai, either. (If you're eating lunch while reading this, Alt-Tab to another window.) Green claims a third woman has contacted him after hearing about the case on the local news; the woman, Vanessa Knapp, who says she's "considering her legal options," claims that she told Petco groomers at the same store to avoid her dog's testicular area because of a rash. Petco didn't listen, she says, and when she returned, "[T]he staff had shaved the heck out of the testicles, and they were bleeding."
Petco made a statement to AP that they are looking into the claims. "We can't comment on the specifics at this time, but we can tell you that we have very strong standards and policies in place for the care and treatment of animals in our grooming salon and we provide training on those standards and policies for our grooming associates," the statement said.
What's next? Kapuwai and Green seek punitive damages for negligence, breach of duty and unfair and deceptive practices, and Kapuwai hopes the suit will mean better training for Petco groomers, and more ethical practices in case of injury.
Presumably, the case will also raise awareness: that accidents can happen, and that inexperienced pet-care personnel -- whether it's groomers or other caregivers like pet-sitters -- could spell disaster. How do you prevent a shorter tail (or inflamed privates) from happening to your pets? Before trying a new groomer or doggie daycare, get references from the business owner -- and call all of them. Make sure your pet primper has experience with your kind of dog (big dogs, long-haired breeds, nervous with strangers), and if your local groomer can't back up his sales pitch with recommendations, look elsewhere, even if "elsewhere" is pricier. Your peace of mind (and your pet's intact paws) are worth it.
“We can't comment on the specifics at this time, but we can tell you that we have very strong standards and policies in place for the care and treatment of animals in our grooming salon and we provide training on those standards and policies for our grooming associates," the statement said.This story was updated February 16 at 9 AM ET to include Knapp's name.