PetSmart Sued After Dog Dies Under Mysterious Circumstances

A Pittsburgh woman filed a lawsuit this week against PetSmart and two of its employees after her toy poodle died during a PetSmart grooming appointment in East Liberty back in 2020.

AJ Ross had taken her 12-year-old poodle, Kobe, to the PetSmart on Centre Avenue in November 2020 for a nail trim.

Only 10 minutes into the appointment, Kobe was dead.

Surveillance footage from inside the grooming area shows two employees, Julie Miller and Elizabeth Doty, using tethers to keep Kobe in place. The lawsuit claims the PetSmart employees asphyxiated Kobe after they used tethers to “create an arrangement not unlike a hangman’s noose if Kobe were to lose his footing.”

According to the lawsuit, when the employees removed the tethers, Kobe collapsed.

“As I go in, I see him, lifeless on the grooming table, the groomers are standing there gawking. The managers are standing there, no one’s doing anything, and I’m just freaking out like what happened to my dog, and they said he fainted. He passed out,” Ross said.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions at that time, Ross had not been allowed to remain in the grooming area with Kobe.

The lawsuit alleges that PetSmart employees and managers claimed that Kobe had just gone limp and collapsed without cause. The lawsuit also states that there was negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress on the part of PetSmart, along with Doty and Miller.

The lawsuit further accuses the company of negligent hiring and supervision practices, violation of consumer protection laws, breach of warranty of good faith, and fraud.

PetSmart issued a statement concerning the incident:

“We are heartbroken by and truly sorry for the loss of Kobe. After this terrible accident, we launched an internal investigation and found an unintended failure to adhere to our pet safety processes. Additionally, we cooperated with an external investigation, terminated the responsible associates, and facilitated an autopsy to help provide answers.”

Ross said that PetSmart offered to help her adopt a new dog, which she declined.

Miller and Doty are also both awaiting trials for animal cruelty charges related to Kobe’s death.

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