Toy poodle dies at PetSmart during grooming appointment, 4 employees face charges

PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh woman took her beloved toy poodle to PetSmart for grooming in the East Liberty section of the city. But when she went to pick Kobie up, the dog was not moving.

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“I felt helpless. I felt angry. I wanted to know what did they do to my dog because he was fine moments ago, and then I come in, and he’s, he’s just laying there motionless,” AJ Ross told WPXI.

Ross took Kobie to an animal hospital and after 15 minutes of CPR, the dog was pronounced dead. She asked for a necropsy.

Ross returned to the store and asked to see the surveillance video.

”So there’s one leash that was tethered straight above vertical and another leash that was attached towards the front of the table so they’re contrasting tensions, pulling his neck, hyperextending his neck,” Ross told WPIX.

The Humane Animal Rescue investigation alleged Kobie’s neck was hyperextended and his paws were not touching the grooming table. His airway was crushed and that caused his death, the investigation determined.

Heather Rowe and Shaphan Stonge have been charged with two counts of neglect of animals and a felony count of aggravated cruelty to animals.

Julie Miller and Elizabeth Doty have been charged with two counts of cruelty to animals and neglect of animals and two felony charges of aggravated cruelty to animals.

PetSmart released a statement to WPXI about the dog’s death:

“We are heartbroken by and truly sorry for the loss of Kobe. After this terrible accident, we launched an internal investigation and found 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.”

The company said it would help Ross get new dog, but she has declined their offer, WPXI reported.