Beloved Puppy Dies After Going to Lower Hudson Valley PetSmart
A beloved pet died an hour after the puppy was dropped off at a Hudson Valley Petsmart. His owner is telling his story to warn others.
On Valentines Day, Darren Harris dropped off his 10-month-old English Bulldog to be groomed at the PetSmart in Pelham. About 30 minutes later he was told to rush back to the store for an emergency involving his puppy, Enzo.
By the time Darren and his mother, Tabitha Harris, returned, the dog was moved to the hospital inside the store.
“He had lost so much oxygen he didn’t recognize me," Tabitha Harris told Pix 11. "He was slowly dying.”
Because of their short snouts, English Bulldogs can have trouble breathing in stressful situations, like grooming salons. PetSmart is trained to handle dogs with short snouts, Pix 11 reports.
Enzo died shortly after. An animal autopsy wasn't performed so the official cause of death isn't known.
PetSmart says its groomer “acted appropriately and, with Enzo’s care in mind, recognized signs of stress, stopped all services and immediately took Enzo to the veterinarian.”
"We immediately conducted a thorough internal investigation around Enzo’s unfortunate passing, which included interviewing all associates, viewing camera footage and reviewing Enzo’s veterinary records. Our findings showed that the associate involved acted appropriately and, with Enzo’s care in mind, recognized signs of stress, stopped all services and immediately took Enzo to the veterinarian. Enzo was in our care for just over 30 minutes; his pet parents were still shopping in the store when we brought him to the veterinarian. While at the veterinarian, the pet parent informed the staff that Enzo suffered from pre-existing kidney disease. Enzo was a regular customer in our salon, having visited three times in the six weeks leading up to this event without incident. At no point was Enzo’s pre-existing kidney condition disclosed," PetSmart Senior Corporate Communications Manager Erin Gray said to Hudson Valley Post in an email.
According to PetSmart, after looking over Enzo's medical records the store determined the 10-month-old English Bulldog died from a pre-existing kidney disease.
"As a part of our investigation, our internal veterinarian reviewed Enzo’s veterinary records from a Jan. 14, 2019 visit, and can confirm Enzo’s treating veterinarian gave Enzo a poor prognosis related to his kidney disease. The pet parent chose not to have a necropsy completed, and without one, there is no way of knowing the definitive cause of death. Enzo’s documented medical history and pre-existing kidney disease, however, confirm Enzo was in failing health prior to the groom. We know the death of a pet is heartbreaking, and as a gesture of goodwill, we paid for the cost of Enzo’s cremation," Gray said.
Veterinarian Dr. Richard Jakimer disagrees.
“Kidney failure usually takes a long time," Dr. Jakimer told Pix 11. "There are signs of illness. The dogs won’t walk, doesn’t want to eat, will vomit. Enzo was not exhibiting any of those signs. Kidney disease, especially in the state Enzo was in, would not lead to an acute death. It was pretty much incidental at the time.”
Hudson Valley Post called the PetSmart in Pelham for additional comment, a spokesperson had to no comment but transferred us to corporate. A message left for corporate hasn't been returned as of this writing.
Harris has filed a lawsuit against PetSmart.
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