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Four PetSmart employees in Pittsburgh were charged with animal cruelty when a miniature poodle named Kobe died during a grooming session, according to court records.
Staff at PetSmart’s East Liberty location were charged with the death of 12-year-old miniature poodle from AJ Ross, ar and Pittsburgh who was banned from staying with their beloved pooch while nailing in November due to COVID-19 restrictions reported the Pittsburgh Tribune Review Tuesday.
“I thought, ‘He’s not getting the full works,'” Ross told the newspaper. “Everything will be fine.”
But minutes later, as Ross was queuing at the pet store to buy a treat for Kobe after stopping at a pharmacy next door, he overheard a manager being called into the grooming area to buy hers, named after NBA legend Kobe Bryant lifeless dog found lifeless table.
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Ross said surveillance footage from the store showed associates Elizabeth Doty, 21, and Julie Miller, 32, placing straps around the dog’s neck, causing the animal to be beaten at one point and hung over the table.
A criminal complaint stated that the snow groomers hyperextended Kobe’s neck and ignored signs of distress when he shook his head, NJ.com reported.
“Doty looks briefly at Kobe and then listens again with the nail cut,” says the complaint.
Miller continued to hold Kobe over the table as he went limp, and Doty then removed the leash before shaking the dog’s snout and rubbing his body, according to the complaint.
Two managers in the store, Heather Rowe, 27, and Shaphan Stonge, 37, then walked into the grooming area and rubbed the dog table on the table, the complaint said.
A veterinarian told investigators that the two leashes caused Kobe’s neck to be pulled in opposite directions, resulting in overstretching and a lack of contact between his paws and the table, which resulted in the airway being blocked according to the complaint, the dog had been crushed.
Rowe and Stonge are charged with animal neglect and a number of crimes of aggravated animal cruelty. Doty and Miller have been charged with animal cruelty and neglect, as well as exacerbated animal cruelty, the Tribune review reported.
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All four have since been released, the newspaper reported.
“After this terrible accident, we opened an internal investigation and found that our pet safety procedures were inadvertently breached,” said a statement from PetSmart representatives. “In addition, we worked with an external investigation, dismissed the responsible employees and performed an autopsy to provide answers.”
Meanwhile, Ross said she was talking about Kobe’s death in the hopes that no one else would have to endure the same pain. She told The Post Wednesday that PetSmart offered to help her get a new dog, but declined.
“I didn’t take this offer if I’m at the point where I want to get a new dog,” Ross said during a brief interview. “He meant everything to me. I have no children, so he was like my child. He was literally like my shadow. Life without him was weird because he was always there.”
AJ Ross said her poodle Kobe was “literally like my shadow”.