A Facebook post by a relative of the pet's owner said the office cat, named Cloudy, suffered from potential hypothermia (or hyperthermia aka heat exhaustion) and died hours later after going into cardiac arrest at a local veterinary hospital.
Petco, University Heights
"I was horrified," said Maureen Sullivan, who saw the Facebook post and was one of dozens who shared it. "Not only was it horrific for you to take your beloved animal in for grooming and have that happen, I just can't even comprehend how that could happen and how a cat could almost freeze to death during a grooming."
In a statement to Eyewitness News last week, a Petco representative said, "All of us at Petco are deeply saddened by Cloudy's passing."
"The health and safety of pets is always our top priority and we take this situation very seriously," Petco's statement continued. "We take full responsibility for all animals in our care, and we're conducting a thorough investigation to understand everything we can about Cloudy's time with us. Our thoughts are with Cloudy's family during this very difficult time."
Rhode Island State Veterinarian Scott Marshall said he's skeptical the cat could have died from hypothermia, or low body temperature, in a facility where the temperature is comfortable for customers and workers. Although he said he does not know the specifics of the incident, he believes it's more likely the cat overheated while being dried.
"If the condition was hyperthermia, that could be more easily explained," Marshall said in an email. "Overheating in a grooming facility has been reported as a cause of death for animals. Typically, this happens when a dryer is attached to the cage the animal is kept in."
Marshall said cats and dogs don't sweat the way humans do, and can succumb in a matter of minutes if the temperature is hot enough.
"Normally cats have a temperature around 101 (100-102), anything above 103 is high and anything over 105 can be life threatening," he said. "This can happen from application of a hair dryer."
Eyewitness News reached out to Petco on Friday for an update on the investigation into the animal's death, but did not immediately hear back.
Officials at the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) said they were alerted of Cloudy's death and conducted their own investigation, but found no criminal wrongdoing. RISPCA said the cat's owners did not want to have a necropsy performed.
Cloudy is the third Rhode Island animal to die while being groomed in the past year, according to RISPCA. Last March, a 5-year-old Pug named Ollie died while being groomed at the Petco in Middletown. Another dog died last year at a groomer in Warren after it hanged itself while tethered to a grooming table, according to RISPCA.
Currently, local grooming facilities do not need to be licensed by the state, but a bill introduced by House Majority Leader Joe Shekarchi seeks to change that.
The proposal would require groomers and grooming facilities to pay an annual fee of $25 to register with the state. The bill would also require them to obtain certification based on standards approved by the Rhode Island Professional Pet Groomers' Association. Shekarchi, a Warwick Democrat, introduced a similar bill in 2013 and 2017, but it was held for further study.
"There were a lot of people who thought I was trying to add a new licensing requirement or regulation on small businesses and that was not the intent," said Shekarchi, who told Eyewitness News the bill has been completely re-written this session. He said the goal is to have groomers go through some sort of training, whether it be online, an apprenticeship or a formal course. He said he knows the vast majority of groomers are competent and caring people, but he feels there needs to be a formal standard.
"Anybody can hold themselves out there as a groomer," said Joe Warzycha, director of operations at the RISPCA. "I can say tomorrow I'm a groomer and operate out of my basement."
Warzycha, a former animal cruelty officer, is in favor of training and licensing for individual groomers.
"The issues we're having are not necessary about the facility," he said. "It's more about the level of care that is or is not being provided to the animals while they're there."
Petco said its workers "follow very clear policies and procedures in our grooming salons to ensure accountability, safety and satisfaction for our grooming partners, pet parents and the pets in our care, and we take pride in having the highest standards of animal care and safety in the industry."
Petco said it grooms millions of pets each year, and "the total number of these incidents make up less than a fraction of a fraction of a percent - but even that is unacceptable to us." The company said it works with outside experts to implement best practices.
"Accidents happen," Warzycha said. "And as unfortunate as they are - and I certainly don't mean to downplay the significance of any of these issues - there are a lot of reputable groomers out there. Like anything else, do your research. And I think that part is where licensing could possibly be a benefit."
PETSMART horror stories:
- Ohio: Painesville family devastated after dog dies following routine grooming appointment at PetSmart
- Indiana: Dog strangled to death while getting nails trimmed at Mishawaka PetSmart
- California: PetSmart Groomer, Juan Zarate, Arrested on Suspicion of Animal Cruelty After Dog Dies
- Illinois: PetSmart sued after woman says she was attacked by a dog inside store
- New York: Woman's Great Pyrenees attacked by a pit bull while leaving Petsmart
- Georgia: Man stabs pit bull inside PetSmart to save his Westie
- Georgia: PetSmart stabbing shows that the humane society repeatedly dragged this pit bull into public settings despite knowing it had issues with other animals
- Georgia: Boy recovering from bite to face by Pit Bull at PetSmart
- Massachusetts: Cliff Gardner tells PetSmart groomer his Pit Bull mix is "sweet as can be" so she removed its muzzle. Then it attacked her.
- Pennsylvania: Bichon named Brewster is mauled to death by a pit bull at PetSmart after being dropped off for grooming
- Massachusetts: Pit Bull mix that attacked PetSmart groomer had previously attacked an elderly woman, BREAKING HER ARM - yet Police Chief Peter Wack refused to order the dog euthanized. I smell a lawsuit coming!
- Arkansas: Little Bichon named Brewster mauled to death by a Pit Bull while at PetSmart. Anna complains that we were told it was a Pit Bull, calling it "breed shaming". Seriously.
- Washington DC: "My little poodle Lucky was attacked by a Pit Bull" at PetSmart
- New Jersey: PetSmart employees accused of dumping dead English Bulldog at the vet ‘like garbage’
- Texas: No criminal investigation being done on PetSmart groomer who abused Shih Tzu
- California: 'Perfectly healthy' cat dies suddenly at pet grooming center - and staff cremates it BEFORE owner can find out why it died
- Canada: No charges out of dog death at groomer's
- New Jersey: Bordentown pet groomer charged with animal cruelty in dog death
- Canada: Dog groomer accused of abusing animals
- Rhode Island: Cranston pet owner claims groomer hurt her dog
- Louisiana: Owner of Slidell pet salon charged with animal cruelty
- Pennsylvania: Chalfont dog groomer waives hearing on animal cruelty
- Canada: Calgary dog groomer charged with animal cruelty
- Louisiana: Animal Cruelty trial postponed for pet groomers Michelle Jeanmard and her daughter Sheri Dugas
- Ohio: Family Devastated After Dog Dies at Groomer’s
- Florida: "I hope they can forgive me one day for not saving them" Owner blames herself after groomer allegedly leaves her dogs to die in hot car
- Hawaii: Petco employee allegedly cuts off dogs ear, glues it back on
- Missouri: 8-lb Maltese killed by groomer last month; no one doing anything about it
- Georgia: Alleged Animal Abuse at Dog Grooming Businesses
- Georgia: Petco employee fired after rough grooming video goes viral
- Iowa: Police say vet employee Lucas Van Orden viciously beat and kicked Corgi
- New York: Facebook pet owner warns against taking your pets to be groomed at PetSmart
- Georgia: Pit bull attacks dog and its owner at Georgia PetSmart
- Arizona: Scott Beadles suspected of stomping small dog to death at PetSmart
- Texas: Owner claims dog gets staples after attack at PetSmart
- Ohio: Painesville family devastated after Newfoundland dies following routine grooming appointment at PetSmart
- Virginia: Family dog died 'after Petco groomer left him in 105 degrees heated drying cage while she went to her graduation'
- Michigan: Rottweiler that bit 7-year-old at Petco adoption event will be put down
- Rhode Island: Pug named Ollie dies during grooming appointment at Petco, investigation underway
- Illinois: Woman's beloved Maltipoo is 'attacked and killed' by an unleashed dog while they were visiting Santa at Petco
- Texas: Police officer shoots pit bull to save small dog being attacked inside pet store
- Arizona: Family finds dog dead, hanging in mobile pet grooming van. Groomer was high on drugs, they say
|In the video, it appears that she punches |
the dog several times when it
innocently it pulls its paw away from her.