(NaturalNews) Petco is being sued by two former customers who claim that groomers at a store in Hawaii mutilated their dogs. In one case, groomers cut off a dog's ear and attempted to cover it up by gluing the ear back on.
When Gladys Kapuwai brought her dog Dodo home from Petco groomers in Kaneohe (wearing a bow), the dog began acting aggressive for no apparent reason. Kapuwai's husband investigated and found dried blood all over one of Dodo's ears. Closer inspection showed that the ear had been cut off and then clumsily reattached.
"I mean, they just covered it up," said Kapuwai's attorney, Michael Green. "The bow was to cover the fact that they had severed the ear, cut through the cartilage. The ear was ... almost cut off."
When Kapuwai took her dog to the vet, she only became more upset.
"I was kind of upset because the doctor was saying that it looked like they glued it back together you know?" she said. "And I said, 'How can they do that?' We were crying and ... we had the kids crying, too."
The doctor told her that if Petco staff had admitted their error up front, Dodo's injury might have been reparable.
"Even the doctor said they could have saved her ear if they told me right there, but they didn't," Kapuwai said.
When police said they could not help her, Kapuwai returned to the offending store, but the employee she spoke with merely brushed aside her complaint.
"He didn't seem concerned, nothing," she said. "He just gave me a number to call the mainland. I called the mainland, nobody answered, nobody returned my call, nothing."
At that point Kapuwai sought out a lawyer, and found Green -- whose own dog had also been mutilated by staff at the same store.
"The nails [were] bleeding because they were cut too short, the dog was filthy and the tip of the dog's tail was cut off," Green said. "The people at Petco didn't seem overly concerned. ... They offered another free grooming. I guess they wanted to take off other body parts."
A Wider Problem?
Petco has declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying only, "we have very strong standards and policies in place for the care and treatment of animals in our grooming salon and we provide training on those standards and policies for our grooming associates."
Blogging at cafemom.com, Jeanne Sager noted that she is willing to give Petco groomers the benefit of the doubt -- to a point.
"Accidents happen," Sager wrote, "especially with a wriggling puppy. I have seen professional groomers who post disclaimers that explain dogs may come out with small nicks or cuts from the shaving process."
"What makes this so unspeakably disturbing are the grandma's allegations that groomers decided that it would be better to cover their tracks with some glue rather than tell the owners the truth. ... It's as if these people who are supposed to care about animals figured that a dog could never tell on them, so hey, what the heck!"
Green is seeking unspecified damages for the injuries to the dogs, and is also asking for national records to see how many animals at other Petco stores have been injured by groomers.
"I don't believe for a second I just happened to fall on the only two cases they've had since they've opened," Green said. "Whether these guys should be in business or not remains to be seen."
For her part, Kapuwai said she hopes the lawsuit causes the company to improve training for its grooming staff.