Puppy Taken to PetSmart Groomer, Ends Up Dead

Puppy Taken to PetSmart Groomer, Ends Up Dead

When the owners of Henry, a one-year-old Dachshund, dropped their puppy off at PetSmart in San Mateo, California, they expected nothing more than a routine grooming. But sadly, Henry would never make it home. He died in the care of dog groomer Juan Zarate, 38, who has now been arrested on felony charges. (Note: The image above is not Henry, but a different Dachshund)

According to San Francisco 7 News, Henry began having trouble breathing and started bleeding from the mouth. Then, the dog suddenly died. A PetSmart veterinarian tried to treat Henry, but there was nothing they could do.

X-rays showed that Henry had two broken ribs and a punctured lung.

“We know that the dog was brought there with no injuries or no known illnesses of any kind and we do believe that because of actions taken by the groomer, during the grooming session, is what caused the dog to die,” San Mateo Police Department Sgt. Rick Decker said.

As Zarate faces animal cruelty charges, PetSmart announced their own internal investigation into the matter, and stated, “The individual involved has been placed on suspension pending the outcome of this investigation. Any incident of animal cruelty goes against everything we believe as a company and as individual pet parents. No words can express our deep sorrow for the family, and we will continue to work with the pet parent during this difficult time.”

Whatever the outcome, one thing is clear: anyone we entrust animals with must be properly vetted and properly trained. No dog should die from a grooming session.

Note: Please keep comments peaceful and family friendly.

Join the Conversation


  1. chris

    has nothing to do with vetting or training, this was obviously an act of pure violence and abuse. Not something you have to teach an employee not to do. Never drop a pet off at such a place, stick around when strangers are taking care of your family member.

    Reply Report comment
  2. JoAnn Wade

    Lowlife piece of shit! Hope he suffers and rotts in prison!

    Reply Report comment
  3. love my animals

    While I am saddened for the loss of someone’s loved dog. To to honest I am not surprised. PetSmart is awful. I have gone to their store all over the us and have never had a good experience. I was sold a bird that was sick with Climidia . 3 days after.purchase i had this bird in with an avian vet. Sadly the illness was.to advanced and the vets best efforts failed. PetSmart told me the bird was healthy when it was sold to me (bull poop) even the vet said the bird was very sick and had been for quite a while and was doped up to appear healthy. But PetSmart did nothing to try to make this right. It was a $1500 bird. I felt they should have refunded my money and at least covered the vet bills. A few years later a d a different state. The.dog was running low on food and I was running short on time so I ran in and got a bag. Get it home and open it and it’s moldy!!!! I called the store they said just throw out the moldy pieces. It was the whole 50 lb bag. I finally got the issue corrected when I contacted the manufacturer. The manufacturer told me they are frequently getting reports of mold but only from purchases at PetSmart. A few years later and yet another state. My 3 year old daughter saved her money and wanted to buy fish from PetSmart. I reluctantly let her. With in 2 day every fish she had purchased and every fish in the tank was dead. They admitted they sold her fish with ick. Once again they did nothing to make it right. At least honor your own 14 day policy regarding fish, and replace them. I had a broken hearted and confused little girl with no fish. Never never buy from PetSmart, they dont care about animals, or the people who care for them.

    Reply Report comment
  4. Celeste Nieves

    What a tragedy for this family….and how very horrible for this puppy. Seems like he was beaten to death – Petsmart is just that – a place where they sell dog and cat food (and from the look of the other comments I don’t know if I’d go there) – not a professional dog groomer. That person needs to be prosecuted for murdering an animal – and Petsmart should be held accountable for hiring such a degenerate.

    Reply Report comment
  5. Sue

    I would never take a dog to PetSmart or PetCo for anything. Even when I would take one of my rescue dogs to a local groomer, I would insist on staying with the dog while he or she was being groomed, to make sure there was no abuse going on (it happens more often than most people are aware of). I finally found someone who I knew could be trusted implicitly.

    Reply Report comment
  6. Sue

    I would like to add that when I took one of my dogs to a local grooming shop, one of the groomers there told me, after I instructed her to be careful when nail cutting, that she used to work as a groomer at PetCo., and that her supervisor instructed her, when cutting a dog’s nails, to “make them bleed.”

    Reply Report comment

Get The Newsletter!

Fields marked with an * are required