Woman Shares Awful Video Of Dog’s Death During Grooming Ahead Of Lawsuit Against PetSmart

The employees are awaiting charges.

PetSmart lawsuit Courtesy of AJ Ross

A woman from Pittsburgh filed a lawsuit this week against PetSmart and two employees in connection to a November 2020 incident that resulted in her Toy Poodle’s death.

The Pittsburgh native, AJ Ross, took her 12-year-old poodle, Kobe, to the PetSmart on Centre Avenue in East Liberty to get his nails trimmed.

When she returned to PetSmart to pick up her dog, he was already dead.

Due to PetSmart’s COVID-19 restrictions, Ross couldn’t remain in the grooming area with her dog while his nails were being clipped, so she left the store and decided she would return later.


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The lawsuit alleges that when she came back 10 minutes later, the dog had already been dead.

Surveillance cameras would later show footage of the two employees involved, identified as Julie Miller and Elizabeth Doty, as they used tethers “to create an arrangement not unlike a hangman’s noose if Kobe were to lose his footing.”

The tethers on the grooming table were meant to hold Kobe in place during the nail trimming, but as he struggled with the rope around his neck while the groomer clipped away, the groomers turned the dog so he lay suspended in the air, “in effect hanging Kobe by the neck while they trimmed his nails,” the lawsuit said.


Ross said the dog was “in obvious distress and panic,” but claims neither of the groomers did anything to help him, and when they removed the tethers, Kobe had collapsed.

Ross has previously said, before reiterating in the lawsuit, that the PetSmart employees and managers had informed her that Kobe collapsed for no reason, failing to mention the use of the tethers.

She said that she had also been told she couldn’t see the surveillance footage for two weeks.

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Miller and Doty are currently awaiting trial on the animal cruelty charges related to Kobe’s death, but Ross’s lawsuit claims that there is a pattern of abuse coming from PetSmart.


The lawsuit cites 47 incidents that were reported to Consumer Affairs regarding alleged injuries and deaths of pets at the hands of PetSmart groomers.

Ross said it is “a pervasive pattern that needs to be rectified.”

“The purpose, really, is to shine a light and force transparency in the hiring practices and training of PetSmart employees,” Ross told the Tribune-Review. “I think the lawsuit vividly lays out how many dozens of cases have come to pass.”

After the incident occurred, PetSmart released a statement in which they claimed to be “heartbroken by and truly sorry for the loss of Kobe.”

“Following this terrible accident in 2020, we immediately launched an internal investigation and cooperated with the authorities involved,” the statement added. “In response, we terminated the associates who violated our pet safety policies and did not meet our high standards of care.”


They elaborated on what their standard of care looks like, giving a contrast to the number of incidents that have been reported in the past.

“We proudly perform more than 13 million grooming services per year and the actions of these two associates do not represent the standard of care provided by our more than 10,000 salon associates,” they said.

Despite these statements, Ross continues to grieve for the loss of her pup.


“I don’t think when you lose a loved one you ever really get past it,” she said. “There’s still this void.”

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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Keep up with his rants about current events on his Twitter.