NewsLocal News


Woman claims her dog died from groomer's abuse

Posted at 10:42 PM, Jun 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-11 22:42:08-04

VENICE, Fla., -- One woman says when she took her dog to get a haircut, he came back with a broken jaw. Now, she says her dog died from the injuries and she's fighting for new legislation that would require stricter laws for pet groomers. 

"I come out here to make sure he didn’t wash away in the rain," said Cynthia Crowe, pointing to the grave in her backyard of her dog Pumpkin. 

4 in your corner broke the story in November, when Phyllis Lucca, owner of Happy Puppy Pet Spa in Venice was caught on video choking a dog. She explained her actions were due to health concerns with the dog. 

"What the dog did was pass out and she faints," said Lucca, in the November interview. "What I did was hold her head and shake her." 

Crowe claims Pumpkin left the spa with bruises on his stomach and a broken jaw. She says Pumpkin died two weeks ago from congestive heart failure, which she says was due to the stress of having to wear a muzzle and be fed by a tube to cope with his injuries. 

Now, she's working with other grooming experts to help create legislation that would require a dog groomer to have a license or certification. It is not required in the state of Florida to have a license or certification in order to be a groomer. 

“We need laws to train these people," said Bobie Gabel, owner of the Mutt Hutt Grooming Salon. "Just like you drop your kids off at daycare, you don’t expect your kid to come back hurt." 

Gabel is working with Crowe to bring attention to the cause. Gabel says she's been a groomer for over 20 years and in general more groomers need more training. 

"[Dogs] don't have a voice, so we're their voice... [Lucca] took their voice away," said Gabel.  

Gabel says her groomers spend at least two years training under her before doing anything on their own. Crowe says she won't stop fighting for animal rights. 

“For him to die this way, it’s not fair. That’s why we have to do something to get certification or licenses for groomers.”

4 in your corner reached out to Lucca by phone and took a visit to the store, but was unable to get ahold of her. The State Attorney’s office is currently in a lawsuit against her for animal abuse. The office tells Fox 4 they could not comment because the case is ongoing.