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PetsMart Sued Over Alleged Grooming Death Of Puppy At Downey Store

CBS Los Angeles

NORWALK (CBS) — A couple has filed a lawsuit against a Downey PetSmart, claiming that a groomer injured their puppy so severely that it died.

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The civil suit, filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims that the 4-month-old English Bulldog named Rita, suffered injuries while in the pet store's care that led to her death.

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According to the complaint, the unnamed plaintiffs brought their "healthy and happy puppy to PetsMart for a grooming" on May 12, 2011.

"Shortly after dropping her off, they received a call that she was vomiting blood and that they should pick her up and take her to a veterinarian," said Jill Ryther, attorney for the plaintiffs who specializes in animal law.

The couple brought the puppy to a veterinarian where she died 45 minutes later.

A necropsy was performed on the dog and it was determined the cause of death was likely strangulation that occurred while she was being groomed at the Downey PetsMart,12126 Lakewood Boulevard, the lawsuit claims.

The plaintiffs also allege PetsMart ordered the puppy be cremated before the owners could retrieve her body.

The "plaintiffs were horrified, as this was done against their wishes, beliefs and without their consent," Ryther said.

The couple is seeking damages upwards of $25,000 from PetsMart, said Ryther.

The lawsuit also claims "PetsMart has been under fire as well as sued in the past for similar incidents."

Calls made to the company for comment were not answered.

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