The following story contains graphic photos and details.
JONESBORO, Ark. – Kaitlyn Weatherford of Newport experienced a nightmare Sunday when her puppy “Ziggy” had a huge portion of his hide ripped off of his back during a grooming incident at PetSmart in Jonesboro.
“It’s been horrible,” Weatherford told NEA Report.
At 1 PM on Sunday, July 22, 2018, she dropped off the 10-month-old long-haired dachshund named “Ziggy” at PetSmart, 3009 E Highlands Drive in Jonesboro. At around 3 PM, she said employees called her and said “Ziggy” was ready to be picked up. She even said they seemed “happy.”
But when she arrived to the store, seated under the PetSmart store sign was the groomer – in tears. She was crying on the phone and asked Weatherford if they were the owners of the dachshund. She told Weatherford there had been a terrible accident.
Weatherford and her boyfriend, Sean Estes, went into the store, where they spoke with a “leader.”
“He was trying to explain to us there was an incident: a Great Dane jumped up while Ziggy was being groomed and bit him,” Weatherford said. “[He was] just trying to smooth it over the best he could. But he was also referring to Ziggy as a she. So that just indicated he clearly had no idea was going on.”
Store personnel would not let Weatherford see Ziggy as he was already in a cage to be transported to a veterinary hospital. She also said the manager called it a “superficial wound” and seemed to dismiss the severity of the alleged-accident involving her 11 pound dog.
When Weatherford arrived at the veterinarian’s office, she felt like she had been misled.
“It didn’t look like a bite mark at all,” Weatherford said. “I can’t even describe it but it did not look like a bite mark.”
These photos depict the graphic wounds suffered by the poor dog.
The skin on Ziggy’s back appears to be sliced in an even cut across the complete upper half of the dog’s back.
“The skin was completely flapped back and it was a clean line,” Weatherford said. “That’s why I really don’t believe a dog bit him.”
The dog’s owner said there should have been bite marks, tears and much more damage if a large dog did this. She did not believe the manager, she told NEA Report. She has demanded to see any in-store security camera footage available during the incident.
PetSmart did say they were going to cover all costs incurred at the vets office, she said.
NEA Report reached out to PetSmart in Jonesboro and spoke with one of their managers, or “leaders.” He could not issue comment on the record and referred us to their corporate office. However, when pressed on why the dog bite appeared to look like a shear-mark, he only said they were investigating the incident.
Late Sunday, the corporate offices issued a statement to NEA Report.
“The safety of the pets in our care is always our top priority, and an internal investigation is underway to help us better understand what led to this unfortunate incident,” said PetSmart Senior Corporate Communications Manager Erin Gray. “We will continue to stay in close contact with the pet parent and wish Ziggy a speedy recovery.”
After several hours in surgery, Ziggy was confirmed to be in stable condition late Sunday. He will remain in doctor’s care for several more days until he can return home.
Until Weatherford sees the video of what happened, she is left to wonder. While she is suspicious of the version of the story she was told, she also did not want to cast blame on the groomer for what may have been a freak accident. She did, however, believe PetSmart management should have handled the entire incident better – especially with her not learning of anything wrong until she saw the groomer in tears as she arrived.
“I really don’t see how it could have happened like this because we had no idea that he could be in any type of trouble,” Weatherford said. “Being somewhere like that, where they’re supposed to be watching the dogs.”