A New Jersey woman who claimed that her English bulldog was killed when she took him to a PetSmart grooming appointment in 2017 has been forced to publicly apologize to the company.
Danielle DiNapoli took to Facebook group ‘Justice for Scruffles’ – which she created as a means to collect testimonials from other pet lovers.
‘I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to PetSmart,’ she said in the January 20 post for the page that has since been taken down. ‘I never should have said-on television or here on social media- that PetSmart killed Scruffles and for that I am sorry.
‘I appreciate PetSmart’s cooperation in getting me the answers about what happened with Scruffles when she was in their care. I have since learned that other health factors caused Scruffles’ death and PetSmart did not kill my dear Scruffles.
‘As a result, I am now shutting this web page down. Thank you all for your kind wishes and support.’
PetSmart denied any wrongdoing and has said that Scruffles’ death was caused by pre-existing medical conditions.
They filed a counterclaim suit against DiNapoli for defamation. She paid them $30,000, court records show.
On December 20 of 2017, DiNapoli said she dropped Scruffles off around 9.45am and by 11am the dog was being taken to Flemington Veterinary Hospital. She was pronounced dead on arrival.
The distraught woman said none of PetSmart’s employees were at the hospital when she got there to answer her questions.
According to DiNapoli, she had not received a written report from the store explaining what happened and she did not know how Scruffles died.
Results from a necropsy, an animal version of an autopsy, weren’t made public.
At the time of the incident, DiNapoli had started a Facebook page, Justice for Scruffles, demanding answers about what happened to her pet pooch.
‘PetSmart refuses to answer any questions regarding her passing and only states it’s under investigation,’ she posted. ‘We have asked to speak to the groomer and a report of what happened during her last hours on earth. They refuse to give us information.’
Over an eight-day period from December 22 to 29 at least two dogs died after being dropped off at the Flemington pet store, according to NJ Advanced Media. A third dog suffered serious back injuries.
A total of 47 cases of dogs dying in grooming care have been documented across 14 states since 2008, NJ Advance Media found.
English bulldogs and breeds known as brachycephalic dogs accounted for 20 of the 47 deaths.