Two dogs dead after grooming appointments at New Jersey PetSmart, owners say

A New Jersey woman is searching for answers and demanding justice for her bulldog, who died less an hour after she dropped her off for a standard grooming appointment at PetSmart.

Danielle DiNapoli, from Lambertville, said she left her seemingly healthy 8-year-old dog, Scruffles, at the Flemington store toward the end of last month — but less than an hour later, she received a phone call explaining the canine had been taken to a local vet, Patch reported.

When she arrived at the animal hospital in Flemington, a veterinarian told her that Scruffles had been dead upon arrival. They attempted CPR, but were not successful.

DiNapoli also claimed no PetSmart staff was at the hospital by the time she got there, and that there is no way yet to tell how long her dog had been dead prior to her arrival at the facility.

Old dog found in garbage bag in Brooklyn no longer in ruff shape

PetSmart in a statment said they immediately conducted an internal investigation, which determined staff followed “all policies and procedures.”

“The outstanding piece of this investigation is the result of the necropsy report, which will likely assist in understanding the overall circumstances leading to Scruffles’ unfortunate passing.”

Several owners have come forward with concerns about groomings at the Flemington PetSmart.

Several owners have come forward with concerns about groomings at the Flemington PetSmart.


But DiNapoli said the store has changed its tune on several occasions.

PetSmart “refuses to answer my questions regarding her passing and only states it’s under investigation. We have asked to speak to the groomer and a report of what happened during her last hours on earth,” DiNapoli wrote in a Facebook page aimed at getting answers on her companion’s death.

Since the page, “Justice for Scruffles” went live on Facebook at the end of 2017, thousands of people have joined to voice their support for the pup while others have shared experiences of their own with PetSmart grooming.

Tara Fiet said her dog, Ranger, went to the same PetSmart on Dec. 22 for a grooming, just a few days ahead of Scruffles.

Fiet, in apost on the Facebook page, said Ranger “was very lethargic” following his appointment, but she attributed his change in behavior to the holiday festivities.

“Ranger died suddenly and unexpectedly on Sunday night,” Fiet wrote, adding the dog had already been cremated. “He had no previous health issues and had just been to the vet 2 months earlier.”

The "Justice for Scruffles" Facebook page already has thousands of supporters.

The “Justice for Scruffles” Facebook page already has thousands of supporters.


Another dog owner, David Bolduc, said he also dropped his shih tzu, George, off for a grooming on Dec. 22. The Flemington PetSmart later called him, alleging the canine tried to bite the groomer and needed to be picked up, reported.

Bolduc told the news site he turned around to take George to the vet almost as soon as he arrived home. The dog appeared to in extreme pain and was trying to avoid putting pressure on his back legs.

He struggled to get in contact with the store, but said they offered to pay for George’s medical expenses after they were contacted by NJ Advance Media./nydailynews

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