First, it was the Anayas’ dog, Athena. Now, it is the Cohn’s dog, Max. Both of these dogs escaped from two separate PetSmarts during a grooming appointment. Both went missing, and both were later found hit by a car.
The Cohn family brought Max to a PetSmart in the Houston, Texas area. Somehow Max escaped from the front doors and went missing.
PetSmart employees searched the area, but were unable to find the 60 pound dog. Later that afternoon, it was discovered that Max had been hit by a car.
A PetSmart spokesperson said that Max got away after he slipped off a leash and then ran through the store’s open doors as people were entering and exiting.
She added, “Incidents of this kind are extremely rare” and “we believe every policy and procedure to keep animals safe when they are in a grooming salon was followed.”
The Cohn family said that PetSmart told them that they had looked up the value of Max on the Internet and offered to give the family $600.
The family said nothing or no one can ever replace Max, who was a much loved part of their family. They said that PetSmart should step up to the plate and take some moral and financial responsibility for what happened.
Angeline, who is sister to Mary Cohn, Max’s owner, emailed Itchmo about this incident and sent us a timeline of what happened with Max while he was at PetSmart:
Max is dropped off at the grooming salon at the Houston PetSmart on 610 Feeder Road in front of Home Depot at 8:00 am. His collar and tags are removed and he is put in the choke collar used by all grooming facilities and taken to the back room.
Max escapes from the grooming salon with no collar of any kind. This door opens outward and we do not understand how this could happen, but we are willing to accept that this was an accident. It is from this point forward that PetSmart failed our gentle pet.
The groomer who allowed Max to get loose does not follow him out of the grooming salon to retrieve him. OPPORTUNITY #1 TO SAVE MAX IS GONE.
The groomer does not alert the store employees that there is a dog loose in the store. OPPORTUNITY #2 TO SAVE MAX IS GONE.
At 8:45 AM a customer sees Max sitting inside the store by the front door, which automatically opens when approached. She alerts the store personnel immediately and loudly, imploring â€œthereâ€™s a dog here, do not let that front door openâ€ but PetSmart staffers do nothing. According to the customer, they â€œfreeze.â€ We have been asked if Max was trained and the answer is yes. He was trained in one on one training sessions with Jim Burwell. Anyone who is familiar with dogs understands that the training is as much, if not more, about teaching humans how to communicate with the animal. Max was already sitting and would have obeyed the simple verbal command to â€œstayâ€. He also works from hand signals and would have stayed with the hand signal of raised palm facing forward. No one executes a verbal command or hand signal of any kind to indicate to Max that he should stay put. Not even a â€œbad planâ€ of spooking the dog away from the front door is attempted. OPPORTUNITY #3 TO SAVE MAX IS GONE.
PetSmart staffers do nothing as a customer approaches the door from the outside and the automatic doors open. Max leaves the building. OPPORTUNITY #4 TO SAVE MAX IS GONE.
The customer immediately follows Max out the door and tries to retrieve him. PetSmart staffers congregate outside the building and seem confused. It takes PetSmart personnel minutes to join up with the customer who is shadowing Max. She asks what the dogâ€™s name is and no one knows. They have brought no treats to entice the dog. Max will respond to a properly executed â€œcomeâ€ command but you have to include his name. He is also food motivated and will come for a treat. When being chased by several people, he does what any dog would do. He runs in the opposite direction. Max eludes his pursuers. OPPORTUNITY #5 TO SAVE MAX IS GONE.
Max is sighted by PetSmart staffers in an open field near Mulberry and Bissonnet. Max has traveled more than a mile through the back neighborhoods and he is now six blocks from home. PetSmart employees â€œcornerâ€ Max . Their words. Once again, no treats and to our knowledge no simple commands are executed. Max turns and runs back the way he came. He is no longer heading for home. OPPORTUNITY #6 TO SAVE MAX IS GONE.
After more than an hour of participating in the search for Max, the CUSTOMER returns to the store and asks about the dogâ€™s owner. She is shocked to learn we have not been contacted and DEMANDS that PetSmart call us immediately. I received a call at 10:10 AM; almost an hour and a half after Max left the store. Our house is three minutes away. OPPORTUNITY #7 TO SAVE MAX IS GONE. THE FIRST THING THAT PETSMART SHOULD HAVE DONE WAS TO PLACE A CALL TO ME. This is the most inexcusable behavior on the part of PetSmart.
So what do we want from PetSmart? We want them to remember Maxâ€™s death. We want them to design plans and procedures that will help to insure that this does not happen to another dog. We want them to implement a policy that owners are called immediately when a pet escapes or is in distress. The second call should be to the local animal control. We want proper employee training in basic animal behavior so that they will know that â€œchasingâ€ an animal is not a retrieval plan. We want doors that do not open automatically or a double set of automatic doors. PetSmart is a billion dollar corporation with an eye to the bottom line and the only way that they will make any changes is when it affects their stock price.
Angeline has also set up a website called petsmartkilledmydog.com.