Cat Owner Faces Animal Cruelty Charges After Bringing Cat To Groomer

A Phoenix cat owner is facing animal cruelty charges after he brought his cat to be groomed at an animal hospital.

Authorities were called to investigate the condition of the cat and they said the cat was extremely emaciated and dehydrated. Also the cat’s hair was so matted that he could not move and would cry whenever he was handled.

A veterinarian at the animal hospital had the cat euthanized to prevent any more pain to the cat.

The man told authorities that the cat had been in that condition for more than three months. He was booked into county jail for failing to provide food, water, and medical care to his pet.

Source: Arizona Family

14 Responses to “Cat Owner Faces Animal Cruelty Charges After Bringing Cat To Groomer”

  1. Amanda says:

    Poor kitty :( I am glad it is out of pain and hopefully enjoying the company of all our angels at rainbow bridge

  2. Nancy G. says:

    The vet couldn’t anesthetize the cat, shave it, give it food and water and a chance at a better life?

  3. Amanda says:

    Maybe it was too far gone. Perhaps its kidneys or liver had been damaged too long? We obviously don’t know the full condition the cat was in.

  4. Merlin Marshall says:

    I’m with Nancy, couldn’t an attempt have been made to take care of it and give it a chance to live? At least stablize it and test it to see if it could survive.

  5. KarlaSanDiego says:


  6. Don Earl says:

    Obviously this never should have been allowed to get as bad as it was, but I have a little trouble understanding how it is that when the pet owner decided he needed professional help with the problem and was willing to spend money to get the problem under control, he immediately winds up in jail with his cat dead at the hands of those he sought help from.

    Although coat problems seem to have disappeared since switching my cats to homemade food, my longhaired cat used have occasional problems with his hair matting, especially around his tummy. No matter how careful and gentle I was in clipping the mats off, he’d start yowling like he was being murdered the second I set him upside down in my lap and he saw the comb and scissors. I take care of it when it’s necessary, but he just plain hates anything having to do with combs and scissors, even when I’m sure I couldn’t possibly be hurting him.

    Some cats love being combed and brushed, but with the ones that don’t, it’s a real chore keeping them looking nice. My guess is the vet saw what the owner saw everytime he tried to groom the cat himself, and the cat wasn’t in pain but was simply making its usual fuss.

    I’ll agree with anyone who thinks the guy should have sought help a lot sooner, but I also have trouble with the idea that when a person admits there’s a problem he doesn’t know how to deal with, and turns to professionals for help, that his pet should be put down and he should get thrown in jail.

    I mean, I just can’t imagine someone going to a groomer under the circumstances with anything else in mind other than he’d get his cat back with the mats all gone, and with the cat clean and fresh so he could take it back home at the end of the day, everything as good as new. Plus, I’d guess if it had been a positive experience for owner and pet, with some helpful advice from the groomer and regular visits, it would have ceased to be a problem at all.

    I still think a lot of problems could be cured by regular pet care classes at shelters, open to the public.

  7. Pam says:

    I agree that there should have been some attempt to make this kitty more comfortable and try to keep her alive. If she was emaciated and dehydrated, she probably had other health issues that could have been medically treated. According to the story, she was euthanized immediately without any testing because a vet made the decision that she shouldn’t live. So sad.

  8. mittens says:

    although starvation and dehydration can cause irreversable damage to a cat, it often happens that cats who are severely matted need to be put under and then shaved to get the situation under control. one must have the will ,however, to save the cat first rather than the over weening desire to punish the owner at all costs. not that this guy didnt blank up royally and engender a neglect that’s cruel- he did-but why dont we see if we can save the cat first then deal out the lessons to him? he was afterall of his own volition attempting to right the situation. hastening the cat to the grave hardly seems humane to his inhumane treatment of the cat.

    my shelter saved himmie is a terror about combing and brushing. they have to be raised from kittens being lovingly groomed or they tend to want none of it. and of course if theyre terrorized by a groomer the fear stays with them no matter who later tries to comb them. lately i discovered that if i take her in a closed room with none of the other cats present she will let me brush her out- an impossibility up until now and i cant bring myself to bring her to a stranger. the options were the continued blood letting of mittens or take her to the vet to be sedated and shorn.

  9. Lynn says:

    The owner brought the cat in to get GROOMED, not to be treated for medical reasons.

    Vets don’t arbitrarily kill animals without consent.

    I think we’re missing part of the story.

  10. Pam says:

    Lynn, I’m sure you’re right–we don’t have all the details of this story. It could be that the owner was coerced into giving consent to kill his cat. He probably didn’t have resources to have a vet take care of her–not an excuse to let her suffer for 3 months, but he did finally try to take care of her.

    Nevertheless, it’s still a very sad story–the cat is dead, the owner is in jail and there is another bad story about animal cruelty.

  11. Don Earl says:

    RE: “I think we’re missing part of the story.”

    I think we’re missing everything except a “story”.

    Real news would have information about the vet, who the vet is employed by, and who ordered the vet’s service in the first place. It would also include an interview with the pet owner to find out what his side of the situation is.

    RE: “my shelter saved himmie is a terror about combing and brushing. they have to be raised from kittens being lovingly groomed or they tend to want none of it.”

    Mine has hated being groomed from day one ever since he was a kitten. A gentle combing will produce noise like he was being tortured by terrorists. If I can catch him when he’s half asleep, I can comb part of him before he starts raising cain. At that rate, it takes about three days to get him combed if I want to keep the fuss level at a minimum. He also yells if I pick him up when he doesn’t want to be picked up.

    He’s an absolute jewel of a cat when he’s feeling sociable, but if he doesn’t want to do something, he REALLY doesn’t want to do it.

    It would be VERY easy for anyone who didn’t know him to misunderstand the noise he makes under those circumstances. It’s hard to describe the sound, but a cross between an injured rabbit and a fire truck might be fairly close. He doesn’t do it from pain, it’s more along the lines of a child throwing a temper tantrum.

    Actually, cats are typically very subtle about showing pain, which is part of the reason I’m having trouble with the credibility of the vet’s account in the story. The first thing any truly good vet will tell you is how fantastically difficult it is to tell when a cat is in pain.

    Maybe I’m reading too much into this story based on my own experience, but I can almost see how someone might be reluctant to overrule the opinion of a protesting cat on the whole grooming thing, and how someone else might mistake the usual protests as an indication of terrible pain.

    Without better information, I’d be inclined to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. A mean, cruel, abusive, totally negligent person never would have taken the cat to a groomer in the first place. A person seeking help for their pet shouldn’t be hauled off to jail for doing so at the whim of those help is being sought from.

    Take this scenario to the extreem. What if your pet came down with something and upon taking the pet to the vet, the vet decided you were cruel for not bringing the pet in 8 hours sooner? Off to jail you go, and down goes your pet. No warrants, no due process, no appeal - it’s all a done deal before your head stops spinning.

    Not to worry though, the wholesale slaughter, slow torture, and maiming of pets by the white collar crowd at pet food companies will continue unabated.

  12. catmom5 says:

    Granted that we haven’t heard the whole story, but as a person owned by five cats, and struggling with medical issues with one of them, I can imagine how very sick a cat could be without food, water, attention for three months or longer. The vet contacted authorities, we don’t know who or how they handled it, but I would have grave concerns over the health of a cat who had been neglected for so very long. Perhaps there were medical issues that made euthanasia the kindest choice. Perhaps the cat was not healthy enough to tolerate anesthesia to deal with the mats. Three months is a long time and cats can develop liver and kidney disease very quickly.
    So, let’s not rush to judgement here. We really don’t know both sides and until we do, let’s just feel sad for the poor cat, who is really the victim here.

  13. Don Earl says:

    RE: “I can imagine how very sick a cat could be without food, water, attention for three months or longer.”

    The cat had matted fur for three months. There’s nothing in the article that says the guy wasn’t feeding or watering the cat.

    The article says the cat was emanciated and dehydrated. That could be caused by any number of things, including hairballs. Not to mention that “emanciated” is a question begging term. How old was the cat? Old age often includes running a bit on the thin side.

    Can you imagine someone willing to hire the services of a groomer that can’t afford pet food or that would be unwilling to buy pet food? That doesn’t make sense.

    RE: “So, let’s not rush to judgement here.”

    Everything about the situation sounds like a rush to judgment; starting with a groomer who seems to think pets should be groomed before being taken to be groomed, and ending with a vet who thinks euthansia is the best treatment for matted fur.

    If the professionals this guy sought help from found this cat so difficult to groom - and some cats are very difficult in that regard - why does he belong in jail?

    I wonder how many folks looking at this piece have hands on experience with matting problems. The first time I saw one of these mats on a cat, I thought the thing to do was comb it out. The next thing I did was wonder how on earth it is possible fur could get THAT tangled, THAT fast! When it’s a problem, you can comb a cat on Wednesday, and have a mats showing up on Friday.

    I honestly don’t know what causes such matting, but when it happens, it seems to come in waves. Sheding maybe? I don’t know for sure, but the hair is snarled right down to the skin and the only way to get rid of the snarl is to cut it off. The snarled mats don’t cut easily. You have to be very careful and very gentle, first because having one’s hair pulled hurts, and second because the mats have to be cut close and you don’t want to nip the cat with the scissors in the process. It’s a chore with an agreeable cat that understands you’re just trying to help, it’s no fun at all with a squirming cat that is yowling in protest.

    I’m not defending the guy for letting it get that bad. The best way to deal with a mat is to snip it off as soon as you notice it. If you own a longhaired cat, you’re going to get mats once in awhile. I suppose what I’m basically trying to say is there’s a difference between abuse and cureable negligence. Plus, I don’t believe that at the point where a person says, “The problem is out of control, I don’t know what to do, please help.”, that they should be thrown in jail.

    What if instead of going off half cocked, the groomer had said, “There’s going to be an extra fee because the problem is so far gone it’s going to take extra work to fix. Here’s a print out of helpful grooming tips I want you to take with you and follow to the letter to keep the problem from getting this bad again. When we get done today, I want to schedule a follow up appointment to make sure we stay on top of this.”.

    Sheesh! That’s just good business as well as being in the pet’s best interest.

  14. mittens says:


    i agree with you- as i stated i think the obvious option even for the vet would have been to sedate the cat and shave the fur and matts off. if the cat was so hostile ( most likely because it was in pain to begin with) the shot to sedate the cat costs as much as the shot to ‘ euthanize’ the cat. i think it was inhumane not to make this attempt to make shave the cat, make it more comfortable . if the groomer couldnt deal with the cat the obvious option and professional suggestion should have been sedation and shaving by a vet not kill it because we dont want to think for 2 seconds about what is basically common enough feline reaction to pain , unwanted handling , confinement and being removed from it’s territory.

    besides miss himmie , i have a history of having very difficult calico cats. i had a torbie who was a little sweet kitten with me and the tazmanian devil with everyone else who attempted to make her do anything she didnt want to do. vets refused to treat her to the point where i gave up taking her out of the house- we couldnt get her out of the carriers at the office. thankfully she was healthy life long but i am no stranger to alleged professionals who absolutely refuse to change their SOPs to deal with particularly difficult cats. i think it just comes down to they dont want to deal and dont care to make the effort or buy a cat glove( they use the one for sharks by the by for cats!). eventually i found a house call vet who was very understranding and willing to deal. it was her understanding of feline behavior that made the difference. i never expect self proclaimed ‘ groomers’ to be any better than vets in this matter so i never would trust any of my crazier calicos to the whims and warped perceptions of strangers. my torbie could sound like she was small baby trapped in a bag that i was shaking and kicking around the house- i expect i was the only one who realized that was just her special tortie charm in action. even when she scratched me hard enough to leave permanent scars i never once hit or harmed her in any way. i undestood that it was cat nature magnified and strived to ensure her safety in any situation. . i never assume other people even animal professionals will understand.

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