Dog Groomer Sent To Jail After Poodle’s Death

RajahCeleste Rainone, a Baltimore groomer and owner of Grooming by Celeste, has been ordered to a 90 day prison sentence in the death of a poodle while she was grooming him.

Rajah, a 14-year-old apricot-colored miniature poodle, was always brought to Rainone’s grooming salon to get shampooed and have his nails clipped.

But Nancy Pine, Rajah’s owner, knew that there was something wrong when Rajah had been at the groomer for a lot longer than usual. Two hours after Pine called to check on Rajah, Rainone’s fiance dropped off the poodle at Pine’s home.

Pine said that when she first saw her poodle, he couldn’t even hold his head up and was barely conscious.

Rajah died ten hours later at an animal hospital, and a necropsy showed that the poodle suffered acute liver injuries, broken ribs, and internal bleeding, and he may have been strangled.

Baltimore County District Judge Barbara Jung sentenced Rainone to 90 days in jail for animal cruelty and animal mutilation. She was also ordered to surrender her grooming license and pay $2,371 to cover Rajah’s medical expenses. The judge added that the amount paid to Pine will never compensate for the loss of her dog.

Rainone apologized in court and said she had no intention to hurt Rajah and that she suddenly snapped. She said that when the poodle bit her while she was grooming him, she went out of control.

Her attorney stated that after Rainone had surgery for a cerebral hemorrhage three years ago, she has suffered seizures and has been diagnosed with a panic disorder. The attorney added that Rainone was overcome by the situation and did not mean to harm Rajah.

Rainone is also scheduled to go to trial later this week in another incident of animal cruelty. She is accused of injuring Chesney, a four-year-old Maltese, in June 2006. The dog’s owner said that Chesney was limping and covered in urine, feces and blood when she picked him up.

The owner stated Rainone said that Chesney had bit her and “needed to be put down.”

Source: Baltimore Sun

26 Responses to “Dog Groomer Sent To Jail After Poodle’s Death”

  1. Nancy G. says:

    Shocking. Why was this woman still in business in the first place?

  2. KimS says:

    I hope in jail she gets the crap knocked out of her till she gets x’s for eyes.

  3. Gindy says:

    This woman needs to be put away. She is a danger to society if she snaps at animals. Imagine what she could do if you made her mad in traffic? Ram you with her car? Pull out a gun and shoot you? She needs to be locked up, I don’t care why but get her out of the public arena and safely behind bars, THICK ones.

  4. kaefamily says:

    Gosh, I hope she is not taking care of any living being. However, she is in need of care herself.

  5. Sharon says:

    The fact that she did this before is what is so disturbing. Why are people allowed to repeat psychotic behavior until it results in death?

  6. Donna says:

    No excuses. I can not accept any excuses for animal abuse. My heart goes out to the owner and the suffering of a fourteen year old dog.

  7. shibadiva says:

    60 days in prison is going to solve this problem? This woman needs to be put away.

  8. Nora and Rufus says:

    This low life bitch deserves hell in jail and hopefully she gets it, hopefully she will die a terrifying death also. That poor dog had to be terrified and suffer horribly at the groomers hands, and I wonder how many other times she abused him and all the other dogs that are unfortunate enough to have their owners pay this maniac’s bills and support her business.

  9. A.C. says:

    What this woman did is terrible and deserves some serious consequences. I’m glad to see a judge is making sure that’s exactly what happens, though a longer sentence might be in order here, since this is her second offense.

    On another note - I’m surprised to see so much violence suggested as the solution of choice on this board lately. Inflicting pain and fear on one another is never the answer and I’m both sad and alarmed to see it advocated in such abundance. If, in our anger at her (truly horrific) behavior, we honestly believe this woman should be dealt with in such a manner, what makes us any different than her?

  10. Cheryl says:

    It is a good thing they took her license away - two small dogs (that we know of) bite her - that tells me she was manhandling them to start with. I hope she doesn’t own any dogs and I also hope that no other groomer hires her or they are asking to go out of business.

  11. trudyjackson says:

    As I have said earlier, I was a groomer for 12 years. And of course got bitten many times. There is NO excuse for this behavior. But I have seen it at other places. when My new grooming room went in, it has all glass walls and anyone could watch. If not, what are they hiding? I did it for the love of dogs. not all people do. There are some very mean people out there handling your animals. I would never trust anyone with My cat, either, no one.

  12. SAVE CONGO says:

    Thank you for your support, Congo’s Law will benefit all pet owners, and protect us from this happening again, please keep calling the gov and call Neil Cohen to approve his proposed bill my email is, we need everyone to know about this so please pass it on

  13. SAVE CONGO says:

    Arrival Story:
    If you have not heard about this troubling story, now’s the time you did. Whether you are a dog lover or not this story is distrubing because it is another failure of the judicial system to follow the law. The law requires that the State prove by ‘clear and convincing evidence’ that a dog is vicious in order to end the dog’s life. That means that the State must show that it is ‘highly probable’ that the dog is vicious. A dog who is provoked and bites in defense of himself or a member of his family (dog or human) is not a vicious dog. We, the people, do not need an expert to tell us this. However, for those who need this comfort I am attaching a copy of the ‘expert report’ which opines that the dog, known as Congo, was ‘clearly provoked’. If you know me personally, you know about my escapades in searching for the truth and my dedictation to helping ‘underdogs’. I have helped many of you and rarely, if ever, ask for anything in return. If I have one ‘help’ to use in exchange for the help that I have given then I am willing to use it on Congo’s behalf. For those of you who do not know me, I am an attorney and not well liked in my profession by some (or maybe many) because I am willing to talk about ‘the pink elephant’ that stands in the middle of the room. I have little tolerance for those who tell me to look the other way while legal professionals violate the rights of hardworking, taxpaying people. One of the most common pink elephants is when a judge deviates from the law because of political pressure or personal gain (in the form of future policial favors) which we all know too well. Either this judge is working on making his way to the Superior Court (heaven help us) or he was sleeping during the trial (some of you have had this experience, I know I did when I sat on a jury in Burlington County in 2004). The Trenton Times article on this story is below and following that are statements from the expert, animal caregivers, friends, and family. Goes to show you anyone can be a judge these days…you just have to know the right people and nothing really about the law or the process involved in analyzing it. What can you do to help? Send letters to support the James Family (whom I have met and wholeheartedly endorse as well as their dogs) to the following: Use the Subject ‘SAVE CONGO’ · · · · If you want to do more on November 13, 2007 beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the Adminstrative Building on Witherspoon Street in Princeton there will be a protest of the judge’s decision labeling Congo as ‘vicious’ and ordering Congo to be put to death. If you want more details please contact me. Trenton Times Article Judge rules dog should be put down Defense to appeal ruling in landscaper attack Thursday, November 01, 2007 BY LINDA STEIN PRINCETON TOWNSHIP — A German shepherd that attacked a landscaper was ruled vicious by a Municipal Court judge and four other dogs were found to be potentially dangerous. The ruling may be a death sentence for the German shepherd named Congo because a dog found to be vicious is required to be euthanized under state law. But the defense has vowed to appeal the judge’s ruling. In his opinion handed down Tuesday, Judge Russell Annich Jr. said that workers came to the Stuart Road house of Guy and Elizabeth James on June 5. Giovanni Rivera, of Trenton, was one of five day laborers hired to perform landscaping work at the 10-acre, fenced property. The crew had arrived at about 7 a.m., which was earlier than the couple expected them, the judge wrote. According to the ruling, Guy James saw the workers drive up and told them to wait in their car until he returned and told them the dogs were inside. The men waited about 13 minutes, then two got out and started work, the judge wrote. After a minute, Elizabeth James told them to get back in the car. Several of the dogs ran over, barking. One of the workers was frightened and repelled the dogs with a rake, the judge wrote. Elizabeth James shouted for the worker to stop hitting the dogs with the rake, and Rivera, who was frightened and seeking protection, grabbed her from behind, according to the ruling. She began screaming. Rivera then fell to the ground. At that point, Congo began to bite him and the other dogs joined in, the judge said. After about three minutes, Guy James came out of the house and stopped the dogs from attacking, according to the opinion. Rivera was taken to The Medical Center at Princeton where he was treated for multiple bite wounds. In his opinion, Annich said Rivera ’suffered substantial injuries.’ Attorney Robert Lytle, who represents the homeowners, said he will appeal the ruling to Superior Court. ‘Although we respect the judge’s decision we disagree with it,’ Lytle said. ‘There was overwhelming evidence the incident in this case was provoked unintentionally by the workers on the property, swinging a rake at the dogs, hitting the dogs in the head, injuring them.’ Kim A. Otis, the municipal prosecutor, said, ‘I thought it was a very fair

  14. Maggi Parker says:

    the fact that the woman had a history of seizure disorders should have stopped her from continuing to groom animals….although I do feel some compassion for her plight, I feel more for the innocent animals she harmed….this is such a sad story… one wins here…..

  15. MaineMom says:

    Buyer beware! Get to know your goomer as well as your significant other or do it yourself. Take it from one who learned the hard way. And if you think they abuse dogs, you should see what they do to cats.

  16. Lynn says:

    I’ve had a couple bad groomers; those who had no business being in such an industry. The first bad one obviously used the clipper blades in the wrong direction and created a very bad burn requiring veterinary attention immediately. From then on I stayed and watched and if they wouldn’t allow it we would turn around and leave.

    And then I heard about Evelyn. My dog would tug at his leash all the way from the car into her shop. When Evelyn was done, my dog didn’t want to leave. This woman treated all her fur-clients like royalty. No wonder she had to constantly turn away business.

    I believe that any groomer who won’t let you hang around and watch isn’t worth having.

    You wouldn’t drop your two year old child off at the barber’s while you went shopping, would you?

  17. kathy says:

    Who licenses these groomers?? It has been my experience that people who have had brain injuries or other brain disorders cannot function properly, and cannot be treated to make them function normally. They should probably never be licensed to do anything. Give them disability so they will stay home, be they day-care workers, dog groomers, cab drivers, or whatever!!!

  18. Kitty's Dad says:

    There is no excuse for animal abuse. That being said…. Nor is there excuse for wishing human abuse on the one(s) doing it.
    In my opinion, Dogs and Cats are the two best friends a person can have, and should be treated that way by the owner, as well as medical care providers.
    We have 3 different Veterinarians within 20 miles of our house. All 3 of them have done nothing but exceptional treatment to our pets. Nor have we gotten any of our kitties with any trace of abuse by an assistant OR veterinarian. I only pray it stays that way.
    Revocation of licenses should be adequate — IF they put a lifetime ban on their re-qualifying. In addition, the revocation should carry the word “permanent,” and it be affixed to their records. Kinda like if you discovered a man with a driver’s license couldn’t see over 60 feet. His license would have a permanent revocation on it, too.
    Perhaps it is like comparing apples to oranges likening a groomer to a driver, but I think u can see my point.
    PROUD father of an American Soldier

  19. Don Earl says:

    The part I don’t get is if the law recognizes the value of our pets to the point where harming a pet is a criminal offense, why is the wrongful death of a pet worth virtually nothing in a settlement?

    Here’s a pet that has been a member of the family for 14 years. Over the course of the years, the family has spent countless thousands of dollars to nurture and care for the pet. Yet when some nogoodnick comes along and kills the pet, the court says, “Hee, hee, hee, sorry pal, your pet is worthless, but we’ll let you have the last round of vet bills back.”.

  20. Nora and Rufus says:

    I am sick of people who stick up for humans who abuse and kill animals. That attitude enables the abusers (has for centuries) and causes the continuation of murder of innocent animals. If karma gets someone who is an abuser of animals, SO BE IT. That is POETIC JUSTICE.

  21. NH says:

    Such a sad story.

  22. Carol Johnson says:

    Why in the world was she allowed to remain in business? She is a sick sick person…and belongs in jail for a heck of a lot longer than she will most likely get.

    Someone who cannot control themselves better than this is a danger to all.

  23. HB says:

    A.C. - agreed.

  24. Thel Josenhans says:

    Grooming salons ………….
    I would never , take my two dogs to , or three cats , to a grooming Salon ,
    I have hear , to many stories , that , after washing the animal , they put them , in a cage , with a blower , full blast , to dry them , in a hurry , & a lot of times , have the heat , so high , on the blow dryer , it kills the dog or cat . The dog or cat will , bite ………… when they know , there is a present danger , of the person , handeling them . I think , the women who hurt , killed these animals , should be sent to a mental Hosp. , for 5 years , not a few pills , released, I have learned the hard way , never , never , trust a stranger, with your loving , family member , Salons , are ,out to make money , kindness in those shops , are hard to find. People who , treat animals like this , would you want them , around , your children ????
    It’s like the nursing homes , put on a good front , smile , when the visitors are gong, it’s like grooming Salon’s ………… a slap , a kick, push , & resent taking care of the one , there sopost help. T.K.J. Thel

  25. The Lioness says:

    I agree. This woman’s revocation needs to be permanent, and the court should mandate psychological treatement. She WILL snap again, and it doesn’t matter whether the victim is an animal or a person: She is now a known threat, and she should be treated accordingly.

    I feel so badly for the family that lost their dog, and for the other owners whose fur-baby was injured by this woman.

    ~The Lioness

  26. Elaine Vigneault says:

    You said “She was also ordered to surrender her grooming license.”
    I wonder if you mean her business license? I’m pretty sure there aren’t any state regulations of dog groomers. There aren’t in NY so I’m betting there aren’t elsewhere either.

    Anyone can claim to be a dog groomer or dog trainer. They need no special training or expertise. They don’t need to pass any tests or prove they are capable. They just hang up a sign and start a business.

    This is why I learned to groom my dog myself now. I don’t trust the industry. Sorry, but it’s just not safe.

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