Dog Grooming Business Owner Accused Of Hitting Woman’s Dog

CatcherA doggy daycare owner and groomer is being accused of severely beating a customer’s dog.

Catcher, a Jack Russell Terrier, went in for grooming at The Dog Zone in Longview, Washington and came out with a hemorrhage behind his eye.

Jen Comin, Catcher’s owner, rescued him three years ago. She said the dog had been abused in the past and is afraid of men due to the abuse. She said the groomer knew that and he decided to groom him anyways.

According to Catcher’s owner, one of the employees at The Dog Zone said they saw the doggy daycare owner/groomer vigorously shake and hit him. Comin said the veterinarian stated that the only reason her dog ended up with a hemorrhage behind his eye is if he had been shaken or hit by a blunt object to the head.

The owner of The Dog Zone, Doug Kalbery, said Catcher snapped at him and got a hold of his fingernail.

“At that point, I decided I was going to rehabilitate this dog, but I wasn’t asked to rehab this dog,” he said. He did admit he made a mistake.

Kalberg said he did not remember being told about Catcher’s abusive past. He tried to calm the dog by pinning him down and trying to get him to submit.

“At one point, I will fully admit that I yanked him too hard and he hit a wall,” Kalberg said. “So if there was any trauma on the head, I suspect that’s when that happened. I take care of dogs for a living and the last thing I want is anybody hurt.”

Comin said she will not go back to The Dog Zone again. She added that Kalberg should not be around animals and he should not be in this line of work.

Several employees testified to Kalberg’s inappropriate action. The county is looking into the situation and statements were turned over to the District Attorney for possible prosecution.

Source: KOMO News

(Thanks Trella)

26 Responses to “Dog Grooming Business Owner Accused Of Hitting Woman’s Dog”

  1. mittens says:

    “‘At one point, I will fully admit that I yanked him too hard and he hit a wall,’Kalberg said. ”

    what an outrageous statement. if humans don’t ‘ submit’ do they accidentally fall into your fist too? people offer up the same sort of bizarre nonsensical excuses when they’ve smacked their infant to death. yeah, buddy, i am sure the wall did it and not your hand or your hand gripping an object.

    no offence to any groomers out there- i am sure there are plenty who are nothing like this guy- but i simply cannot bare to take the himalayan i just adopted to the groomers because of incidents like this. i realize some animals are difficult and it can be frustrating and you could get nipped or scratched but blunt force is criminal. you were hardly being mauled by a large attack dog with it’s jaw locked down on your arm- the only time such force is acceptable.

    i believe my girl was traumatized by a groomer/someone grooming her.they told me she went every month and was ‘ difficult’ .from the way she winces when you first go to pet her head, i say she was hit or smacked on a regular basis. once you start petting her and it’s clear you don’t have a brush she can’t get enough human contact . slowly i’ve been introducing the brush and i try to take her snarls out by hand. it’s clear she likes the feel of the brush and wants the snarls out but it’s also clear that she’s defensive and scared. i don’t think it would be fair to dump her off at a groomer when i know she’s going to flip out and potentially scratch someone. if she does so to me, i walk away. i can’t be sure a stranger would do the same.

  2. catmom5 says:

    This guy is obviously in the wrong line of work. Trying to “rehabilitate” a dog? That’s not how it’s done! I hope that the dog recovers from his injuries, although the emotional damage will likely last a good bit longer than the physical damage.

  3. Donna says:

    Make an appointment and STAY with your pet. I have met many groomers that were great. Talk to the groomer before the appointment, advise of her past.The right groomer, is one that view each pet as special and not just another pay check to pick up. Talk to other pet owners, happy clients will guide you. Healing blessings to your girl.

  4. pat says:

    i agree with Donna; i wonder about the wisdom of leaving an animal with known issues alone in the hands of a stranger. that’s no excuse for the groomer’s behavior… he was dead wrong to strike the dog, and consequences should follow. but if i owned an animal that had been rescued from an abuser, i’d be doing my own grooming.

  5. 3FURS says:

    I had a small dog slapped by a groomer, in front of me. That groomer is no longer in buisness. I have an excellent groomer now, but I still stay during the procedure. Personally, I would like to see animal abusers burned at the stake. But the law won’t allow that, so very strict punishments need to be inforced.

  6. JB says:

    This story is appalling! I adopted a dog from a rescue group and he also has emotional damage from his past. I have to take him to a groomer because he is a bichon, but it is a groomer I have known for years and she is very patient and understanding with him. If anything like this happened to my dog, I’m not so sure he would ever recover. It took us years to get him to trust people again and I think a set back of this caliber would be irrepairable. I hope this guy is never allowed to work with animals again.

  7. Mary says:

    Yes, by all means, if you’re going to get your dog groomed, stay with your dog. You have no idea what can go on in some of the less professional places.

    I tried to work as an assistant groomer and lasted a day. The woman I worked for didn’t inflict pain (except in nail trimming… she was ruthless), but she inflicted plenty of fear. The dogs were terrified. When I said that to her, she told me I shouldn’t attribute human emotions to animals. But to hear her talk to her clients, you’d think she thought every dog was a baby. She was one persona to their faces, but a totally different woman when the clients walked out the door.

  8. Velvet's Dad says:

    Kudos to the employees for standing up to the owner. They should look for another pet care facility in which to work. Because Kalberg should be put out of business. They need only get the word out online.

  9. Nancy G. says:

    The guy got caught this time; you can bet it’s not the first or only time he has gotten rough with dogs in his care. Appalling, he should not be in this line of work.

  10. Scarbo in Atlanta says:

    Speaking as one who has been owned by two Jack Russell Terriers for years, have two JRT granddogs, & also a foster mother for an abandoned JRT, my first question to the owner would be:

    Why would the owner take her dog to a male groomer knowing that he was afraid of men? Her dog’s fear & hatred of men has now been reinforced!

    Our rescue group, as well as all rescue groups, frequently take in dogs who have been abused by men, and many never overcome their fear of men. JRT’s in particular, because of their stubborn nature, absolutely will not tolerate abuse by anyone…and they never forget! ALL JRTs consider any act of aggression or abuse to be the signal to fight back.

    The owner has had the dog for 3 years, but apparently has much to learn about Jack Russells. Rule of thumb: Jack Russell’s are always a work in progress. An abundance of patience is required in raising & training a JRT, but the task is even more challenging with an abused dog.

    It should be noted that, Jack Russells are one of the few breeds that do not need grooming. A bath & brushing & you’re done! If the owner is not comfortable trimming toenails, take the dog to a female groomer, or to her vet’s office where all their technicians are trained to quickly & easily trim toenails.

    Obviously, the groomer knows nothing about JRTs, and is sadly mistaken if he thinks he can rehabilitate any dog by mistreating it. He is definitely in the wrong line of work. It is also well documented that anyone who abuses an animal will also abuse a child.

  11. Sky Eyes Woman says:

    Well, Mr. Kalberg, the word is out on you now and the clients will be staying away in droves. Make things easier on everyone…close up your shop and go see if the nearest McDonald’s is hiring.

  12. JJ in IL says:

    I’m fortunate to have a groomer who never believed in using pills, muzzling or anything else when people bring their dogs in for a bath. I have known this woman for over 30 yrs and my current dog (who was abused by a man & adopted from a shelter by myself) loves her and I stay with her the entire time she is bathing, drying, trimming her nails, etc. Wish everyone could find a person as special as my groomer.

  13. Lynn says:

    True, if my dog was terrified of men, I wouldn’t take it to a male groomer. Still, that’s no excuse for what happened.

    This is animal cruelty in my book. Whether the dog was formerly abused, or whether or not the groomer knew the dog’s abuse background.

    Spread the word:


  14. deej says:

    omg - hit the wall?? decided to rehab???

    The poor dog…

  15. straybaby says:

    “He tried to calm the dog by pinning him down and trying to get him to submit.”

    god i hate this whole “submit” mindset that some trainers put out there. this is exactly why it’s bad. some a-hole like this groomer tries it. not to mention it’s cruel in the first place.

    hope the pup is going to be ok.

  16. CINDY WALSH says:


  17. Trudy Jackson says:

    I worked as a groomer for 12 years while working for the vet too. But I also went to grooming school, and went to watch other groomers. Please people, stay with your animal. There is no reason a good groomer won’t let you stay and watch. I have seen things i can’t even imagine and they all sounded so nice when talking with their customers.
    Don’t leave them alone with the groomer.
    I never hurt a dog or cat but have seen so many who have. Especially in the bathtub.

  18. Lynne says:

    I started grooming my own dogs when I read a story about a groomer who set a hair dryer in front of a puppy’s cage. Groomer forgot about it. Puppy died from the heat.

  19. Stefani says:

    “I yanked him . . . and he hit a wall”?????

    Um, I think it must have been more deliberate than that.

    It is particularly heartbreaking when the so-called “professionals” we turn to for help in caring for our pets cause them injury or death through negligence or abuse.

    For the scores of us who have had this kind of experience with VETERINARIANS, the emotional trauma and horror of knowing you entrusted your pet to someone who hurt or killed that beloved animal is beyond anything I can explain.

    This individual should not be permitted to run a grooming business anymore.

    I am affiliated with a growing group of individuals organizing to raise public awareness about dangers posed to our companion animal friends — by veterinarians, drugs/pharma, groomers, etc. I would like to find a motivated person interested in specializing in the grooming accidents/abuse issue.

    If anyone knows how I can get in touch with Comin to see if she is interested let me know. Or, if you know someone else who has had similar experiences. Email below.

    The Toonces Project
    “Is Your Pet Safe at the Vet?”

  20. 2CatMom says:

    If you have a nervous animal, another idea is to have the groomer come to your home. A sensitive animal will be more relaxed if he’s bathed and combed in his own house with his mom or dad present.

  21. Dog Care Tips says:

    Dog Care Tips

    I couldn’t understand some parts of this article, but it sounds interesting

  22. reply says:

    Kalberg Is not the groomer he just owns the business. When catcher was brought in to get groomed, the groomer wasn’t at work yet. Kalberg didn’t know and or remember that catcher didn’t like men. So he took him to a kennel not knowing Catcher would attack him. The owner of catcher should of reminded Kalberg of that. Catcher mom should always remind very one that. As well as vets, Groomers, Anyone that comes in to contact with him. You just don’t assume that everyone remember. very time. Yes Kalberg went to far but the dog did as well.

  23. eileen says:

    He needs criminal charges brought against him, and have his business closed indefinitely.

    I groom dogs for a living, and never have treated them with anything other than total love.

    Dogs are trusting and loving by nature, they instinctly know when the human has a bad soul.

    I’ve been bitten before, but by cats. Those dog who have a phobia about their nails or ears or rearend, usually let you know ahead of time by a low (but not menacing) growl. For those, I mussell and handle with care and extra love and crooning words of encouragement.

    This man who did this should have the same thing done to him.

    I would impose a five year jail sentence, $15,000.00 to the owner, a $10,000.00 fine, and loss of his business.

    What an evil person.

  24. BJ says:

    There are a number of groomers who have been in the business for a long time who abuse animals. I am presently attending a grooming school in SC and the owner abuses the dogs horrendously. I invested so much money so I have to finish but I would love for the people she grooms for to know about what she does to their animals. Some of the dogs are just pitiful when she slaps them, hits them, shoves them off the grooming table. Some of the dogs are really old. Some of them are in shock or just frantic when they realize where they are.

  25. kd garr says:

    I am sickened to say the least. I have been grooming dogs for 12 years now. I have had some clients stay with their dogs, I worked at a big box store in front of the window, and have worked in several open salons where clients can walk in at anytime. I have also worked with abusive groomers ( and have gotten a few fired). I love my pets that I groom. Sometimes they do act up and I use the utmost patience with them. If I feel like I cannot safely groom a pet, I will let the owner know that he needs to find someone else or If the pet is aggressive ( I work at a vets office) sedation may be in order. I currently work with a groomer who is mean (verbally) to the dogs. I cringe!! I do not want to work with her anymore!! I groom her pets sometimes and they shake like crazy until they realize I’m not going to hurt them!! So, pet owners, be aware that some groomers should not be grooming!! If you want to stay for the groom, the groomer should not have a problem with it.

  26. Tiffanyann says:

    I think the groomers should have surveillance cameras in their shop so if people want to see how their dogs are treated they can. And also in case the groomer is telling the truth in some cases. I love dogs and all animals. It’s not fair for them to be abused.

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