Owner Blames Petco For Dog’s Injury During Grooming Appointment

HarleyA Connecticut woman claims that her dog has a broken leg because a Petco groomer was negligent and dropped him.

Diana Campbell took her eight-year-old rottweiler, Harley, to Petco to be bathed.

When she picked up Harley, Campbell said, “He was on three legs, with his front leg just snapped and broke to the side, dangling, I mean obviously broken.”

Petco said that Harley jumped out of a tub, but Campbell said a bather admitted to dropping him.

After examining Harley, a veterinarian said that his leg snapped near a small tumor that had weakened the bone. Campbell’s two options were to either put him to sleep or amputate the leg.

Campbell chose to have Harley’s leg amputated and she said she has more than $4,000 worth of vet bills.

She said that Petco’s insurance company told her that Harley’s broken leg was caused by a pre-existing condition.

“Now they’re saying there’s underlying causes. But if they hadn’t dropped him, there wouldn’t have been a break at all,” Campbell said.

The company has agreed to pay about half of the cost of Harley’s medical bills, but not any of the bills for his leg amputation.

Source: WFSB

31 Responses to “Owner Blames Petco For Dog’s Injury During Grooming Appointment”

  1. Nora and Rufus says:

    It’s time for this lady to find another vet. For him to mention putting the dog down for this injury is despicable! Another point is DO NOT get your pets groomed at any Petco or Petsmart. You just cannot trust them. The vast majority of the employees who are grooming there are completely incompetent in this area.

  2. 2CatMom says:

    When will companies learn. Not paying the $4k in medical bills will cost them probably $40k in lost business when people read about these things.

  3. Sundown says:

    I do agree that Petco was totally negligent the the fact that Harley was dropped. But if this was a malignant bone tumor, then eventually, the leg probably would have broken from Harley just being a dog, when the tumor destroyed enough bone. Or it would have become symptomatic, with Harley developing obvious pain and swelling. At which point, if this is in fact bone cancer, amputation would probably provide far less chance of getting the cancer before it spread. The owner claims that if Harley had not been dropped, the leg would not have broken. But it certainly would not have changed the fact that this dog had a bone tumor, most likely malignant osteosarcoma. And with osteosarcoma, amputation is usually the best possible option to give the dog any chance of eliminating the cancer.
    The way I see it, the outcome (amputation) for Harley was inevitable, whether he was dropped or not at Petco. Which does not mean that I think it was horribly negligent for Petco to allow this dog to be dropped!! But it doesn’t make them responsible for the fact that he had bone cancer.

  4. Jodie says:

    I agree with Sundown. Petco was obviously negligent in dropping the dog (and should pay for that); however, the leg would’ve broken, eventually, from the tumor. And $4000 for a leg amputation is outrageous!! I had my cat’s hind leg amputated (10+ yrs ago) for $500.

  5. Michelle says:

    I’ve been hearing so many horrible stories about petco and petsmart, you can be sure that i’ll never bring my pets there… and yes I do agree with both sundown and jodie, and even though it isn’t petco’s fault for the fact that Harley has bone cancer, I still think they should pay for the leg amputation.

  6. mikken says:

    How long did this dog stand around with a broken leg is what I want to know?

    Sounds like it broke and they left him like that without any medical care until she came to pick him up - is that possible?

    Yes, accidents happen (and why are they trying to lift a Rottie up onto any surface in the first place?) and yes the dog had a pre-existing condition, but to leave a dog standing around with an obviously broken leg is very not cool in my book.

  7. Cheryl says:

    This is one of those situations where no answer will be exactly right. Petco needs better procedures for dog handling and emergency handling. But!!! if that tumor was cancerous - this is a fortuitous event. She might not have known about it until it was too late. This may have added years onto his life.

  8. G in INdiana says:

    Looking on the bright side (if there is one) perhaps this breakage saved the dogs life in the long run. Who knows how long he would have been “okay” with the tumor until it was too late for amputation to save his life?
    Petco should pay up for the vet bills, ALL of them, but not for the amputation.

  9. Merlin Marshall says:

    I agree with Cheryl and G, PetCo shouldn’t have dropped the dog and should have called the owner right away when it was obvious there was a problem. On the other hand, the break was fortunate in that it brought attention to the bone cancer, so that the leg could be amputated before the cancer spread to the point it was too late do do anything.

    Petco should pay part of the vet bills, but I don’t think they should have to pay all of them because of the cancer.

  10. louisa says:

    It was a lucky break, in a way. However, I remember a case from Law School where a child who had a pre-existing condition was injured on the playground. The rule of law is that pre-existing conditions are not a way out for the Defendant. He is stili responsible for the inflicted injuries. Petco should legally pay the whole tab.

    I don’t go to Petco,anyway.

  11. Katie says:

    My God! the dog has a broken leg - dogs can be very stoic about pain! How could they just let him go along without immeadiately contacting a vet and having it looked at. I don’t care if there was a tumor there and it eventually may have broken but to ignore the break, let the dog sit there until the owner comes to pick him up -

    Petco, Petsmart - seems like they are having many problems lately. I knew there was a reason why I haven’t shopped at either place since the end of March. And, if I ever needed my dog groomed ( I do it myself now) I’d search out a responsible vet clinic that provided the service.


  12. Lynn says:

    Presumably this tumor was a new finding after the Petco incident. If the owner had known about the tumor BEFORE she took her dog to the groomer and didn’t warn the groomer to handle very, very carefully….there might be some liability on the part of the owner.

    But it sounds like the tumor was a new finding. In either case, Petco appears to be wholly liable for amounts related to the normal treatment of a broken leg. As far as the amputation….that should be born by the owner.

    That said, I would never take my pet to be groomed without standing and watching the process. And, quite frankly, with all the bad press about Petco and PetSmart lately, I would cross them off my list.

    Remember, most places are going to hire very cheap labor to do the bathing, so you can almost bet that the animal won’t receive the TLC that a real pet lover would give it.

  13. jbtrfly1206 says:

    As a former Petco employee (bather), I can tell you first hand how Petco feels about the animals, they could care less…It’s about the $$$…I worked there for about a month and a half, part time…I did it because I adore animals, not because of money…I’m in school to be a Vet. Tech. and thought it would be a great experience to handle the animals myself…Bathers, like myself were allowed to “groom” dogs (groomers must be licensed, bathers do not)…I saw dogs left in cages with urine…If the owner didn’t come for the dog within a reasonable time, the dog stayed in the cage with the urine or until someone “noticed” the urine…The only time the dog was taken out immediately is when it pooped in the cage and someone saw it…They claim to clean the cages after each dog…This is NOT true…It’s about production, because you get a commission for each dog…I usually worked the evenings and closed the shop…I was the one that CLEANED the cages, sinks, floors, dryers, etc…The shop opened at 8am…I usually came in from 3pm to 7pm…I cleaned everything between 5 and 7pm…I would ask that they not schedule dogs for bathing after 5, because I didn’t have time to bath the dogs and clean the shop…Well, production won out over cleaning…As for me personally, I bathed Rottweillers, and other large dogs…I bathed, brushed them out, did their nails and teeth using the floor shower…A breed of that size should not be picked up…To shorten this…I will say, after working at Petco for the short time I did, I would NEVER take my dogs there for any reason…I won’t even buy supplies from them now, and I tell all my friends not to buy anything from Petco…I can’t speak for Petsmart, because I don’t know, but I’m sure they must be the same….The one positive I got from Petco, is that by watching and listening, I now know how to groom my Yorkies myself, and I bought all the correct tools to do so, including some books…

  14. Rose says:

    This will cost Petco, everyone who reads it and forwards will not ever go to Petco.

  15. Mike S. says:

    I would like to point out two things from an objective point of view.

    1) Just because this happened and one Petco, it doesn’t mean all Petco’s are bad. I think it depends on who the store manager is. If the manager is someone who cares about the animals then I don’t think you’re going to have these types of problems. Unfortunately, I suspect that most managers and employees only care about money, as most people do.

    2) Even if you take your pet to a small, locally owned groomer or even a veterinarian, it doesn’t mean the same thing won’t happen there. In every case it depends on the employees and the manager.

    Heck, even people doctors and hospitals are just as bad with their patients. My grandmother went to the hospital a couple years ago for a procedure. The nurses and other staff failed to properly do their jobs and she developed a severe infection. Just recently, they scratched her eyes during an emergency exam and now she’s temporarily blind from that.

    People nowadays are stupid, careless, and lazy, and it’s only getting worse. Follow my lead and just assume that everyone you do business with or come in contact with is a dishonest, careless, moron, it’ll save you a lot of trouble in the end.

  16. Lynn says:

    Mike S has a valid point. People [i.e., management] need to be accountable, and it’s up to all of us to make sure the real person in charge is apprised of the situation AND that he sets a date when the problem will be resolved. And WE need to follow up and act as quality control and if the job isn’t done as expected, go higher up the food chain.

    People need to speak up AND stop shopping at places where service is not up to par.

  17. Matt Campbell says:

    hii, this is my dog and i thank all of you for reading this but petco left my dog soaking wet in a cage for 2 hours and then called us. this is a problem and everyone here knows it. i mean yes there was a tumor and my family didnt know about it but the fact that petco wont pay for it after they signed the bills to pay for everything, until they found out it would cost more and then they denied dropping him and everything. petco called their ensurrance company and told them a different story saying my dog jumped out of the tub while the guy was calling for someone to help him but the groomer told me and my mother and the vet to our faces that the boy there dropped him. i say fuck petco, seriously, if petco wants to be dicks about it and not pay for the pain and suffereing my dog has to go threw and i mean its rediculous. they should pay for all the bills no matter what, even the amputation. well everyone who needs anything answered from my family email us at mag29610@aol.com. or if you have a screen name on AIM, my sn is mag29610. my family would love to answer any of your questions and have your support. also email me if you want to see pictures of my dog now, after the amputation and see what i mean when i say he has to go threw pain and suffering. thank you, matt campbell.

  18. Matt Campbell says:

    hii, this is my dog and i thank all of you for reading this but petco left my dog soaking wet in a cage for 2 hours and then called us. this is a problem and everyone here knows it. i mean yes there was a tumor and my family didnt know about it but the fact that petco wont pay for it after they signed the bills to pay for everything, until they found out it would cost more and then they denied dropping him and everything. petco called their ensurrance company and told them a different story saying my dog jumped out of the tub while the guy was calling for someone to help him but the groomer told me and my mother and the vet to our faces that the boy there dropped him. i say fuck petco, seriously, if petco wants to be dicks about it and not pay for the pain and suffereing my dog has to go threw and i mean its rediculous. they should pay for all the bills no matter what, even the amputation. well everyone who needs anything answered from my family email us at mag29610@aol.com. or if you have a screen name on AIM, my sn is mag29610. my family would love to answer any of your questions and have your support. also email me if you want to see pictures of my dog now, after the amputation and see what i mean when i say he has to go threw pain and suffering. thank you, matt campbell.

  19. Strawberry says:

    hi, i agree that the groomers there were incompetant and wrong and there is no excuse for not calling the vet right away. . Accidents happen, but even so the people shouldn’t have let the dog sit there with a broken leg. I also want to say that I am a Petco groomer in WI and I take great care with every animal as do all the people I work with and we would never have done that. I want to say don’t write off all Petco’s because of one dumbass. I am so sorry for the happening and i would love to kick this person’s ass.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I love how people generalize one entire corporation due to the negligence of one person. It was wrong if they didn’t immediately contact a vet, and this must be a bad store with bad employees, because the Petco in my town is very good about anything like this. As a matter of fact, the Petco here seems to be staffed with knowledgeable folks who really do care. There are totally idiotic people working everything, I’m sure we all work with someone who make out whole company look bad if they were showcased. Overall, I still can’t figure out how you pick up and drop a full grown rottweiler, it’s not like it’s a small terrier. It is unsure how this all went down, but you cannot dismiss an entire company for one person’s idiotic behavior. I hope the dog is well now and it’s sad they didn’t know about this tumor either.

  21. groomer girl says:

    Please Please do not criticize all Petco groomers. Yes, there are some incompetent people who shouldn’t be grooming! I personally am a groomer for Petco. What I have seen from Petco compared to privately owned salons, I would rather take my dog to a corporate owned company. From my experience grooming, I would never try to lift a dog that weighs over 50 pounds by myself. At our salon we groom big dogs on the floor so we can prevent injury. There’s a ramp that leads into the tub which should of been used. I feel this person was indeed not using proper lifting and safety techniques {more than 2 people lifting and handling a dog of that size} I am glad the dog is allright, but yes it could of definitely been easily prevented. Petco payed the bill as they should of, but this should be a lesson to all groomers out there.

  22. loose goose says:

    I have worked as a groomer for Petco for 2 months now and hate it! No wonder this injury happened with the number of dogs they expect you to groom per day. I like to be able to take my time and get to know the dog before I start their hair cut. I feel I don’t have this time because I am being rushed to finish so they will be done on time. They teach you to go slow and learn as much about the dog as you can before you start grooming them. lately I feel this is all about comission and sales goals for the day. I can’t wait till my year committment is up with them so I can start my own business. I can definitely see how this could of happpened due to how Petco puts more emphasis on the time frame of the groom and not the care and compassion foethe dogs. But since I have agreed that since they sent me to school I am obligated to fulfill my contract or be out 5 grand for classes!! I still do my own thing in the salon regardless of what their standards are!!!!

  23. bonnie says:

    Today is December 18, 2008. I went ot Petco to by some treats for my dog. I happened to wlk past the big window to the grooming area. Just out of curiosity, i watched for a few minutes. There was a young man grooming a tiny white toy poodle.I stood there and watched how he was shaving this dog. To me,(I am not a professional groomer) it looked as if this groomer was handling this small dog a little too rough. The dog started to pull away from him,so, he grabbed the dog by the neck(the dog was already being restrained by the lead on the grooming table)pressed his thumb into the throat of this tiny dog to make him keep still. It was obvious that the dog was struggling to breathe. The groomer then proceeded to shave the dog by his front left shoulder blade and I saw him dig this clipper into that dog and the dog jumped and I saw that the dog immediatelt started to bleed. I went over to the cashier and asked for the manager and told her that the groomer was abusing that dog. While I was telling her what I had just witnessed, we both heard a loud cry from the grooming area. All she said was sorry I had to see it. I was so upset, I immediately called the SPCA and reported what was going on there. The manager of the store then came up to me and said “let’s talk about this before you make any phone calls.” I told him he needed to immediately stop the groomer from continuing what he was doing and that I had already called the SPCA. Petco needs to be shut down. I do not know why they haven”t been put out of business yet. They have had thousands of complaints nationwide since they have opened. I will never purchase from Petco. I will tell anyone and everyone not to patronize that establishment.

  24. Kristin says:

    I am sorry to hear about your poor dog. That place is a disgrace. I took my Himalayan there for a bath and brush out. I picked him up and on the ride home noticed he was squinting his eye. I immediately called the groomer to ask what happened to him. She said for me to bring him back and she would take a look. I did as she asked but when I got there she told me his eye was just irriated from her cleaning it. She said it would be fine in a couple of days. Three days later his eye was still swollen and his third eyelid was showing. I took him to the vet today and they told me he was in fact hurt. He had a noticeable mark on his eye that could have been from them letting shampoo get into his eye, poking it with their finger, hitting him on something in the salon…Who really knows? They said it could have been numerous things. I was given some ointment which they are hoping clears it up. Not only did they hurt him but they also did not groom him. His ears had wax in them. I believe they wiped the outsides of his ears thinking I would not look inside. They also did not brush out knots from his coat. His nose had snot hanging from it which they told me was the pigment of his skin. I showed them on my finger that it came off. They had nothing to say. I feel so bad for my poor kitty who can barely see now. Please anyone reading this DO NOT TAKE YOUR PET TO ANY OF THE GROOMING SALONS AT PETCO. Those people can not be trusted. They do not care about your babies and will mistreat your animal!

  25. Anonymous says:

    eye injury, our six year old sheih-tzu, was brought to petco in Dayville, Connecticut for grooming, we dropped him off at 10:00am and called at noon to see if he was ready, they told us he was not. We returned at 1:15 and picked him up. Immediately we recognized a problem… he was anxious and couldn’t wait to get out of there. A few hours later we noticed fluid around his eye. The next day the condition worsened, it became apparent that something happened to him. We started giving him a antibiotic but it didn’t help so we saw our vet the next day. He gave us several prescriptions and made an appt. with a specialist. we saw the specialist today and were informed that the eye was punctured and later tthe eye ruptured. this was the first time we had him groomed by someone else. The regular groomer nicknamed him the squirmmer because he is restless, the petco person said he stood still. Our dog lost his sight beecausee of there negligence. I will never buy another thing from this company… we called to tell them that we were seeing a specialist and they didn’t even return our call, BASTARDS.Any support here would help, we plan to file suit, protest at the store , whatever it takes….

  26. SaneSally says:

    I don’t understand why people don’t get that every professional groomer has cut a dog at least once. I’ve been grooming for 12 years and I’ve seen some accidents happen. When I was at a large grooming conference in Kansas City, and one of the most popular groomers in the US was demonstrating on grooming a terrier, she actually cut the tip of the dogs nose off. This woman is all over pet grooming magazines, she has competed all over the world in grooming and she even has her own equipment that is sold from a major grooming supply company. People pay hundreds to get this lady to groom their dogs! Stuff happens! Sometimes a dog zigs when its groomer zags. I don’t understand how you can think that your groomer hasn’t ever cut a dog. I bet you my life that the best groomers have lopped off a pad or nicked a nipple or even cut a nail too close. It happens! I mean, why don’t you groom your dog? Is it because of your fear of hurting your pet or cutting it? Because your pet goes crazy when you try to put clippers next to it or it screams when you hold it’s foot and throws a fit? Groomer are brave enough and have the training to deal with those issues. Most of the time we can deal with moving targets but sometimes, people miss and that’s when accidents happen. And I’m not saying this because I cut dogs on a regular basis. In my 12 years, I’d have to say I’ve only cut 3. And that’s great considering I groom at least 7 dogs a day 5 times a week. Put that with 12 months and that’s a lot of dogs that I haven’t cut! Honestly, banning a whole corporation of stores across the US because of one groomers stupid mistake? Well, I’m going to start banning all churches because of all the kids that got molested by priests…oh wait…not all priests are bad huh? Well then I’m going to start banning all hospitals because of all the people that have got misdiagnosed by a doctor at my hospital! Wait…not all doctors are idiots. Hm mm…I’m going to ban my kids school district because he broke his arm while he was acting a fool in the hallway and not listening. I mean really! Seriously people! And also, groomers are not wizards. Some groomers take a little longer to groom their dogs than others. Just because it takes a couple of minutes for you to get your hair cut doesn’t mean that it’s going to take your Shih Tzu a magical amount of time to get bathed and clipped. So my advice to everyone that is complaining about Petco and this mishap and are banning it because of this persons or your own personal experience, just ban all grooming salons. Because every grooming salon has it’s own story. EVERY SALON. Whether it is Petco, Petsmart, Bob and Bruno’s Grooming down the street…they all have had something happen. You would be better off if you just bought your own clippers and grooming supplies and groomed your pet at home. That way if you cut your pet or poked his eye out because of an accident, you don’t have anyone to blame and but yourself. I love grooming pets. Don’t get me wrong. But geeze, some owners don’t have lick of common sense! Their pets are more smarter than they are!

  27. nanci says:

    I was actually just trying to find a copy of the grooming school contract, (and if anyone has one for petsmart, please email it to johnson.nanci@gmail.com) but I’ve got to
    say, having had many, many years in dogs, (grooming, training & vet tech for over 30 years!) only dogs that get held can get dropped!

    You can drop a chihuahua or a shitzu or
    a miniature schnauzer or poodle, a cocker, yorkie, maltese, pom, or any number of small breed dogs, but the odds of “dropping” a rottie are pretty darn slim!

    Logic tells you that an untrained, ill-mannered, unruly dog jumped off the
    table & some poor guilt-ridden little girl took the blame.

    That part of the grooming agreement where they ask if your pet has any health or behavioral issues? Yeah, fill it out honestly!!!

  28. Samantha G says:

    I was a groomer at Petco for 3 months. It was the longest 3 months of my life. The grooming manager I had to deal with was an idiot and had absolutely no experience. She had graduated from a local grooming school only a few months before lieing her way into the job. It was like working with someone from the cast of Deliverance. Her english was awful, her manners were terrible and all she cared about is how many dogs we could crank through there every day so she wouldn’t get in trouble. It didn’t matter what kind of cut the customer wanted, she shaved everything down with a #10 blade which is very, very dangerous. I can’t tell you the number of dogs she cut! She’d call the owners and tell them their dogs were matted and had to be shaved down, whether they were or not! She said we didn’t have time to dry them and brush them out, so just shave them all down! For the dogs that were difficult to deal with, she’d take them in the back away from the windows and the cameras and literally let them hang by the neck until they were quiet! It was horrible! I went to the General Manager and he told me I was over reacting! I couldn’t take the abuse of the dogs any longer and walked out! This isn’t the 1st Petco I’d heard this about, as one of the other stores’ groomers all laughed about how they had to do that sometimes! AWFUL — just terrible! I now work with a private salon where we treat animals with care and dignity! DON’T GO TO PETCO!

  29. bobbi j says:

    I too work for Petco as a groomer for about 4 years now. The problems I see lie with the corporation itself. They hire people that have no experience with pets, they take these people off of the streets and expect them to be groomers with little or no training. They got a bargain with me because I have over 20 yrs dog handling exp.with maybe only 2 -3 minor incidents over the last 4 years. I am beginning to hate it there and am thinking of leaving permanently. I bust my hump every day to make them money, and they never pay me what they owe me. As far as I am concerned it is only a matter of time until they sink into the pit.

  30. Common Sense says:

    1. To judge an entire chain by a few bad stories is ridiculous. Remember, only the bad experiences make the news, although in reality they are vastly outnumbered by average and good experiences. Nobody is going to read a story about a groom where everything went well.
    2. Bad stores/employees exist in EVERY large chain, but they aren’t all bad. Don’t be ignorant; judge each individually.
    3. Don’t be too quick to blame groomers for everything that happens in the salon. Grooming is not easy. Dogs do not generally like to sit still, and sometimes they are even aggressive toward the groomers. Many of the accidents that occur in a grooming salon are the result of an unruly dog. While groomers are trained to deal with such unruly dogs (and most of the time they can avoid accidents), they cannot be blamed every time something goes wrong.
    4. (I realize the owners didn’t know about the tumor in this case, but I think it’s worth saying.) If your dog has a pre-existing condition, TELL YOUR GROOMER. They can cater to most conditions and take extra care with your dog. Occasionally, they will tell you they can’t groom your dog. While this is inconvenient, it is for the safety of both the dog and the groomer.
    5. Even the best groomers make mistakes. It is completely reasonable to expect that everything will go well, but if you take your dog anywhere to be groomed, there is always a small chance that an accident could happen.

  31. MaiasOwner says:


    also a sad story, this one from petssmart (misspelled for copyright reasons)

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