Bulldog Puppy Strangled Resulting in Lawsuit

Almost a year has passed since the death of a 4-month-old Bulldog Puppy who was allegedly strangled by PetSmart groomers.

The masters filed a lawsuit on this past Monday; and their attorney, Jill Ryther recollected the story. 


Rita, the bulldog was heading to PetSmart for a little bit of love and grooming. Everything was a-okay and routine. 

Rita, 4-month-old Bulldog

Two hours later, when Rita’s masters received a call- Rita was vomiting blood and needed the veterinarian’s attention. As quickly as they could, the masters entered the grooming room.

What they saw probably surprised them:

Rita was getting her ears cleaned, but desperately gasping for air. The PetSmart groomer responded to the situation  by stating that the breathing problems are common in Bulldogs.. “it’s nothing.”

The masters took Rita to an external pet clinic. An hour and 45- minutes later, Rita passed away.

They took Rita’s lifeless body back to PetSmart, where the employees later took to the Banfield Hospital (usually at the same location & building) to get a necropsy. The employees stated that Rita had died of natural causes, as stated in the lawsuit.

The masters went to obtain the necropsy reports themselves, the results were different. Rita was determined to suffer from strangling of her neck and even losing consciousness. CPR was tried on little Rita, but was not successful and actually pushed Rita’s trachea out 2 inches of where it’s supposed to be.


After all this had been said and done, PetSmart sent the masters a check for 2 thousand dollars to replace Rita and to agree not to sue…The masters did the opposite. After hiring Ryther as their lawyer, they sent PetSmart a letter stating that they do not accept the check-but the store had ignored the lawsuit, which is the reason why they’re filing the lawsuit.

PetSmart does not agree with the allegations and accounts of the masters:

The death of Rita, an English Bulldog puppy, is a tragic loss. Many of us at PetSmart are pet parents, and no words can express our deep sorrow for this family’s loss.
We take very seriously the trust placed in us by pet parents who each day leave their pets in our care. Nothing is more important than looking after the safety and well-being of pets as if they were our own. 
The facts as represented in the recently distributed press release by an attorney are not what we believe to be true relative to this unfortunate situation. As a practice, however, PetSmart does not comment on pending litigation.

whoah. What are your opinions on this? Would you take their money and get a new dog..or sue?

Masters vs. PetSmart?

Sources are from HERE | HERE | AND HERE


7 thoughts on “Bulldog Puppy Strangled Resulting in Lawsuit

  1. Having both owned an English Bulldog and living with a professional groomer… sue their asses off. Yes, bulldogs do have breathing problems – but they do not gasp for air. They snort and snore.

    The groomers obviously had no clue as to what they were doing. Probably an apprentise did the bathing and drying. This dog doesn’t need a professional trim, so a master groomer most likely wasn’t even present for this pup. The rookies were rough, and with Rita being a puppy, she wiggles and did not cooperate. They tightened up the neck loop to tight rather than trying to calm her down with soothing voices.

    And if they called the parents saying that the dog was vomiting blood… what the hell were they doing cleaning it’s ears???

    Completely handled inappropriately to the point of neglect. Sue them. And another lesson here… Pet Smart is fine for shopping, but please don’t ever groom your dog there. And for training, fine a nice local dog club where you’re with people who have raised, trained and showed dogs for probably most of their entire lives. Just use Pet Smart for shopping only.

    • Seriously! that’s what I thought…cleaning ears when they should have taken her straight to the vet-regardless of whether the masters were there or not (that’s just my opinion)

      I was reading through the comments on the news sites…many readers agree on what you’ve said. Also that PetSmart is where people usually retrieve their first grooming lessons..so they’re not the best.

      A friend of mine went to PetSmart for her dog, Martin…at the end of the day, his eye was bloodshot. Apparently, they had poked his eye with the scissor..did not handle it well either.

      • Pet Smart if where beginners go – and those who are not good enough to hold a job at a quality shop. I hear all kinds of horror stories on bad grooming jobs from Lyn – how someone took their dog there and the dog came home looking like it was groomed with a weed whacker.

        Like I said…. just shop there. Find services elsewhere – grooming and training.

  2. Poor puppy. What a tragic story! I would definitely sue, that is unacceptable and PetSmart should be shut down for as they obviously have incompetent staff. I recently heard of an owner returning from a holiday to find out that her dog that was kenneled had been killed. It turns out there was hole between two of the cages and the neighboring dog had pulled her through it and caused severe injury. Her poor pup was immediately treated by a vet but still died. How can anyone get over the loss of a much loved pet that they thought they were looking after by kenneling or taking to the groomers!

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