Political Animal

Another dog dies at the hands of Petco groomer

Skip died during a routine grooming at a Napa Petco.

Yet another dog has died at a routine grooming session at a Petco store. Joe and Cynthia Eaton took their Jack Russell terrier, Skip, to a Petco in Napa on Dec. 30, 2015, after employees told them about a special promotion. Less than an hour later, the Eatons received a call from Petco instructing them to go to the Silverado Veterinary Hospital because there had been an emergency. Upon arriving, the couple learned that their beloved 14-year-old dog was dead.

According to the Eatons, Petco’s manager was at the hospital and told them that the groomer left Skip unattended for “about five minutes,” and when she returned he was “unresponsive.” Like in so many cases involving Petco, the employee had Skip in a slip lead — a commonly used restraining leash that any responsible groomer will say a dog should never be left alone in. Petco paid for Skip’s expenses but still takes no responsibility for his death. Joe Eaton created a Facebook support group called “My Dog Skip,” where an anonymous source “with knowledge of the situation” contacted the Eatons with what has become an all-too-common scenario at Petco stores nationwide: Skip was hanged after being left at the washing station unattended. The source claims at least one manager and multiple employees were aware of what had happened, but none have come forward.

Marina resident Hannah Hartman, whose Shih Tzu, Joey, escaped a routine grooming at a Novato-based Petco with a dislocated hip, has been trying to gain the attention of California Senator Mark Leno for nearly a year, hoping he would sponsor the revival of Senate Bill 969 (also called Lucy’s Law for a dog badly maimed by a groomer). Lawmakers voted down the original bill, which would require vocational licenses for California pet groomers, in 2012. “Not only have I not heard a word from Senator Leno’s office since my single phone conversation with his legislative assistant, Sunday Balalis, on Sept. 16, 2015, but now another dog has died,” Hartman says.

Let Senator Mark Leno (415-557-1300 or [email protected]) know that you support Lucy’s Law.

Bill would give dogs from fighting rings chance at loving homes

Kudos to Assembly members Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park) and Brian Maienschein (R-San Diego), who have introduced legislation to give dogs seized in connection with dog fighting rings a second chance at life. Under current law, all dogs seized in connection with animal fighting cases are automatically labeled “vicious” and customarily euthanized. The seized animals often include dogs directly involved in training and fighting, breeding dogs, puppies, “bait dogs,” and stolen pets.

AB 1825 would ensure that professionals individually evaluate these dogs to determine whether they can be rehabilitated and safely reenter society or be placed with sanctuaries. “These dogs weren’t born vicious,” said Gordon. “Criminals trained them to fight for entertainment and illegal gambling. This law would give these abused dogs a chance to live a peaceful life in a loving home.”

The only good thing that came out of NFL star Michael Vick’s dog-fighting conviction was the attention it brought to the plight of the animals involved. Evaluators found that only one of the nearly 50 dogs seized was too far gone to save; the others were successfully adopted or placed with a sanctuary; many happily live in homes with children, cats, and other dogs. California is one of only 12 remaining states that mandates dogs rescued from fighting rings be deemed vicious. This bill will give these victims of cruelty a chance at the happiness every formerly abused dog deserves.

Please thank Assemblymen Rich Gordon (916-319-2024, and Brian Maienschein (916-319-2077, for their continued support of animal welfare legislation.

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