Editor’s note: Some quotes have been translated from Spanish.
WARNING: Some footage in this article may be graphic.
MISSION, Texas (KVEO) — Laly Moreno dropped off two of her dogs at a Texas pet salon last month, but when her daughter picked up her Shitsu, Mia, she said she was shocked by what she found.
“He never told me it was something serious,” said Moreno. “I just thought she (Mia) was not in the mood or whatever.”
Moreno said Arturo Tapia, the owner of Flash Pet Salon & Hotel in Mission, called her on March 13 to say that Mia was being aggressive and they could not groom her, but Moreno said there was no mention of injury.
Moreno said Mia is now recovering from urgent eye surgery she needed after leaving the groomer.
“At least call me and say that this happened,” said Moreno. “I would have gone for my dog immediately.”
Moreno requested surveillance video from Tapia but was only given five seconds of video. Her niece decided to take it to Twitter. The one second of footage she posted gained attention.
In response to the video, Tapia said Mia was biting the employee’s glove and he was trying to get the dog to let go. Tapia added that neither he nor his business would ever intentionally harm an animal.
“In no moment did my employee’s hands strangle Mia like it is made out to be on social media,” Tapia said in a public statement on Facebook that he and his lawyer agreed to put out.
“I have a love for animals,” said Tapia. “All of the animals that are brought to me I treat with love as if they are my own dogs.”
The Mission Police Department said they are aware of the incident and are investigating.
“At this point, I did some research, there is no complaints against the business itself,” said Art Flores, Mission Police Department investigator.
Moreno took Mia to the vet on March 14, the day after the grooming incident.
“When I took her to the vet, the vet was like, ‘No, she needs emergency surgery or else she’s going to lose her eye,’” said Moreno.
Edward Adrian Sandoval, first assistant to the Cameron County district attorney, said abuse of a dog is punishable by law.
“It could be a misdemeanor, a class A misdemeanor and a fine, or a state jail felony, which is up to two years in state jail,” said Sandoval. “It could be what’s called a third-degree felony, which could result in 10 years in prison.”
The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals reviewed the surveillance footage and issued this statement:
Stories abound of dogs who were shoved, kicked, thrown, or outright killed in grooming salons, which is why PETA urges guardians to screen potential groomers thoroughly and always stay with their dogs—or, better yet, have them groomed at home.PETA Senior Director Stephanie Bell
Moreno said she has decided not to press charges, though she requested that Flash Pet Salon & Hotel pay the vet bill, which was over $800.
Tapia’s lawyer said there are no further comments from Tapia at this time, however, what happened to Mia at Flash Pet Salon & Hotel remains unknown.