Third dog dies after PetSmart grooming within 4 months

In Toms River, New Jersey, the owner of a corgi is devastated after his dog’s death allegedly being blamed on PetSmart. Chuck Crawford, 76, Abby’s owner, dropped his beloved pet off with his other corgi named Harley, on March 29 at the Toms River PetSmart to be groomed at 8:00 a.m. At 9:45 a.m., the phone rang; Abbey had died.

According to The Patch, Abby is the third dog who has died while at one of the company’s stores since late December.

“I thought they were calling to tell me they were ready,” Crawford stated. “It was a 20-second phone call. It was so crude and beyond comprehension. To take your pet for a grooming, and then have them die? That is the absolute worst thing…”

Instead, the woman at the store told the pet owner his dog had died and for him to come and pick up her body.

PetSmart has since issued a statement:

“We are deeply saddened by Abby’s passing, and we are in constant contact with her pet parent during this very difficult time. An internal review was conducted to help us better understand the timeline of events and what happened. We do not, however, have access to the results of the necropsy, which would likely help clarify the circumstances which caused Abby’s unfortunate passing and potentially reveal any pre-existing conditions.”

According to, Crawford took Abby’s frozen body to the Animal Health Diagnostic Lab in Ewing to have the necropsy.  Those results could take a month.

Abbey was eight-years-old and had recently been vet checked and was deemed healthy. Harley, 10, has been diagnosed with cancer and has only been given a few months to live.

PetSmart has 48 locations in New Jersey and 1,500 nation wide. Three months ago, a bulldog named Scruffles died while being groomed at the Flemington PetSmart store. Just days before, a dog named Ranger died while being groomed.

(Photos of dog who died at PetSmart via Facebook)

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16 replies
  1. Gizmos Mommy says:

    This is why I use a mobile groomer. I refuse to leave my dogs in a place where I would have to wear a couple hours. I had a groomer in the PetSmart in Lake Havasu City Arizona who would groom Tanzy, my 2-pound long haired Chihuahua while I waited. I refused to leave him because of his tiny size. But do NOT leave your dogs – ever. Get a mobile groomer. So you’ll pay a few dollars for travel or gas. It’s a hell of a lot better than leaving your dog where you don’t know what’s going to happen.

  2. Gens says:

    Mobile dog groomers are the best way to get your dog groomed. The dog is groomed on your property so you can check ANYTIME on your pet. Most grooming places want to keep your dog caged for hours .

  3. Sue says:

    This is why, if you care about your dog or cat, you don’t “drop them off” with any groomer you don’t know as well as you know yourself. I made sure to stay with my dogs, and if that was not allowed, I moved on. If I didn’t like what I saw at a grooming parlor while staying with my dogs, I moved on again. When I finally found the perfect one, I stayed several times until I KNEW that it was OK to leave my dogs with the groomer I finally chose.

  4. Pamela Bolton says:

    Someone needs to supervise this whole process There is NO reason for these dogs to be dying from a simple bath and hair cut. Be accountable. These are family members!!

  5. Adrienne says:

    PetSmart should stick to selling non living item, foods, treats,and other similar items. They should not be allowed to groom in any manner, a living animal. Less than 2 hours later, this poor dog died. It was the other dog that had cancer and a short time to live,not this dog. Hope the necropsy shows a hidden problem or else PetSmart definitely needs to end their grooming departments. Not worth the chance of this happening again.

    • Lynnette Zupko says:

      I don’t have a webpage, but wanted tp comment on these poor dogs! I adopted my sweet dog Molly 7 years ago at Pet Smart, Brick, N.J. I pay a monthly plan for the Banfield Hospital, I use the grooming service, but pay an extra $11.00 fee to have one person handle her and she is done while I wait for her 45 minutes. I also purchase all her food, medical supplies, toys, etc. Not anymore! I’m done and thank you everyone who posted….you might have saved my dogs life. Thank you!!!!

  6. Barkley's Mom says:

    Nobody that takes their pet to a groomer, expects to get a call that their pet has died during the grooming. Mr Crawford deserves an explanation as to what happened and not just a 20 second phone call telling him his dog is dead! This is becoming too common place, pet’s losing their lives being groomed at PetSmart is happening much too often and it would seem they should get out of the business if they can’t take proper care of the dogs entrusted to them for bathing and nail clipping. I hope they get to the bottom of this, and I hope Mr Crawford is able to get some justice for Abby!

  7. Linda Patton says:

    Seems your always hearing about animals dying while being groomed at PetSmart (and PetCo). These stores obviously are not using proper grooming standards. I recall one puppy being burnt to death in the dryer, others being choked to death, etc., etc., etc. Groomers have beaten animals, thrown them against walls, onto floors… abused them horrifically. These places need to be shut down! The stores obviously don’t screen employees fully, they’re not monitored as they should be. All grooming practices must stop!!! Employees must be held accountable for their actions. The stores must stop covering up for them!!!

  8. Marni Montanez says:

    Most of the time it’s carelessness. A lot of store clerks, if left alone, are on their phone, checking texts. These places are a death trap for our dogs.

  9. susispot says:

    If the dogs in the photo are the dogs in question, they are obese. I don’t think either is a healthy weight. But that being said, RIP Abby. You should not have lost your life at a groomer. The results of the necropsy will be telling. I hope the results are shared with us as this Petsmart is already under the telescope. Consumers need to know of the dangers there.

  10. Nancy Raymond says:

    This is an ongoing problem with PetSmart – dogs have been injured, died and been mistreated by so called ‘groomers’ and PetSmart has done nothing to rectify this undeserved cruelty. PetSmart needs to wise up and end ALL grooming since they seem unable to hire qualified staff. I would never leave my dog anywhere to be groomed – stay w/your dog and observe the grooming practices. Your dog’s life is much more important than to be left with any groomer and PetSmart’s lip service w/their so called ‘apologies and condolences’ is way too little too late. Sue them, sue them, sue them. They need to be held responsible for their incompetence and irresponsibility.

  11. PAMELA D says:

    This goes to show you instead of dropping off the dogs owners need to stand there and watch. It is sad to say that there are many scumbags in the animal field that don’t really care for animals.


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