Editor’s note: Some quotes have been translated from Spanish.
WARNING: Some footage in this article may be graphic.
MISSION, Texas (KVEO) — On March 13, Laly Moreno dropped off two of her dogs at Flash Pet Salon & Hotel in Mission, but when her daughter picked up her Shitsu, Mia, Moreno said her eye was popped out of its socket.
“He never told me it was something serious,” said Moreno. “I just thought she was not in the mood or whatever.”
Moreno said that the business owner Arturo Tapia, called her to say that Mia was being aggressive, and they could not groom her, but Moreno said there was no mention of injury.
“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, and her niece decided to take it to Twitter where she posted one second of the footage that gained attention.
“In no moment did my employee’s hands strangle Mia like it is made out to be on social media,” said Tapia.
Tapia said that in the video shared by Moreno’s niece, 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.
“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 that they are aware of the incident and are further investigating the situation.
“At this point, I did some research, there is no complaints against the business itself,” said Art Flores, Mission Police Department investigator.
Flores also said that although Mission police do not have an animal cruelty unit, they take cases of animal cruelty very seriously.
Moreno showed KVEO a veterinarian bill of March 14, the day after the incident. The bill is over $800 in expenses for an urgent eye surgery done at Mission Veterinarian Hospital.
“And 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.
Moreno said that even though she requested Flash Pet Salon & Hotel to pay the vet bill, she also asked to see the entire surveillance video, but Moreno said she received nothing.
Cameron County District Attorney’s office said that they take animal cruelty cases seriously, and the first assistant to the district attorney, Edward Adrian Sandoval, said that 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
Currently, Moreno said that Mia is in recovery and has decided not to press charges, though Sandoval said that the first steps would be to approach local law enforcement.
Tapia’s lawyer told KVEO that there are no further comments from Tapia at this time.
However, what happened to Mia at Flash Pet Salon & Hotel remains unknown.
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