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Cleveland dog owners claim groomer injured their dogs

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 11:32 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Some Cleveland pet owners are searching for answers after they claim a groomer returned their pups with cuts and other injuries.

“I did cry a couple of times just because I was so much in shock, and I just felt so bad that Bella has to go through something like this at her old age,” said Lauren Dill.

Cleveland dog owner Lauren Dill took her 13-year-old Great Pyrenees, Bella, to a new groomer last week.

“We wanted a bath, ear cleaning, nail trim,” explained Dill. “We did ask her to trim her fur for the summertime since she normally has very long fur. I thought we were all in agreement as to what we wanted to happen here. So, when I went to pick her up that day, I was, I think, shocked, to say the very least, to find out that Bella had not only been shaved down to her skin, she also had several lacerations all over her body which needed medical vet treatment that evening actually.”

Dill rushed Bella in for emergency vet care. She said she paid nearly $250 for injuries she claims were caused by Mimi Tina’s Grooming on Rocky River Drive in Cleveland.

They had made documentation’s that she had lacerations and open cuts most notably on her tail, several other places,” Dill said of her dog’s vet. “She ended up needing two medications for about two weeks.”

Dill reached out to the groomer the next morning.

“I just wanted to know what happened between our conversation and the end results, and she basically just stated that she did not injure my dog at all, she didn’t shave her at all, I was making things up to get free services from her, and that’s not how she operated her business.”

So, she took to her community Facebook group to share her story.

“It was pretty quick that I realized that Bella and I weren’t the only victims here,” Dill said. “Over the course of several days, I had maybe 15 people reach out to me stating that they had a very similar experience with shaving after not being asked to, injuries, followed by vet appointments, and her just being not accountable for anything that she did.”

Another couple told 19 News they took their golden doodle to Mimi Tina’s in November 2019, and their pup returned home with some minor cuts. When they took their dog back in January 2020, they claimed the dog came home with a major gauge on her cheek that quickly became infected.

Another woman who also wanted to be anonymous claims she took her long-haired shepherd in for grooming last November. She said a few days after she brought him home, she noticed his foot was swollen.

“So, I took him to the vet, and sure enough, he was missing a toenail,” she said.

From there, she said she discovered more cuts and injuries, all of which eventually developed into an infection. Eventually, she was told to see a specialist, but it would take six weeks to get an appointment.

“Well, he’s been suffering since November; this is February, and I thought I can’t do it anymore,” the woman said. “I said I know he’s suffering. He walks around the house just constantly panting. That’s the only thing he does, but I thought I can’t let him suffer anymore.”

So, she decided to put her pup down.

“Please at least clean what you’re using because I do believe that’s how this all started, dirty shavers and whatnot, and you know she knows if she’s cleaning or not, but yeah, I wouldn’t wish this on anybody,” she said.

After all of these pet owners reached out to 19 News claiming that Mimi Tina’s Grooming injured their dogs, we went to the business to get the owner’s side of the story.

“I’m not aware of any of them except for one, and I did not injure their dog,” said owner Tina Difini. “Their dog came in with a skin irritation condition already, and I told the people at the time if I cut this dog down the way you want me to cut it down, it will irritate the skin problem and bring it out. It’s an underlying condition, and they agreed upon it. I had them sign paperwork on it everything.”

Difini showed 19 News the paperwork where she documented the skin condition, but Dill maintains Bella didn’t have one.

“She claimed that this was allergies or a preexisting skin condition which there’s nothing on record from her home vet,” said Dill. “I have all of her records; this couldn’t be an allergy this is clearly the fact that you nicked her.”

Difini said she has been in business for over 20 years and admits animals occasionally get nicked during the grooming process.

“I medicate it,” Difini said. “I put medication on it. I tell the client. I even send the client home with medication.”

Difini’s daughter said pet owners have to sign a release stating that they understand the risks of grooming.

“After evaluating everything that had transpired, we feel it was a miscommunication between the mother and the father,” said Alexandra Lasko, who wants at her mother’s grooming business. “The dad, Andrew, who dropped the dog off, agreed to a shorter cut. We used a 7F instead of a 10 or a 30, which is a typical shave down.”

Dill filed a small claims suit against the business.

“I just wanted her to be aware that she was causing these injuries, and she was doing these, in my opinion, poor grooming jobs to several other people,” Dill said. “Just be accountable for what you did. I just want other people to know that they’re not alone in this, and if there is an experience, they had don’t be afraid to speak up about it because maybe she just doesn’t know.”

Difini says she feels like her business has been under attack and claims they have received negative reviews on social media from non-customers. Difini said she fully sanitizes all her equipment in between pets and even offered Dill’s dog a medicated bath which she declined.

Difini says they are more than willing to try to make things right with customers, but they can’t help them if they remain anonymous and don’t come forward.

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