Woman says PetSmart employees left dead dog at the vet “like garbage”

FLEMINGTON, N.J. — A New Jersey woman is heartbroken over the death of her bulldog, who she said died less than an hour after she dropped off the pup for a grooming appointment at a local PetSmart.

Danielle DiNapoli said her beloved pooch, Scruffles, was an 8-year-old, seemingly-healthy bulldog who she considered a member of the DiNapoli family.

“She was just a great, wonderful, lovable dog, she loved people, she loved being in our house, she loved family, she loved playing with the tub, she was just a beautiful joy,” an emotional DiNapoli told WPIX as she fought back tears.

It’s been 11 days since Scruffle's death, and DiNapoli still doesn’t know how or why her dog died.

“She’s so beautiful and, just reliving those moments, it’s a trauma," DiNapoli said.

DiNapoli dropped off Scruffles at 9:45 a.m. on Dec. 29 at PetSmart. She said, at 10:35 a.m., she was called by PetSmart and told to go to a nearby vet. When she arrived at the veterinarian’s office, Scruffles was dead. The vet said PetSmart employees dropped her off already deceased.

"I would not want any family to go through it, and the most horrifying thing is PetSmart left her there like trash," DiNapoli said. "They just left her there dead, no one was there to answer any questions, no one was there to give us any comfort, no one was there for anything. They just left her there like garbage, dead at the vet.”

DiNapoli said, since that fateful day, she has made numerous attempts to get answers from PetSmart to no avail.

DiNapoli said, after the company continued to refer her to corporate, saying only Scruffles' death is under internal investigation, she called the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"They said they had the final report and they gave us some verbal information, which none of it matched with the other two reports, everything changed,” DiNapoli said.

She started a Facebook page, "Justice for Scruffles," and was shocked when she said hundreds of people reached out to her with complaints about PetSmart. In one case, a woman from North Jersey claims her dog went to the same PetSmart in Flemington for grooming the same week as Scruffles. The dog owner said her pup died suddenly just days later.

PetSmart released the following statement on the investigation:

“We are truly saddened by the loss of Scruffles. We immediately conducted a comprehensive internal investigation and found the associates involved followed all policies and procedures consistent with care and services provided to breeds such as bulldogs. The outstanding piece of the investigation is the result of the necropsy report, which will likely assist in understanding the overall circumstances leading to Scruffles’ unfortunate passing. Our thoughts and sympathies remain with Scruffles’ family, and we continue to be in contact with them during this difficult time.”

It's of little comfort to the DiNapoli family.

“The reason why I’m speaking out today is because this is almost two weeks since my dog died. We were led to believe we would get a written report of the timeline of her death,” DiNapoli said.

DiNapoli also questions her lack of rights as a pet owner. She said she has asked to see any written documentation or report from PetSmart about the incident and has, thus far, been denied by the company.