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A few Sundays ago, I took my tomcat to be groomed at a Pets R Us down the street from me in Glendale, CA. I had never done this before, however he is an older cat and I guess self grooming habits change, as he was developing quite a few clumps in his coat. It's usually nice and silky smooth.

Anyway I expected it to take a few hours, therefore I was surprised when they called me about an hour in. They were not telling me that he was finished. They were telling me that he had gone ballistic, and that they wanted me to pick him up in spite of the fact that he was only half finished. This surprised me. Spats is about 14 years of age, and has mellowed tremendously in his latter years. He does not "go off" without reason. Still, I'd never had him groomed before and assumed (unfortunately incorrectly) that was the reason for his anger.

When I got him home, he kept his distance. He would not really come near me. Not surprising - I assumed that he would not be happy with me for a while and I gave him space. It did not occur to me to look for trouble other than that. However, I started noticing him favoring his foot, but he would not let me get close enough to get a good look. Spats doesn't like me to touch his feet in the best of times - which this most definitely was not. When I finally got a good look I was horrified to see that he was missing a toe!

I got him to the vet who confirmed that he had been manhandled. He said that it appeared the groomer struggled with him, and (I initially thought cut) ripped out the entire nail, pad, etc, leaving exposed flesh. Not to be glib, but color me horrified. :evil:

I called the place, and they of course denied all culpibility. They even threw ridiculous accusations around before hanging up on me altogether.

I also called Pasadena Animal Control, and they blew me off. I was pretty much told that accidents happen. Understood, but what if this wasn't an accident? What if these people do this often? I don't want another innocent animal to go through what my Spats did! No investigation or anything, just "accidents happen?" That just seems a little casual to me.

I mean, is there is no procedure for dealing with this type of cruelty? I understand if it was an accident, however I don't know how that could be discovered by doing nothing. What if it wasn't an accident? What if it was sadistic cruelty? What if it was ongoing negligence which is just as bad?

I have to admit, I am just as horrified by that "non-response", as I am that it happened at all! I'd really like to get the word out and expose these people, but haven't had a lot of success so far. I don't want this to happen to another animal.

I'd appreciate any guidance that you can give.
 

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First, I am sorry that Spats had a terrible experience and was injured.

However, you took an aged cat who was set in his ways to an unfamiliar place, filled with noise and other strange animals for a completely objectionable (to him) experience. I can't say I blame him for struggling and possibly getting injured in the process. To have a toe ripped out requires a lot of force or torque. Not something I would expect a person to be able to do unless they had ahold of him with a pair of pliers and were hanging on for dear life.
I wonder if they put him in a cage and he got his toe caught in the door grill?

It still doesn't make their handling of the situation (accusations and hanging up) right. If the cat were injured there, certainly they knew about it because I'm sure he would have bled copiously. I think it was wrong of them to release him to you and not tell you about his injury. That certainly looks like negligence to me.
I don't know how best to handle this, possibly speak to the owner/manager as Smir suggested. Keep your cool, have your facts handy and don't let emotion get the better of you. Have an idea of the resolution you would like, such as they pay for half or all (preferably) of Spats' vet bill for his injured foot.
 

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I concur with Heidi's advice. Until you know for sure it wasn't accidental, it's too early to be calling the authorities. Doing that will just make them more defensive and they'll clam up and not tell you what happened. If you handle this the way she suggests, you might get some satisfaction and the employee(s) who made the bad judgments may get some sort of punishment. They need to be responsible for the care of animals left with them. They have insurance for this sort of thing.
 

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If you call back and get the same response, I would try to take it to corporate. If the store gets pressure from corporate, they might at least tell you what happened. Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for responding. Spats is fine. I got him to my vet who said it looked as if he was manhandled. (I know: Grrr! :evil: ) Anyway, between antibiotics, the cone that he had to wear for 7 days to keep him from licking it, the antiseptic and the balm, he is toeless, but pretty much good as new. As for those horrible groomers, the best I could do was get them with a black mark with the BBB. Hopefully next time around someone else will learn from my misfortune, and thoroughly research anyone they use for a service such as this. I'm just so sorry that my little pooka had to suffer.
 

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This is HORRIBLE, Chigirl! 8O And to think that the only satisfaction you could get from them is a black mark with the BBB! I'd take them to Small Claims Court, if I were you. :?
 
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