Dog Dies at Grooming Store in Michigan After Being Placed in Closet for Barking Too Much, Owners Say

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A 7-year-old dog in Michigan who was placed in a closet at the groomer’s, apparently because he was barking too much, died after chemicals spilled, his grief-stricken owners recently told a Detroit-area television station.

Dennis and Maureen St. Clair took their beloved rescue pet, named Max, for a routine grooming appointment at the Shaggy Dog Puppies and Supplies in Shelby Township last Thursday, WJBK reported.

The dog, a poodle and cocker spaniel mix, was healthy prior to be taken to the shop, according to the couple.

But when they hadn’t received a call to pick up Max, they became concerned, prompting Dennis St. Clair to drive down to the store.

“I saw the groomer, her name was Cindy, and she was coming out the back door with a dog wrapped in blankets and just soaking wet,” he told the television station. “And I looked and said, ‘Oh God, I hope it isn’t my dog. And it was Max, foaming at the mouth.”

The dog’s body was covered in chemical burns, and his fur — newly groomed — was falling out, he said. St. Clair rushed Max to the vet, where he later died.

“I was just hysterical,” Maureen St. Clair told WJBK. “My husband had to call me, and I feel worse for him because he had to see Max. And he was the best dog ever.”

The couple told the station that groomers told them that Max was placed in a utility closet because he was barking too much. The closet contained gallons of chemicals, which spilled while the dog was inside, according to the station.

“I can see if the dog is barking, put it in a room, fine,” Dennis said.  “But with chemicals? There shouldn’t be anything in that room. There’s no excuse for that.”

The St. Clairs have hired a lawyer and filed a police report. The case is the second brought against Shaggy Dog grooming involving a negligent dog death, their lawyer told the station.

The owner of the store called the couple to apologize and to offer them a new puppy, according to WJBK.

Since then, the business has halted its grooming operation, The Detroit News reported Tuesday.

“After … years of dedicated service, Shaggy Dog grooming will be closing its doors to future business,” read a statement obtained by the newspaper. “We apologize for the inconvenience to all of our loyal clients who have been bringing their dogs here for decades.”

As the couple awaits word on whether charges will be filed in the case, they say that Max’s death has been devastating for them.

“If you’ve had an animal, they’re part of your family,” Maureen said. “And that’s what Max was.”