Couple seeks answers in the death of family pet

BELLEVILLE, IL – A family is mourning the loss of their dog and they believe what happened at a Belleville Groomer is to blame.

"I want answers to what happened to my baby,” says Catherine Hess.

Last Wednesday, she took her dog Duchess to the Petsmart in Belleville for a bath and nail trim.

“When she gets her bath she turns into my diva dog. She prances, she’s happy, she feels good and she snowball white,” she explains.

Catherine and her husband George say they knew something was wrong when they got the call to pick up Duchess about an hour later, for what usually is a few hours appointment. They say she was still dingy, her tail was between her legs and she was panting heavily.

Hess says, “When I looked down at her paws, it looked like they took a pair of clippers and just twisted off her toenails.”

They took her to see Dr. Paul Davis who ran some blood work and said it all looked normal, but by Friday Catherine says Duchess had been up for almost 36 hours straight and she didn’t want to lay down so she took her back to Dr. Davis who took some x-rays.

He explains, “You can see the lung fields collapsed here. The lungs normally go all the way up to the margins in the chest cavity. “

He says Dutchess had a spontaneous pneumothorax, causing both of her lungs to collapse and ultimately she was euthanized.

This comes after a nine-month probe of Petsmart by NJ Advance Media where 47 other dogs died shortly after routine grooming’s, some after just a 15-minute nail trim.

“If somebody had said something they would never have been looking for a cold. He would’ve started with the x-rays to see what happen and let’s make sure it’s nothing serious, but it turned out to be something serious,” says George Hess.

“I did not find any extern all evidence of trauma on Duchess on a physical exam. There was no bruising.  We actually clipped her chest wall in preparation to begin to tap her chest and we saw no bruising,” says Dr. Davis.

Dr. Davis says a spontaneous pneumothorax which is not caused by trauma happens in about one in 10,000 cases.

A Petsmart spokesperson says that they believe the allegations are unfounded.