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Groomer in dog mix-up makes changes

Owner of Dogs, Etc. is taking new precautions

Posted: December 2, 2009 10:05 p.m.
Updated: December 3, 2009 4:55 a.m.
After a mix-up at a local pet groomer’s shop led to the disappearance and death of a woman’s dog, the business owner said she is taking new precautions to make sure it will never happen again.

“First and foremost, my heart aches for Jo Joshua and her family and the loss of her beloved dog Teddy Bear,” Bonny Butler, owner of Dogs, Etc. in Newhall, said in a written statement. “In my 22 years of providing grooming services to the residents of the Santa Clarita Valley, nothing even remotely like this has ever happened before ...”

She said in the statement she plans to start using a new check-out system.

On Nov. 25, shop employees mistakenly switched two similar-looking bichon frise dogs and gave them to the wrong owners, the statement said.

By the time one of the owners, Jo Joshua, realized the mistake, her dog had already run away from the other owner. The missing dog was found days later, dead by the train tracks, Joshua said.

Butler said she did what she could to help the family. She provided money for a $1,000 reward for the dog, set up a separate e-mail account with updates and information, scanned lost animal Web sites and called shelters and emergency veterinarian hospitals, according to the statement.

“From the moment I realized my shop was involved in this terrible incident, I took every possible step to make things right,” Butler wrote, adding that she even flew back early from her family’s Thanksgiving trip to Florida to help search for Teddy Bear.
Butler said she is implementing new steps at her shop that she hopes will prevent future mix-ups.

Employees will now make sure pet owners use sign-in and sign-out sheets and that pets without collars or tags wear wristbands. They also will receive additional staff training and will increase efforts to have pet owners confirm the identities of their pets, the statement said.

“We believe the additional check-and-balance system will ensure that this never happens to another one of our clients or their pets,” Butler wrote.


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