Family searches for answers after dog dies at PetSmart grooming appointment

FLEMINGTON, New Jersey -- The DiNapoli family dropped their dog, Scruffles, at the Flemington, New Jersey, PetSmart on the morning of December 28; an hour later, Scruffles was dead.

Now the family wants answers, and we've learned it's not the only dog that died after a grooming at this location.

Scruffles, an English Bulldog, walked into the Flemington, NJ PetSmart a healthy, happy dog. A description echoed to Action News by the family's veterinarian.

Then Scruffles' owner Danielle DiNapoli said Petsmart called and said Scruffles was on the way to a Flemington vet hospital.

"They gave me the news that my baby was dead upon arrival," said Danielle DiNapoli of Lambertville, NJ, "[They] tried to do CPR but they couldn't bring her back."

DiNapoli claims no one from PetSmart was there to answer any questions or to say why her dog died.

"They dropped her off like a pizza," said DiNapoli. "They left her dead."

Action News has learned another dog, according to its owner, became lethargic while being groomed at the same location a week prior and collapsed and died two days later.

A third dog was reportedly injured there in late December.

On a Facebook page the DiNapoli's set up, 'Justice for Scruffles,' they and scores of others detail similar experiences at other PetSmart locations around the country.

The NJ Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is investigating. The family says investigators told them this:

"The information they gave him was my dog was in a dryer. You are not supposed to put bulldogs in there and he collapsed. That's what they told him."

PetSmart refused an on-camera interview. They did, however, release two statements acknowledging the incidents at the Flemington PetSmart. The company denied any wrongdoing.

The statements read, in part:

"Our policies and procedures were followed....we believe these incidents to be unrelated. Our thoughts remain with the pet parents during this difficult time."

The family just wants others to be aware of the incidents.

"It's just a terrible story," said Tom DiNapoli. "But we are just hoping other people don't have to deal with this."

A necropsy is being conducted on Scruffles.

The hope is when that is complete, the family might get the answers they want so badly.

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