Is Your Dog Safe at the Groomer? Pup Has Tail Amputated After Rough Handling

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For some dogs, a trip to the groomer can be a miserable experience. 

Many hate getting bathed and brushed, but what some groomers do to get the pets to cooperate might horrify their owners. 

Army veteran Rick McGuire knows this firsthand. His German shepherd, a service dog named TT, was allegedly handled so roughly by a groomer in Satellite Beach, Florida, in February her tail had to be amputated. 

"She was abused," McGuire told Inside Edition's Chief Investigative Correspondent Lisa Guerrero. "To have this happen was just horrific."

Video shows the groomer, identified by police as James Suthann, twisting the pup's tail to get her to cooperate during a bath.

Suthann was arrested and charged with animal cruelty in the incident. He has pleaded not guilty. 

Guerrero caught up with Suthann in a bar parking lot. 

"I'd like to ask you about the dog you're accused of abusing when you were grooming it," she said. "Did you abuse TT — sir, did you abuse that dog?"

Suthann kept walking to his car and got in and drove off. 

McGuire said TT has not been the same since the incident. "There is no forgiving what happened," he said.

He's not alone. Lynda Ciesla said video shows her Shih Tzu Rookie's head getting slammed into a table while he was being groomed at a Tampa pet salon.

"I was devastated," Ciesla said. 

She said her vet told her that the force of the blow burst blood vessels in Rookie's eyes. 

The groomer, Joshua Allen Mitchell, was charged with animal cruelty, but the charge was later dismissed after he agreed to complete an intervention program, a fact that shocked Ciesla. 

"I told the prosecutor I don't care what else happens, I just don't want him working with animals," she said. 

But that's exactly what Inside Edition found him doing, 1,000 miles away in Texas, where he opened up a new grooming business called Bubbles and Biscuits. 

"We'd like to ask you about Rookie the dog you groomed in Florida," said Guerrero. 

He was pretty tight-lipped. 

"Do you think that you're safe around animals?" Guerrero asked.  

"I'm very safe but no comment," Mitchell replied.

"Rookie's owner says that you abused Rookie — what's your response to that?" she said. 

"No comment, thank you," Mitchell answered. 

Inside Edition showed the video to grooming expert Joey Villani, president of the World Dog Expo. The fault, he said, is not with the dog, but the people. 

"It's total abuse," Villani said. "It really is."

He added that even though some dogs may resist, groomers need to remain calm. 

"We can never lose our temper, no matter what, a groomer cannot lose their temper," he said. 

In general, there are no licensing requirements to be a groomer in the U.S., but some regions may require a grooming facility license. Experts said it's very important to always ask what previous training your groomer has.

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