Updated at the bottom with a statement from PetSmart. First posted at 1:38 p.m.

Hell hath no fury like the L.A. owners of a strangled puppy.

That, at least, is the story set forth in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court today against PetSmart.

The suit alleges that PetSmart employees not only strangled their beloved English bulldog pup Rita, but that …

… they then cremated the pooch without the owners' permission.

The suit alleges that the pooch was brought in for a simple grooming. According to a statement from the plaintiffs, they …



… brought their healthy and happy puppy to PetsMart for a grooming.

Shortly after dropping her off, they received a call that she was vomiting blood and that they should pick her up and take her to a veterinarian.

Plaintiffs rushed to PetsMart and brought Rita to a veterinarian where she sadly passed away 45 minutes after being treated and placed on oxygen.

According to the complaint, a necropsy of Rita's body was performed wherein it was revealed that her likely cause of death was strangulation.




When the owners came back for the body, they were told that Rita had been cremated without their permission, according to what their attorney told the Weekly.

The suit claims that this isn't the first time PetSmart has been accused of killing a pet during grooming.

We called and emailed PetSmart to allow the company to react to the charges. A company spokeswoman was looking into it.

[Update at 4:45 p.m.]: PetSmart this afternoon sent us this statement:

The death of English Bulldog puppy, Rita, is a tragic loss for her family. Many of us at PetSmart are pet parents, and no words can express our deep sorrow for their loss.

We take very seriously the trust placed in us by pet parents who each day leave their pets in our care. Nothing is more important than looking after the safety and well-being of pets as if they were our own.

The facts as represented in the recently distributed press release by an attorney are not what we believe to be true relative to this unfortunate situation. As a practice, however, PetSmart does not comment on pending litigation.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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