PITTSBURGH, PA — AJ Ross, a Pittsburgh native, filed a lawsuit against PetSmart and two of its former employees after her dog died while getting his nails trimmed.

The toy poodle, Kobe, was Ross’s companion for 12 years, reported KDKA.

“He had been through everything with me, all the highs and lows of my life,” Ross said.

Ross filed the lawsuit against PetSmart claiming that the former employees used restraints on her dog that led to his strangulation death.

“The civil case is just to bring accountability to this situation, justice if there can be any slim measure of that. But nothing is going to bring Kobe back,” Ross said according to KDKA.

Ross acquired surveillance footage that shows Kobe inside the PetSmart “being placed on a table and having two tethers placed around his neck, one suspended from a bar above his head, preventing him from lowering his head or moving it too far to the side, and one traveling beneath his neck, preventing him from moving his head upwards,” KDKA reported.

The lawsuit states that “Defendants, Elizabeth Doty and Julie Miller, began to trim Kobe’s nails and eventually turned all four of his legs to the side, suspending him over the surface of the table, in effect hanging Kobe by the neck while they trimmed his nails.”

Ross was told by staff that Kobe had “passed out and went limp”.

“He didn’t have a voice. There was no sense of urgency after this happened. I was lied to once I picked him up,” she said according to KDKA.

The lawsuit continues to say that “PetSmart failed to take the necessary measures to eliminate and/or minimize such injury and harm to pets, including, but not limited to, improving training, supervision, and certification of its groomers.”

The former employees are facing criminal charges of two counts of cruelty to animals and two counts of neglect of animals.

In a statement to KDKA-TV, PetSmart said, “All of us at PetSmart are heartbroken by the loss of Kobe. Following an internal investigation, the associates involved are no longer employed by PetSmart. Out of respect for all parties involved, we have no further comment at this time.” 

The suit makes claims of negligence, negligence per se, negligent hiring and supervision, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of PA unfair trade practices and consumer protection law, breach of implied warrant of good faith and fair dealing, and fraud.