Warning: The videos in this article contain footage some may find disturbing.
A Florida dog groomer is in hot water after a video surfaced that appears to show the owner violently shaking a dog.
The video was posted on November 10 by Facebook user Briana Brady who says that she used to work at the Happy Puppy Pet Spa near Sarasota, Florida. According to Brady, the woman in the video owns the spa and Brady says that the behavior captured in the clip is common. Since being posted, the clip has been shared over 1,800 times and racked up over 384,000 views.
Brady identifies the woman as Phyllis Lucca and writes “this is what this horrible woman does every day to every dog. She even broke a dog’s jaw two weeks ago. She picked the dog up by the neck and shook it and slammed it on the table.”
Customers have complained about Lucca’s care for their dogs — former client Cynthia Crowe told the groomer “I gave you a dog in good health and you give me a dog that has broken bones now.” She says that when she picked her toy poodle up from the Happy Puppy Pet Spa, the animal had blood on his mouth and bruises on his stomach. Crowe rushed her pet to veterinarian Gary Berkowitz, who told WFTX “The dog was doing fine, eating and drinking fine like normal, as soon as she gets home from the groomer, the dog shows all these signs and has a fractured jaw.”
Crowe filed a police report against Lucca for animal cruelty, and the investigating detective wrote that the groomer admitted to the dog’s injuries. But when WFTX caught up with Lucca, she blamed her former employee Briana Brady, saying that she was the only one ever in the room alone with Crowe’s pet and added “if you see that video, I know it looks bad, but that’s not what I’m doing.” She claims “What the dog did was pass out and she faints and what I did was hold her head and shake her. That’s all.”
Yet Brady says that she’s witnessed a disturbing pattern of abuse from Lucca, telling WFLA “I’ve seen her choke out and slam a dog in the bathtub” and adding “I’ve been crying nonstop. It just breaks my heart to see someone mistreat an animal like that.” Brady has hired an attorney and plans to file a civil suit against the groomer, but that suit has not yet been filed.
Since the video came out, the Google rating for Lucca’s spa has dropped to a dismal 1.8 stars. But even before Brady’s Facebook post, customers wrote reviews indicating abuse, one woman claimed that when she picked up her dog, she “noticed at least 3 very red areas where the clippers must have gotten too close.” Six years ago, one customer wrote that she was “horrified to walk in there and see a dog sitting in a pool of blood and whimpering from having its nails cut incorrectly.”