Ex-pet groomer indicted on animal cruelty charges

Michelle Louise Root of Gainesville has been indicted on animal cruelty charges.

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Michelle Louise Root of Gainesville has been indicted on animal cruelty charges.

A former owner of a pet grooming business “maliciously” caused death and injury to dogs in her care, according to an indictment handed down Monday in Forsyth County.

Michelle Louise Root of Gainesville faces two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals over the alleged incidents at Paw’sh Paws in Cumming in March 2016 and October 2017, according to the indictment.

On Oct. 7, Root “did maliciously cause the death of an animal, a dog named Meko,” by kicking and choking the dog, according to one count.

And on March 2, 2016, Root “maliciously cause physical harm” to a dog named Little Boy by rupturing the dog’s spleen, according to the second count.

Cumming police learned of the incident involving Meko when an employee of the business told them. The employee “heard a commotion (at the business) and came out to see what was wrong,” according to the incident report.

Root was arrested after that incident and released from the Forsyth County jail on bond. She later surrendered on a second charge.

About that time, police investigators searched Root’s business and residence after they received reports of other possible victims dating to 2003.

“Something like this is hard to prove,”Cumming police Deputy Chief Aletha Barrett said at the time, “because you have to prove the animal wasn’t injured before it arrived at the facility.”

Paw’sh Paws is no longer in business, according to an internet search.

In other news:

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The driver was not injured.