PetSmart groomer arrested after dog dies

A man who worked as a pet groomer at a San Mateo, California, PetSmart has been arrested after a dog died in his care Sunday.

KTVU reported that Juan Zararte was charged Monday with animal cruelty after the death of Henry,  a 1-year-old dachshund, according to police.

>> Read more trending stories

"About three minutes after the groomer took the dog into the back to be groomed, the groomer came out and was saying the dog was having a medical emergency," said police spokesman Sgt. Rick Decker. "The owner said that he could see the dog was foaming at the mouth and had some blood in his mouth. We're certain it was not an accident."

Police said they know the dog was brought to the groomer with no injuries or illnesses.

"We do believe that because of actions taken by the groomer, during the grooming session, is what caused the dog to die," Decker said.

An on-site vet tried to save Henry, but he died a few minutes later.

An X-ray showed Henry had two broken ribs and a punctured lung.

PetSmart said Zarate has been suspended pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation.

"We are heartbroken by the loss of Henry. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of pets, and we take full responsibility for the pets in our care," PetSmart said in an email to KGO. "We are conducting an internal investigation and will take immediate action based on our findings. Additionally, we are working with the local authorities.

"Any incident of animal cruelty goes against everything we believe as a company and as individual pet parents. No words can express our deep sorrow for the family, and we will continue to work with the pet parent during this difficult time."

Family spokesperson Marisa Mendoza told KVTU Zarate is used to handling smaller dogs because he has a Chihuahua at home.

"He's kind. He loves animals. The animals love him," Mendoza said. "He was crying a lot.

"He would never hurt an animal," she said.

Police said Zarate is cooperating in the investigation. He posted bail Monday and is due in court next month.

The dog's remains are in custody of the Peninsula Humane Society -- SPCA. A necropsy was conducted Monday. Results may take at least a week.