SHELBY TWP., Mich. (WJBK) - Dennis and Maureen St. Clair are still in shock after losing their 7-year-old rescue pet named Max.
"If you've had an animal, they're part of your family," said Maureen St. Clair. "And that's what Max was."
They say the poodle and cocker spaniel mix was healthy before his routine visit Thursday morning at the Shaggy Dog Puppies and Supplies at Van Dyke near 21 Mile.
"I haven't had any problems before, just took him there to get trimmed, nails," St. Clair said.
Max had been going to shaggy dog grooming about a year with no problems. Then Thursday afternoon, when the couple hadn't received their usual call for pickup, they got concerned. Dennis drove to the shop.
A routine visit to a groomer turns deadly for a beloved family pet in Shelby Township.
The dog died a miserable death after being soaked in chemicals in the back of the store and now we're learning, this is not the first time a dog has died here due to negligence.
"I saw the groomer, her name was Cindy, and she was coming out the back door with a dog wrapped in blankets and just soaking wet," he said. "And I looked and said oh God, I hope it isn't my dog, and it was Max, foaming at the mouth."
Max also had chemical burns all over his body, and his newly groomed fur was falling off. Dennis rushed him to the vet where he died.
"I was just hysterical," Maureen said. "My husband had to call me, and I feel worse for him because he had to see Max. And he was the best dog ever."
The couple was told Max had been barking too much, so they put him in a utility closet where they kept gallons of chemicals which somehow spilled. They say they were not told how it happened, what chemicals they were, or why no one called them sooner.
"I can see if the dog is barking, put it in a room, fine," Dennis said "But with chemicals? There shouldn't be anything in that room. There's no excuse for that."
The lawyer for the St. Clairs said this is the second case of a negligent dog death at Shaggy Dog grooming. Several years ago, another dog was killed after being left in a cage under a hot dryer for too long.
"This shouldn't have happened at all," Dennis said.
"This shouldn't have happened a first time, now a second time?" Maureen said.
FOX 2 went to the Shaggy Dog groomers to find the owners but did not find an owner, or anyone who was there during the incident. FOX 2 was also not allowed to see the chemicals or utility closet.
"You'll have to speak with the owner," an employee said.
FOX 2: "Is the owner around?"
"No she's not," the employee said.
FOX 2: "When will she be around?"
"She's just stops in whenever."
FOX 2 was told the owner would call back. The St. Clairs say the owner did call them to apologize and offer them a new puppy.
The St. Clairs have also filed a police report, citing gross negligence by the owners. They hope if the civil case moves forward as planned, they could shut the business down for good.