Petco’s Dog Clipping Problem Could Cut Reputation to the Bone

The charges sound almost too crazy to believe, but even if there’s a sliver of truth to them, Petco should brace itself for a PR crisis.

Two pet owners in Hawaii have sued Petco, alleging that groomers at the store not only gave their dogs’ coats clips, but body parts as well. One customer, Gladys Kapuwai, said that when she brought her Pomeranian-Maltese mix Dodo home from a grooming session at Petco, she discovered that one of the dog’s ears had been cut off. And if there could be anything worse than that, get this: it’s been reported that the store attempted to glue the cut piece of the ear back on.

Another customer, strangely the lawyer of Kapuwai, says his family dog came home from Petco bleeding, with the tip of its tail cut off.

After the charges were made public, Petco issued this statement: "We take any animal care concerns very seriously and we have a team in Hawaii actively investigating the allegations made there. Until we have completed a thorough review of the facts, it would be inappropriate for us to speculate about the claims made in this suit; but we can tell you that we have very strong standards and policies in place for the care and treatment of animals in our stores and grooming salons."

The charges come at a time when the treatment of animals is on the front burner of major corporations, as both McDonald's and Chipotle have made the public aware of efforts to improve the treatment of animals within their supply chains. Yet pigs and cattle may be one thing to the public, man’s best friend another.

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About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.

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