TUCSON, Ariz. — A family is searching for answers after their beloved dog died while in the care of a local Tucson, Arizona PetSmart.
The family dropped their dog, Rufus, off at the PetSmart on Oracle and Wetmore. The family planned on heading out of town for a week.
Instead, they received a phone call a few hours later saying their dog was being rushed to the emergency vet after eating plastic.
The family tells KGUN that 15 minutes later the veterinarian told them Rufus was hit by a car on the way to the hospital.
In a statement provided to KGUN, Erin Gray with PetSmart says:
"We are truly sorry for the loss of Rufus, and no words can fully express our deep sorrow for the family. After completing an extensive investigation, we found our associate did not have proper control when removing Rufus from the vehicle during transport to the emergency veterinarian, leading to Rufus’ escape and unfortunate accident. As a result, the individual directly involved in transporting Rufus is no longer employed with PetSmart. Additionally, this incident is being reviewed with the entire Tucson store team to help prevent such an occurrence from happening in the future. We continue to be in touch with Rufus’s family during this very difficult time."
Please read even though it’s long: On July 31st, around 9:00 pm, we lost our beloved dog Rufus. My family and I were planning to go out of town the morning of August 1st. We had to leave Rufus at home and decided to take him to the Petsmart pets hotel, since he has been there before. When my mom and I dropped Rufus off at around 6pm last night, we were already sad. We told the associate at Petsmart that he was going to be anxious and that we were worried about leaving him alone since barely over a year ago we lost our beloved dog Diego, and this would be his first time alone. The lady said they would take great care of him and assured us he would do great. My mom and I watched as they carried him back, and he was still looking for us. When we returned home, we finished packing and a little before 9, we received a call from petsmart stating that Rufus had got to his harness that was in a plastic cubby on the other side of the door and had eaten it. ( it was in his notes that nothing should be in his reach as he will eat things like that when he is nervous- but clearly they ignored those.) they told us that they are taking him to the emergency vet so he can be watched but that he is okay and it is just a precaution. So we were a little worried and wanted to go see him even though we thought he was okay. Only 15 minutes later did we receive a call from the emergency vet. She said Rufus has been hit by a car, after the petsmart associate let him get out of her grasp and he bolted into traffic from her car in the parking lot and was fatally hit. She did not follow protocol because she did not put his collar or leash on him and he was not in a crate. They tried to save his life doing CPR and everything imaginable, but he was unresponsive. Getting this call was by far the worst moment I could imagine. Rufus was not ready to leave this earth. He did not deserve to die. But due to Petsmart’s negligence and carelessness, we don’t have our baby. Petsmart has had 6-now 7 dog deaths in their care in the last 6 months. Please do not take your dogs there. Hopefully they will learn from this and realize they need a huge change and I hope this never happens again. RIP my baby.