CUMMING — A local business owner was recently arrested following the death of a dog at her pet grooming and bathing company.
Michelle Louise Root, 41, of Gainesville, owner of Paw’sh Paws in Cumming, allegedly choked, kicked the head and “bounced (the dog) off the wall,” on Oct. 7 during its grooming session.
Root was charged with felony cruelty to animals Oct. 11 after several witnesses filed reports with the Cumming Police Department following the dog’s death, according to law enforcement records.
Witnesses, who work at the pet spa and did not want to be identified, told police they saw Root “kick Meko twice, knocking Meko into the door, (take) the lead and choke Meko to the point of unconsciousness” after the dog ran to the back of the store with the grooming lead still around its neck.
“(The witness) said Root then dragged Meko to the front of the store, banging Meko against the washer and other objects before throwing Meko on the table and attempting to finish Meko’s grooming,” according to the report. “(The witness) said Meko was unresponsive at this point.”
The incident report said that when a friend of Meko’s owner, Eric Francis, came to pick up the dog, he was told that the dog, “must have had a seizure.”
The witness said when she questioned Root’s story, she was told, “to be quiet, that the dog had a seizure and that was it.”
Francis told the Forsyth County News that when he went to retrieve Meko, Root and staff told him that the dog was “just really relaxed,” but that Root was, in fact, “grooming a dead dog on their table.”
Francis said he was told that the dog was still breathing, but when he “placed (his) mirrored sunglasses in front of (Meko), he saw no breath.”
Francis transported the dog to a local veterinary hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The veterinarian told police that the dog had been deceased anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes at the time of examination.
“(The doctor) indicated that by the nature of the visit he did not do any invasive examination and placed Meko into the refrigeration storage unit they have on premises,” the incident report said. “He said he would recommend taking the dog to UGA for a pathology report/autopsy.”
Cumming Police Department spokeswoman Deputy Chief Aletha Barrett said the preliminary pathology report, which was given to the department verbally on Wednesday, along with the witness testimony, provided sufficient evidence for the department to charge Root with animal cruelty.
Root was transported to the Forsyth County Jail Wednesday and bonded out on $5,630 bond later that day.
As of Thursday, Paw’sh Paws was open for business, though FCN’s repeated calls to both the business and Root went unanswered.