Palmview dog salon under fire after the death of a 4-month-old Corgi

When Isamar Cavazos’ husband picked up their 4-month-old Corgi at the groomers, she expected their pet to return home happy and clean, not in poor health and gasping for air.

The puppy, named Hunter, was dropped off at the Doggie Experts Salon in Palmview, TX, for a first-time grooming appointment on Saturday morning.

“When my husband picked him up, he did call me and mentioned that Hunter looked like he was dying,” said Cavazos, who said the dog couldn’t walk or stand, was throwing up blood, and was breathing erratically.

Courtesy Photo of Hunter Cavazos.

Cavazos then called the owner of the salon, Alex Villareal.

“He said: ‘I did nothing! I just [gave] him a bath. I am [angry] because your dog bit my son’,” Cavazos said.

Despite trying to explain that it was her dog’s first time getting groomed by a professional, the owner spoke over her and threatened to file a police report and call animal control.

“He told me that we didn’t tell him that the dog would bite. I tried to explain to him that we’ve never had a problem with our dog,” said Cavazos. “We’ve never taken him to a grooming place, so how would we know he would act that way? He wouldn’t let me get a word out.”

Cavazos said Villareal told her, ‘do whatever you want,’ before hanging up the call.

Cavazos said that during the call, Villareal mentioned that Hunter had to wear a muzzle during grooming, which Cavazos said was ok.

After being hung up on, Cavazos filed a police report with the Palmview Police Department. She and her husband then drove in search of a veterinary that was open, the closest one in service being Pet Doctor 911 in McAllen.

“There was a huge waiting line,” said Cavazos, asking the front desk attendees for help, stating that there was an emergency. “One of the nurses there saw him and said, ‘Yes, this is an emergency.’ Cavazos ended up paying a $400 fee to get Hunter seen right away.

Due to COVID-19 guidelines, Cavazos and her husband had to wait in their vehicle while Hunter underwent diagnosis. The pet hospital called and said that they would have to keep him in their care for 24-hours because he was having lung problems.

While this went on, Cavazos took to Facebook to share her horrifying experience. Comments flooded in, giving support and sharing their own experiences with the grooming salon.

One commenter said they had a similar experience with their dog experiencing fatigue after a grooming appointment:

“I took my puppy there once before, [and] he was drowsy the rest of the day. I asked him if they had [given] something to calm him down, and they said no to me. I didn’t believe them, but I didn’t want to make a big deal, so I just never took him back again.”

Another mentioned how their dogs were acting strange when they picked them up from the same salon:

“One day, I sent 4 of my dogs with them, and two days later, after they got back, neither of them wanted to eat and were acting strange too. I never sent them back.”

Moments later, the Doggie Experts Salon deleted their social media presence on Facebook.

Cavazos received devastating news as soon as she and her husband got home in La Joya.

“As soon as we got home, they called me,” said Cavazos. “They told me that the dog had pulmonary edema and that he went into cardiac arrest twice and that he had no pulse anymore.”

Cavazos was in shock and had to ask if what she was hearing was correct.

“So you’re telling me he’s dead?” Cavazos asked, to which the caller for 911 Pet Hospital said ‘yes.’

Medical records concluded the following diagnosis before Hunter’s passing:

“The respiratory difficulties are considered secondary to the pulmonary lesions. Differential diagnosis for this pattern includes inflammation secondary to noxious aerosolized material or barotrauma secondary to strangulation.”

The veterinarian noted that Hunter seemed heavily sedated, telling Cavazos that it was illegal if Villareal sedated him.

“I’m going to continue with legal action,” said Cavazos. “I am not the first person to have experienced this. We definitely need to do something about it.”

Villareal’s Attorney Rick Salinas claimed that his client did not cause the death of Cavazos’ dog.

“There was no injury to the dog,” said Salinas, mentioning that the staff of the salon had the right to muzzle the dog if it tried to bite during grooming and that Villareal did not use excessive force or any sedation. “The dog was delivered in perfect working condition.”

Salinas said there have been no prior incidents or reports of mistreatment or injury at Doggie Experts Salon.

“There was no issue other than…it was the first time he was being groomed. I think there was an incident there where the dog made an attempt [to bite] or bit one of the staff members. That’s it,” Salinas said.

The attorney then mentioned that anything could have happened after Cavazos’ husband picked up the Corgi from the salon, as there was no physical proof of harm to the dog. Salinas noted the possibility of an underlying medical condition paired with stress from first-time grooming could have caused Hunter’s cardiac arrest.

“This should not be a criminal case,” said Salinas. “There’s no reason these people would engage in this kind of conduct.”

Salinas said he is ready to prepare and file a claim against Cavazos due to her post and the negative impact it has had on Villareal’s business.

“This is not what she says it is,” Salinas said.

The case remains open.

10 Comments

  1. Lidia on April 17, 2021 at 9:31 am

    Oh no. I would be very Mad as well. They should NOT run a business they are not capable of running. For what was mentioned, this place is in no way professional. They mentioned a bite in the call. Well, what did they expect? They work with dogs. If they’d killed my pet this way I’d carry this all the way to the end. They need to shut down their made up business. Get yourself a GOOD lawyer. Keep on posting on Facebook I bet you’ll get the help needed. I hate Injustices.

  2. Blanca Rodriguez on April 17, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    1. Why is the son in the dad’s work area?? ….Unsupervised if u ask me… d/t dad stating dog bit child… that possibility comes with the territory., sir!!
    There have been several folks who’ve gone thru some similar incidences … injuries to their dogs., ur clienrs…!!!why would u become a groomer if u have ISSUES with ur very own customers!! Are u doing payback for some incident in ur past??
    .

  3. Norma L Valdez on April 17, 2021 at 3:02 pm

    Don’t get intimidated by their lawyer that’s known to represent the guilty. The comments by their lawyer is just nonsense and sounds like he just got the case without gong over it. You did the right thing calling the groomers, filing a police report, taking you pet to the vet, posting on Facebook to warn others and see if anyone had gone through the same thing with this groomer. You posted on Facebook to do what people do on Facebook, share your story and see if you can get answers on what was done to your pet sense the groomer wasn’t answering your questions and hang up on you. Make sure you get copies of the original police report, the vet’s report, phone records of when and what time you made the call to the groomers that day and have anyone else that has suspected their pet of being sedated by this groomer make a comment to the officer that took your report. You want to proof a pattern of behavior from this groomer. I would even call the Vets around here and ask if any dogs have ever been treated after going to this groomer. You need a lawyer that loves the law and doesn’t want easy money. Good Luck.

  4. Rachel on April 17, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    First of all, pets do not come back from groomer not wanting to eat, or just sleep. On the contrary they feel clean and want to run around and play. I’m very sorry for your loss, but you need to fight this! We as dog owners are our pets advocates, we are their voice. Your sweet fur baby shouldn’t have gone through this.

    • Jess on April 17, 2021 at 6:41 pm

      I am so sorry for your loss. If this was my furbaby I would have lost it on them. You warned so many pet owners who had no idea about this place. Thank you for that. I hope and pray you get some kind of justice for him.

    • Victoria on April 18, 2021 at 8:46 pm

      I am deeply sorry for your loss, as I mentioned before. You warned so many pet owners so that they won’t have to go through what you all are going thru. Thank you for that. I hope and pray you get Justice for Hunter🙏🐾

  5. Lili on April 18, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    I used to take my cat for a cat bath at a grooming salon until once I went to pick her up before they called and she was sitting in a cold cage drying off and she looked miserable. That was the last time. I hope you get justice for your dog. Post if you start a gofund me to raise money to fight this. There’s something fishy at that salon and criminal charges against the owner should be filed and you deserve compensation for your loss. It’s like losing a family member. Don’t worry there are far more pet owners on your side. Keep us posted please.

  6. VAL MORE on April 18, 2021 at 4:15 pm

    WHAT A GARBAGE PLACE THIS IS. WE TOOK OUR MULTIPOO HERE ONCE AND THEY COMPLETELY SHAVED HER DOWN. NEVER AGAIN. TRASH LOCATION AS WELL

  7. Angel on April 20, 2021 at 4:17 pm

    I am pissed! Wtf is a kid doing there in the first place! Ask for the footage of your dog “biting” I bet they won’t have it. This ridiculous !!!!! Do not be intimidated by an “attorney” who wasn’t even there to begin with! I am so mad!!!!!

  8. Emmanuel on April 21, 2021 at 8:24 pm

    i have a 4K dog and have never had an issue, sorry to hear about your puppy but lets not jump into conclusions i would easily get mad over my dog but not before the facts

Leave a Comment