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Popular pet groomer arrested for animal cruelty

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CUMMING, Ga. — The owner of a well-known local pet grooming salon was arrested Oct. 11 after reports of animal abuse, including death, surfaced.

Michelle Louise Root, 41, of Gainesville, was arrested for cruelty to animals after she reportedly killed a dog she had been grooming at her store, Paw’sh Paws, 530 Lake Center Parkway B2.

One of the shop’s employees went to the Cumming Police Department after witnessing the incident Oct. 7. She said she was washing the Portuguese water dog wheaten terrier mix, Meko, 3, when another employee took the dog to the front of the store where Root worked.

The first employee went into the back area of the store and came out when she heard a commotion. She saw Meko running to the back of the store with the grooming lead still around his neck.

Root reportedly then yelled at the employee as she tried to stop Meko, but then came over and kicked Meko, knocking the dog into the door, took the lead and choked Meko to the point of unconsciousness, according to the police report.

The employee said Root then dragged Meko to the front of the store and banged him against multiple objects, including a washer. Root then put Meko back onto the table and attempted to finish grooming the dog. However, the employee said Meko was unresponsive at the time.

Shortly after the incident, Meko’s owner came to pick him up, and Root and her husband reportedly told the owner Meko “must’ve had a seizure,” according to the report. An employee questioned the owner about Meko’s disposition, but was told “to be quiet, that the dog had a seizure and that was it.”

Meko was transported to a local animal hospital where he was pronounced dead. The owner took the dog for a pathology report and autopsy, and the necropsy reportedly confirmed eye witness statements.

A few days later, another employee went to the police and gave a statement in line with the first employee’s account. She said there were no problems giving Meko a bath and the dog was compliant while being bathed and blow dried. She described the abuse in detail and said “the dog was so traumatized it evacuated its bowels.”

Both employees said this was not the first occurrence of abuse they saw from Root, but it was the first time it caused an animal’s death to their knowledge.

Root was taken to the Forsyth County Jail where she bonded out Oct. 11 on $5,630 cash bond.


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