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Dog Dies After Being Left at PetSmart; SPCA and Family Seek Answers

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Scruffles Credits: Danielle DiNapoli
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RARITAN TWP., NJ – This is a story about Scruffles and it is not a happy one.

Scruffles was an 8-year-old bulldog, a pet loved by Danielle DiNapoli and her family. Their story has gone viral on Facebook with more than 14,000 shares and nearly 10,000 comments, leading DiNapoli to create a “Justice for Scruffles” Facebook page.

DiNapoli said she just wants answers. She brought Scruffles to the PetSmart store here for grooming on Dec. 29, and that was the last time she saw her alive.

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According to DiNapoli, she received a voicemail from the store that morning that Scruffles was at Flemington Veterinary Hospital here.

DiNapoli admits she was so hysterical that she asked a friend to drive her there.

Scruffles was seen by Dr. Peter Betz, who told DiNapoli that while staff tried to perform CPR on Scruffles, the dog was dead upon arrival.

“No one from PetSmart was there to greet me, to explain what happened,” DiNapoli said. “They just dropped the dog off like a pizza and left.”

DiNapoli has nothing but praise for the staff at the animal hospital.

“They were just wonderful, they are very caring people,” DiNapoli said. “They were amazing. I couldn’t have gotten through it without them.”

“It is with tears and heartache I am writing this post,” DiNapoli wrote later on Facebook. “Please help us get answers! My beautiful healthy Scruffles died yesterday at Pet Smart ... while getting a standard grooming ... They refuse to give us information.”

Det. Sgt. Phil Amato of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said this morning that the matter is under investigation.

Scruffles is undergoing a “necropsy,” Amato said, which he explained is the canine equivalent of an autopsy.

Results from the necropsy could take 30 to 45 days, Amato said.

DiNapoli said PetSmart has told her “the matter is under investigation,” but it hasn’t provided her with details.

“We are truly saddened by the loss of Scruffles,” said PetSmart in a statement. “While a comprehensive internal investigation is still ongoing, our initial findings indicate the associates involved followed all policies and procedures consistent with care and services provided to breeds such as bulldogs.

“Our thoughts are with Scruffles’ family during this difficult time, and we will remain in contact with them as we learn more.”

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The Township of Verona is looking to run some new events around town focused on the arts and would like to hear from all the amazing local talent we have here in Verona and the surrounding towns. Please send an email to stneale@veronanj.org if you would like to hear more and get involved.

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