Carlos R. Munoz
VENICE – A dog groomer from Venice who was the subject of a viral video last year will be charged with animal cruelty after allegedly breaking the jaw of a dog she was grooming in October .
Phyllis Lucca, 70, told detectives after being questioned about the case that she knew she was responsible for the injuries of a four-pound poodle named “Pumpkin”, but denied that it was was an act of cruelty, according to the probable cause affidavit.
The owner of the pet salon was the subject of a video on Facebook in November, posted by former employee Briana Casey-Brady, which allegedly showed Lucca mistreating another dog. No charges have been laid for this incident.
The Happy Puppy Pet Spa is located at 728 Shamrock Avenue in Venice.
Casey-Brady has said she has been harassed since the video was posted last year. She is upset that the Lucca business is still open.
“I think it’s ridiculous that she’s still open and in business, even after everything that’s happened, and still allowed to do so even though she has a pending trial on child abuse charges. ‘animals,’ Casey-Brady said. “It shouldn’t be allowed to be opened. Yes, it’s innocent until proven guilty, but we all know what the verdict will be.
“I firmly believe in karma, good and bad, it always happens. And now his bad karma is catching up.”
According to court documents, Lucca told detectives after the interview that she received training as a veterinary assistant which enabled her to recognize signs of distress in a dog, but that she “admittedly” did not recognize. the same signs in Pumpkin after noticing blood on the dog’s paw. .
Casey-Brady was the only employee at the pet salon at the time of the incident. She told detectives that she could hear Lucca berating the dog while she groomed him, but did not see the groomer handling the dog brutally. She said she had seen Lucca handle other dogs roughly on the basis of her “training and professional opinion”.
Veterinarian Dr Gary Berkowitz, who examined Pumpkin, said Lucca’s use of force to restrain the dog was excessive and compatible with abuse. He said the pressure she used to hold the dog by its lower jaw and around its muzzle was enough to fracture the small dog’s jaw.
Lucca knew the dog had previous dental problems and knew that he was missing some of his teeth.
The owner of Pumpkin is still paying the ongoing medical bills caused by the incident, according to the affidavit. The dog was to spend six to eight weeks in a muzzle being fed a liquid diet using a syringe.
It is not known how long the dog’s wounds will take to heal.