Bridgeville Pet Groomer Charged With Animal Cruelty for Allegedl - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Bridgeville Pet Groomer Charged With Animal Cruelty for Allegedly Abusing Dog

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BRIDGEVILLE, Del.- A Bridgeville pet groomer has been charged with animal cruelty after he was caught on video allegedly abusing a dog.

The groomer, James Campbell, 43, was arrested Monday, Oct. 28, following an incident that occurred at Pet Emporium in Bridgeville.  

According to the surveillance footage dated Oct. 5, Campbell is seen dragging the dog by the legs, pulling the dog by the neck and body, and yelling and cursing at the dog multiple times. 

Brittany King, an employee at Pet Emporium, witnessed this all firsthand, which is seen in the video. 

King tells WBOC she was extremely frightened as it was happening, and could not act because she was tending to another dog--also seen in the video.

"I had a dog on my table which was known to be aggressive," King said. She said she was also too frightened by Campbell's actions.

"Absolutely terrified. I didn't know what was going on because I had never seen him act like that before." 

"I knew if I stepped in, he could have done the same thing to me and things could have ended up a lot worse," she said. 

Instead, she screen recorded the company's surveillance footage from her phone after the fact, and released the video on Facebook. Pet Emporium says the original footage is not available because their system loops over every 180 hours. 

That post from King has since gone viral, and sparked quite an outcry from pet owners on Delmarva.

Pet Emporium's co-owner, Edward Wagner is married to Campbell, the other owner, but fired him immediately after learning of the video.

"I just couldn't take anymore. I said, 'You can't be here anymore, this is my establishment. I've been in business for 35 years. I cannot having you abusing my customers, my dogs, you can't do it,'" he told WBOC.

Wagner says he owns a majority share of the company and hopes to move past this incident. He also says he is filing for divorce from Campbell. 

Wagner and other employees say he was not present at the time of the incident. 

WBOC reached out to Campbell multiple times for comment--Campbell eventually reaching out to us via text.

"This is a civil dispute," he wrote. 

Campbell claims his spouse, Wagner, is "Refusing to release the full situation as an attempt to bankrupt the business and defame my character in order to destroy my clientele and career."

When we asked Campbell if the dog attacked him at any point in video, both seen and unseen, we did not get a response.

WBOC then reached out to Campbell's attorney, Timothy Willard who said:

"The video does not tell the whole story.  Its release was motivated by a domestic and business dispute.  Mr. Campbell was handling a difficult situation with a struggling dog.  He is a professional dog groomer and will adamantly dispute these allegations which again stem from a ugly breakup.  The video does not tell the whole story."

But King, who was there as these events unfolded, said the dog was not aggressive at any point, and in fact was anxious and scared. King says the owner of this dog even revealed this to Jimmy prior to service.

"She did not get the service she paid for. It should have never happened," Wagner said.

We did speak to a few of Campbell's family members, who claim he did have scratches and bite marks on him when he came home on this day. 

But King explained to WBOC, "After everything was over and he went to put a bandanna on the dog, the dog jumped off the table and got scared. Jimmy tackled the dog on the ground and the dog did bite Jimmy."

But all of this was after the alleged abuse unfolded, King claims. 

Wagner says Pet Emporium apologizes for Campbell's actions and hope this situation does not deter business.

Wagner says moving forward he will try and take a closer look at future groomers, and they welcome pet owners to stay during the duration of service.

Becky Wilson, another dog owner who took her dog to Pet Emporium, has recently filed a formal complaint with the Office of Animal Welfare. She claims her Shih Tzu, Delilah, was often groomed by Campbell over the course of 13 years.

The dog eventually developed seizures and extreme aggression and had to be euthanized Sept. 21.

Wilson claims the Office of Animal Welfare is looking into this matter, though there is no surveillance footage of abuse associated with her dog; only alleged abuse from employees at Pet Emporium who claim to have witnessed it. 

The Office of Animal Welfare says Campbell was arraigned on Monday and released on his own recognizance pending a court hearing. Campbell also was ordered not to have any physical contact with animals until the case is closed.

 

 

 

 

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