Owner of pet grooming salon found guilty of animal cruelty

JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — The owner of a dog grooming salon was found guilty of animal cruelty on Thursday.

10 On Your Side reported earlier this month that Mironda Henning was slapped with a misdemeanor charge for the way she groomed a customer’s dog at the Fuzzy Butt Stops Here.

In court, James City County Judge Colleen Killilea reviewed an approximately eight minute cell phone video that captured Henning grooming the pet, a Cockapoo named Gidget.

The video was taken secretly in May 2016, shot from the back pocket of a former salon employee, who also testified. Listening to the video, Henning can be heard complaining, with expletives, about Gidget’s owner having brought the dog in with matted fur.

Prosecutors described the manner of grooming as abusive, stating that the dog was slammed down, jerked around and harshly brushed. Gidget reportedly vomited and defecated.

But Henning’s defense attorney Jim Hannon noted that Gidget was not actually injured. Calling an “animal behaviorist” to the stand, he made the case that mats must be removed for a dog’s health.

He further argued that a neck restraint was removed during the grooming, so as to benefit the dog.

“We didn’t think anything rose to the level that would require a conviction here,” Hannon told 10 On Your Side.

Hannon noted that the former employee who took the video began the process of launching her own pet grooming salon prior to filming. But that former employee stated she only took and released the video to investigators because she wanted “this to stop.”

Testimony revealed that after the grooming in question, the defendant told Gidget’s owner that the dog didn’t like her, and should see another groomer. But the judge told the court that Henning, in the video, appeared angry at Gidget’s owner, and took it out on a “scared dog.”

Off camera, 10 on your side talked to Gidget’s owner, who had tears in her eyes. She said that she didn’t want Henning to get into trouble, but she hopes the defendant learns from the conviction, and has more compassion going forward.

Henning was given a $1,000 fine and six month jail sentence suspended for five years. She can own animals, and the judge didn’t place a restriction on whether she can work with animals at her business.

The salon’s Facebook page states that the business offers “low stress grooming.”

Henning had no comment leaving the courthouse. No word yet on whether she plans to appeal.

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