Venice dog groomer investigated for animal abuse

Sarasota County

VENICE, Fla. (WFLA) – A Venice dog groomer is under investigation for animal cruelty. The groomer was caught on camera holding a dog by its throat and yelling at it. 

On Friday afternoon, Phyllis Lucca, the owner of the Happy Puppy Pet Spa, was grooming a dog when the unthinkable happened. The video shows her grabbing the dog by the neck and violently shaking it. She later called the dog a derogatory term.

The video was shot by former employee Briana Brady, who quit after seeing case after case of possible abuse.

“I’ve seen her choke out and slam a dog in the bathtub,” said Brady.

Brady reported this case to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

“I’ve been crying nonstop. It just breaks my heart to see someone mistreat an animal like that,” said Brady.

But that’s not all. The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is also investigating another case against Lucca.

This comes after she was accused of fracturing another dog’s jaw. That case has now been forwarded  to the State Attorney’s Office for their review.

When 8 On Your Side contacted Lucca by phone, she hung up on us.

Other groomers are very concerned over the video.

“This is really upsetting to me because it is making us good groomers look really bad and we’re not like that,” said Bobie Gabel from the Mutt Hutt Grooming Salon.

The video has been shared nationwide on social media, inciting anger and controversy.

Lucca has been a groomer for decades, and some longtime customers came to her defense like Maryann Terry, who said ‘I’ve taken my dogs to Phyllis for years because she cares about her clients and their parents.”

Brady has now obtained an attorney.

All day long, we tried to reach out to the groomer but her shop is closed and she did not respond to our interview requests. We will keep you updated if charges are filed against this dog groomer.

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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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