Authorities claim that a dog grooming shop owner in South Florida was caught on camera abusing the animals in his care.
News reports say that Plinio Roberto de Camargo Jr., co-owner of American Dog Pet Grooming in Boca Raton, struck dogs and mercilessly pulled their hair.
According to an arrest report, a man reported that his wife, a hairstylist at the salon, was “devastated” after seeing abuse at the establishment and sent the videos to an animal control officer. He then called the Palm Beach County Animal Control Department to report this. The abuse reportedly led some caregivers to resign, according to the man who reported the case to the authorities on behalf of his wife because she only speaks Portuguese.
De Camargo, 47, “intentionally tormented two dogs in his care by punching and striking the dogs multiple times, while pulling the dogs’ hair in a cruel and inhumane manner,” detectives wrote in the report.
The employee told authorities her boss “abuses dogs on a daily basis by hitting them with his hand, a brush, a nail file, clipper or other grooming items,” the report states, adding the employee believes de Camargo “gets frustrated when dogs misbehave and hits them so they will stop moving.”
In the first video, de Camargo was described by deputies as violently manipulating a black poodle while blow-drying it in the sink and “grabbing the back of the dog’s head, pulling the dog’s hair, and pushing the dog down the sink.”
The second video depicts de Camargo striking a dog with a closed fist before striking it again with his right hand. The report states: “The dog is howling and crying and seems to be in pain because the man hit him.”
In the third video, de Camargo is seen blow-drying a small white dog while holding him by the back of the head and twisting his hair as he picks him up.
It’s not the first time the man has reported the abuse to officers. According to the report, the dog groomer’s husband reported in May that de Camargo had mauled a dog that later died of a heart attack, but the case was dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence.
The co-owner allegedly told the owners of injured dogs that their animals “had a difficult time being groomed” and that they should take them to the veterinarian in order to conceal their partner’s alleged abuse.
Brazilian national De Camargo entered a not-guilty plea to the accusations.