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BROOKLYN, Ohio — A groomer charged with animal neglect in the death of a family’s dog entered a not guilty plea to the charge Wednesday in court.
Fox 8 News’ Lorrie Taylor reports that Kalie Balestra, 20, of Rocky River, entered the plea in Brooklyn’s Mayor’s Court.
The charge stems from a June 21st incident inside the Pet Supplies Plus in Brooklyn’s Ridge Park Square.
Brooklyn Police Chief Scott Mielke tells Fox 8 News that Balestra left a two-year-old Schnoodle, named Nannie, unattended on a table with its head in a groomer’s noose. Nannie had been dropped off for a shampoo and hair cut.
The dog’s owner, Paula Schoch, told Taylor that Nannie fell off the table and no one was there to save the animal from being hanged.
Mielke had previously said that Balestra lied when police questioned her about the incident.
“We believe she wasn’t truthful,” said Mielke.
Numerous attempts by Fox 8 News to speak to Balestra have been unsuccessful.
Balestra faces a penalty of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if found guilty. She has a pre-trial hearing scheduled for August 20, 2012.
Pet Supplies Plus CEO Dave Bolen previously issued the following statement on the incident via email:
“We sincerely apologize for the heart-breaking accident that occurred on Thursday, June 21, 2012 with one of our customer’s pets in our Brooklyn, Ohio grooming facility. We understand how very devastated the family is and our hearts go out to them. The welfare of our customers and their pets is our top priority. We are thoroughly investigating the situation as we await the results of testing to understand what happened to Nannie, and we are fully cooperating with local authorities. Although our groomer training program is comprehensive and focused on pet safety, we are instituting new, recurring retraining procedures to ensure that our staff remains fully educated. The groomer in question has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. Most importantly, we continue to work closely with the family to provide support in any way we can.”