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Justice for Gooch: Service Dog Killed by Groomer

Justice for Gooch: Service Dog Killed by Groomer

Laurie Crouch is devastated.  Her 3 year old pit bull, Gooch, was killed right before her eyes.  This was not a savage murder like you hear about pit bulls where the dog was shot, stabbed, tortured or set on fire. 

About Gooch

Gooch was Laurie’s service dog.  Laurie is a 23 year old disabled Michigan woman suffering from multiple sclerosis who depends on a wheelchair for mobility.  While Gooch had no formal training as a service dog, he did have a very special bond with Laurie. 

She rescued him as a puppy from someone who was going to sell him to a dog fighter.  He rewarded her with the love and loyalty only a rescued pup can demonstrate.  He happily retrieved things for her and made her everyday life easier.

How Gooch Was Killed

On October 14, 2010, Laurie had a groomer come to her home to trim Gooch’s nails.  It was not the first time she had hired this groomer.  “Something was different that night” said Laurie. “The groomer had a male assistant with her and both acted strangely.” 
“I had a bad feeling.”

Laurie told me the groomer’s assistant — whom Laurie had never met before — refused to give her his name.  As the first nail clipped was below the dog’s quick, Gooch started to struggle.  The groomer and her assistant put a prong collar on Gooch and wrapped a leash around his muzzle.  They lifted up the 65 pound dog by the prong collar in an attempt to make him stop struggling.

At this point Laurie told them to stop; she did not want them to finish the nail clip service.  The groomer refused, telling Laurie she came all this way and she intended to finish the job and get paid.  At this point both the groomer and assistant were literally sitting on Gooch to make him stop squirming.  As they finished clipping his nails, he went limp and died.

By this time, Laurie had thrown herself off the sofa and dragged herself to Gooch.  The groomers took the $15 fee which Laurie had placed on a nearby table and left.  Not even an “I’m sorry” was muttered by either of them.

The necropsy report cited cause of death as suffocation and noted multiple organ hemorrhages, including the brain and liver.  Laurie informed me in a telephone conversation that Gooch had bloody foam in his throat when the groomers left her home.

What Happened Next

Laurie’s parents were able to write down the license plate number of the vehicle the couple had driven.  Once police were called and a report filed, Laurie was informed the license plate number was registered to a different vehicle than the one it was affixed to.

Laurie and her family were initially told there were no charges to be filed and if she wanted restitution, she needed to file a civil suit.  An outpouring of love in the form of telephone calls, emails and an offer of a new puppy were given to Laurie. 

Rebecca Arnett and Gail Landon run Giggles N’ Wiggles, a local puppy rescue organization, and have donated a black lab puppy to Laurie.  They will also be paying for the neuter surgery, vaccinations, puppy training and a month’s worth of food.  Laurie has named the pup Junior in honor of Gooch.  Once the little guy is weaned, he will get to live with Laurie.

Police Report

A call put into the Waterford (Michigan) Police Department got me connected to Lawrence Novak, the detective investigating this case.  Novak informed me that the case is still under investigation.  He has been in touch with Jessica R. Cooper’s office — the prosecuting attorney for Oakland County, Michigan.  More information was requested by Cooper’s office and Novak reports he expects to have a decision sometime next week whether or not the office will prosecute the groomer.  The groomer remains unnamed to date because no charges have yet been filed.

Take Action: 
Sign the Care2 petition asking for formal charges of the groomer who killed Gooch.

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Photo of Laurie and Gooch courtesy of Laurie Crouch

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392 comments

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8:56AM PDT on Apr 20, 2013

I am so sorry to hear of your loss to dear Gooch and how this horrible person and her "assistant" have so far gotten away with what they did. I too have a Service Dog and if she were lost to me, I'd also be lost. I hope you will find that wretched person in jail for her crimes soon and win a HUGE suit against her. In the meantime, know that Gooch, while no longer physically with you, is still in your heart and your soul, as he will always be. I read that you were offered another puppy and that it would be trained for you. I hope that to be true and that you can find a friend in this puppy as you had with Gooch.

9:45PM PDT on Apr 24, 2011

R.I.P. Gooch
My sympathy Laurie for you loss~
This is such a tragic outcome of what should have been a normal routine...I hope justice will be served!!!

10:44AM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

As long as dogs have no more protection than your car justice will never be done--- I personally can not imagine anyone who calls themselves a groomer being so callus bu nothing surprises me anymore after nearly 50 years of grooming---the only advice I can give , no matter how hard it may be, in pursuing this case do not use anger or revenge as a motivation, logic and perseverance will win the case . Good luck

9:07AM PST on Mar 5, 2011

I just want to say to Laurie Crouch iam very sorry what happen to Gooch i hate animal cruelty iam againist that if i was you laurie dont let them get away with it TAKE those Bastards to court put them behind bars he was handsome dog im so deeply sorry for your lost

7:01PM PST on Jan 30, 2011

The groomer is definitely responsible for the dog's death, per autopsy. She and the "helper" must be prosecuted to the maximum extent of the law -- they KILLED the dog. That Laurie is disabled and needed the dog, makes it just that much worse.
I love my dog, a 3-legged rescue -- she means the world to me, and I would insist on prosecution. I'm assuming that Laurie has others who are fighting for her rights in this case.

1:01AM PST on Jan 25, 2011

Laurie, my heart goes out to you! Someone took advantage of you and the victim ended up being your beloved Gooch! I would have stopped the groomer from proceeding, but then I'm not disabled! It's easy "in hindsight" to say, "I'd have done THIS" or whatever. Fact is, we weren't there, we weren't in your shoes. Sue the bastards! Please let us all know what is going on and what we can all do to step in and help?

2:10PM PST on Jan 12, 2011

I used to be a groomer, I'd kill the bitch gladly, stab her & him w/ my scissors....... I did house calls mostly for bird nail clipping tho'. I am so sorry Laurie...... persue the lawsuit and nail her ass!!

2:07PM PST on Jan 11, 2011

This is Laurie Crouch. Gooch was my dog. The name of the sadistic person who killed my best friend, Gooch, is Kathryn Tucker... so beware.

1:13PM PST on Jan 11, 2011

This is Laurie Crouch. Gooch was my dog. The name of the sadistic person who killed my best friend, Gooch, is Kathryn Tucker... so beware.

9:37AM PST on Jan 10, 2011

Not only prosecution but while waiting for law enforcement to do the right thing, I'd file complaints with BBB and anyone else I can "legally" complain about wrong business practices. While she may need to keep certain things quit because of an impending case, there is nothing to stop her from filing with BBB and yelp, etc., about this business. This type of travelling business relies on word-of-mouth advertising and lots of it, however, that kind of advertising works both ways.

My sympathies to Laurie and Gooch.

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