San Mateo pet supply store employee arrested after dog in his care dies

SAN MATEO (KRON) — San Mateo police have arrested a pet supply store employee after a dog in his care died on Sunday, police said.

Officers were called to the PetSmart, located at 3520 South El Camino Real, at around 5:15 p.m. answering a report of a dog that died at the store, police said.

The dog’s owner, a 47-year-old San Mateo man, told officers he brought his 1-year-old male dachshund to the store to be groomed, police said.

About 3 minutes later, the employee came out of the grooming office holding the dog, saying that it was suffering a medical emergency. The dog was visibly bleeding from the mouth and having trouble breathing, according to police.

The employee, identified as 38-year-old Juan Zarate of San Francisco, then took the dog to an on-site veterinarian, who attempted to treat the animal. Despite the veterinarian’s efforts, the dog died a few minutes later, police said.

A post mortem X-ray of the dog concluded it suffered two broken ribs and a punctured lung.

After a preliminary investigation, officers determined that deliberate actions by Zarate likely contributed to the dog’s death. Officers arrested Zarate at the scene on suspicion of felony animal cruelty, according to police.

The Peninsula Humane Society took custody of the deceased dog and will conduct a necropsy in the coming days to confirm the nature of the injuries and the specific cause of death, police said.

Police are reminding residents that suspicious behavior or signs indicating animal cruelty should be reported immediately either to police or the PHS at (650) 340-7022.

Bay City News contributed to this report

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