COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A Reynoldsburg family is mourning the death of their beloved dog, and they’re demanding accountability for the people responsible.
Selamawit Tewolde dropped her beagle, Awet, off at the grooming salon at the PetSmart on Taylor Park Drive Tuesday. She says that was the last time she saw him alive.
“He’s a smart dog. Brave. Loyal,” she said. “He’s family. We loved him with all of our heart.”
Tewolde told NBC4 she received a call from the groomer that Awet would be ready to pick up in 20 minutes. When she arrived, she was told someone had already gotten him.
Tewolde and her cousin filed a police report and used social media to look for Awet. A post on the NextDoor app led them to Tussing Road, more than two miles away from PetSmart.
Awet was hurt. He didn’t survive his injuries.
“This has been a very traumatic event for me,” Tewolde said. “I just – there’s no words to describe this. Literally no words at all.”
The Reynoldsburg Division of Police released still images from the surveillance cameras inside PetSmart of three people, who they say took Awet. Detectives are asking for the public’s help in finding them. Meanwhile, Tewolde wants to know how PetSmart employees allowed this to happen.
“I gave them my dog alive. The last time I saw my dog alive was there,” she said. “I should expect to see him when I came back. They should have gave my dog to me, and he should have been at home right now.”
“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of pets in our care,” said a corporate spokesperson for PetSmart, in a statement to NBC4. “We have been in contact with Awet’s pet parents to ensure they are receiving appropriate support. We are working with law enforcement on their investigation and we are confident the information we’ve provided will help bring the suspects in question to justice.”
Citing the ongoing investigation, the spokesperson declined to answer questions about the grooming salon’s pickup policy, and what they’re doing to make sure something like this does not happen again.
Tewolde said she has only gotten an apology from PetSmart.