Tragedy Strikes After Family’s Dog Attacked at PetSmart, Later Dies

DICKSON CITY -- "We dropped him off to get groomed, and we get a call that he's dead."

Betty Miller of Scranton characterizes the last several days as astonishing.

Last Wednesday, she dropped off her 12-year-old Bichon Brewster at PetSmart in Dickson City to get groomed. Shortly thereafter, she got a call from a vet that was totally unexpected: Brewster was dead after getting attacked by another dog in the grooming salon.

"He was loving," Miller said of Brewster. "He was gentle. He was funny. He was like a toy, and he loved everyone."

Following the incident at PetSmart, the Miller's dog was taken immediately to the Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center in South Abington Township, where, unfortunately, Brewster was dead on arrival.

In a statement to Newswatch 16, VREC said that "resuscitation efforts were administered, but proved to be unsuccessful."

Miller says she's unhappy with how PetSmart corporate has handled the issue and thinks there could be more safety protocols put in place to avoid tragedies like this.

"We called corporate," Miller said. "They did not reach out to us, and I was very angry about that. Why would you want to bring a pit bull past a small dog who's really just bait? He was bait."

Following the freak incident, some of Miller's final memories of Brewster bring about heartache.

"I felt so guilty the day it happened because we would say to him, 'You want to go bye-bye?' and he'd hop in that car, and he didn't know it was going to be his last ride. It was hard, very, very hard. He's been with us for 12 years. He was just a great dog."

PetSmart's entire statement regarding the incident is below:

"We are truly saddened by the loss of Brewster. The health, safety and well-being of the pets in our care is our top priority, and we immediately launched an internal investigation to better understand what led to this tragic accident. We have high standards of care in place and are actively gathering more information to determine any policy or procedural violations. We welcome all dogs, regardless of their breed, into our grooming salons provided they are well-behaved. We will remain in close contact with Brewster’s pet parent as we learn more."


  • Debbie O

    Dear Manny. I’m going to say this as nice as possible. You are such an ignorant person that has no knowledge of the American Staffordshire terrier. There is no such thing as a pitbull. We’ve owned them and we rescued them and they are no meaner than a German shepherd Doberman Rottweiler Shall I go on. It’s the ignorance of you people they give one of the most wonderful loyal dogs in the world a bad name. To be honest I have a toy poodle a blue nose American Staffshire terrier and a half English mastiff half terrier breed dog the meanest dog I own is my portal. I rest my case

  • K

    They are nothing but garbage. They are fun and loving to you, their owner. They cannot be trusted and should be outlawed. Your head should also be examined for having 5 of them.

  • Cora

    As a groomer and having been in close contact with every breed of dog, I have a lot of experience with each and every breed. The only thing over 30 pounds that has ever attacked me was a husky. Other then that, the most dangerous breeds are the shihtzu, Maltese, chihuahuas, yorkies, Scottie’s, etc. I have had many occasions where I’ve been attacked by the little “bait” dogs. People seem to think that because they can’t always do as much damage as a big dog can, they shouldn’t be considered aggressive or viscous. But they are so much worse. Categorizing all pittbull sad violent is like saying all men are rapists or all African Americans are criminals. Don’t be a f***ing idiot and act like they are bad dogs because essentially it boils down to how each individual dog was raised and most little dogs seem to be raised very poorly. I’d also like to mention that this article never stated what kind of dog attacked the little white mutt.

  • III%

    Some hood rat with his pants hanging off his ass and a dollar general flat brim hasn’t helped the stigma of this breed my daughter has a pit sweetest dog going and the dog has graduated several obedience classes it’s like any dog it’s all in how it’s raised and trained and if any aggression is displayed it shouldn’t be put into situations that can be harmful like any dog

  • Taco Salad

    Literally more comments and emotions on an article about a bunch of dogs than another mass murder of human beings.
    That’s disgusting.

  • Jn570

    My condokences to the family for their loss and I dont know why this is turning into to a breed bash you people suck

  • Jn570

    You should be put down its people like you that would get a stronger breed dog and expect it to train themself I am a pitbull owner and I also rescue abandoned kittens that my dogs welcome to the family

  • Jessica

    I’m going to try so hard to not to use profanity here:

    First of all Petsmart messed up on so many levels. The scary thing is that I’ve taken my dog here before to get here nails cut. I believe that being at petsmart should be the same as being at any vet.. if a dog shows any signs of aggression they should be turned away- may as well put that on a vet record. And To its owners- common sense. If you’re dog cant be around other dogs common sense. Don’t take it out of the house, or have it put down down!!! If pet smart killed my family member I would want more than some bull half hearted apology!! So sorry to this dog and it’s poor owners who had to suffer!!!! Shut that place down !! I’m so angry for these people!! 😡

  • Anna

    My condolences to both the family of the pit bull and Brewster’s family. What a horrible way for anyone’s pet to die. They are family… our children and we love them with all our hearts. Pit bulls are not evil and they should not be exterminated. That is awful. The groomer should have been more responsible when they had the pit bull come into grooming station. These two dogs should have never crossed paths. I personally would be heart broken and would sue the salon. To the Miller family, you are in my thoughts and prayers and shame on you Petsmart for allowing this tragedy to have happened at all.

  • Josie Johnson Fox

    This was and could have been completely avoidable. Why they would do what they did is beyond me. How trained were the individuals performing these tasks. Then you are not professional enough to call the owner yourself. How heartbreaking and inexcusable.

  • Jerry Grose

    I must add — pit bull is not a breed. There are several bull dog breeds that have been used in fighting because they are strong. Does anyone remember the “little Rascals “ dog Petie? He was what is now called a “pit bull”.

    • mhoney6943

      And if you know the story of that dog then you would know he had a history of being aggressive. Try reading up on him. A good friend had her pit for 11 years, it even slept with her since it was a puppy. One day that sweet boy decided to be not so sweet, he attacked her when she came home from work, he killed her and her sister that tried to save her. So don’t count your chickens too early. They can and do change without warning. Three people including a 2 week old infant have died just in the past couple of days from their own pit bull family pets. Don’t say you weren’t warned. Read my other post also.

  • Trainer

    I have bred, trained, and worked dogs for nearly 50 years. I have worked with nearly every breed and I have shown in obedience and field trials. Amongst dedicated breeders it is an unspoken agreement. There is a reason that insurance companies require higher premiums for households with certain breeds.

  • freedom of speach

    im sorry about her fur baby. but its not the breed its on how they are raised.. an truthfully i feel like he or she was not raised right at all..

  • Priorities

    Fluffy little white dog gets killed at salon, almost 100 comments. 26 people get killed at their place of worship, maybe 50 comments at best.This is what our society has become when people are more concerned and heart broken over an animal versus their human brothers and sisters. Kind of explains why hundreds of babies can get murdered every day and no one even gives it a passing thought. There was more outage with the opossum at Bloomsburg than the church shooting in Texas.

      • Priorities

        No, you didn’t. But you did miss some fundamental points on humanity and morality somewhere along your developmental years. You’re part of ‘the problem’.

    • Jessica

      Shut up. You really can’t even sign your name, pathetic. Animals are people too, and while it’s “sad” this is news or gets more comments it does deserve attention.

      • Priorities

        So signing a random first name makes you unpathetic? What are you – 14 years old? Animals are people too? No – no they’re not. They’re animals. I love dogs, great friends and companions. I also love cows and pigs, usually in the form of tenderloins on my plate. Same with deer. You – Miss Jessica – are the delusional product of the liberal movement to humanize animals, and you’ve been brainwashed well.

      • El. Ma.

        JESSICA, you and people like you are part of this problem. Animals are not human beings. They do not think the way that we do, they do not REASON the way that most of us do, and they do not have an understanding of Laws, morals, or ethics. Animals run on instincts and conditioned responses. That doesn’t make them any less love-able for us humans, but it DOES mean that dogs don’t “like” wearing stupid sailor outfits, being carried in a purse, or being pampered as if they were plushie toys. They are ANIMALS. That’s why people take them to obedience training – so that they will have a clear understanding of the boundaries.

  • Mark

    Did not need to read the story to know it was yet another pitbull in another petsmart killing another dog. Will not step a foot into petsmart until they take responsibility for the damgerious breeds they allow.

  • Annie

    Fake news. Ask pit bull owner and they will tell you they are the sweetest,most loving,gentle dogs there are. The pit just came over to say hi.

  • Dee Porter

    I am a Pitbull owner, I have had my dog since she was a puppy…for precautionary reasons…I put a muzzle on her when I bring her to a pet store, because You never No…
    Dogs sometimes are unpredictable….the pet store was definitely negligent here…

  • Hold The Mayo

    They are neither sick, nor evil. They don’t have an agenda. They just are what they are and people assign human attributes to animals with this egotistical and childish belief that all things on the planet think as they do. Canine behavior is complex, but very well understood. Train a breed to fight, breed the winners to other winners, and the genetic code has been established over generations. The pups aren’t whelped as evil or “sick” animals. But, they absolutely do have a genetic predisposition for aggression.

    Rottweilers were ruined with the release of the movie, “The Omen.” Prior to that, nobody had ever heard of them and they were a safe, healthy, and hardy breed. Today, only God knows any Rottweiler’s lineage. I had my own Rottweiler and we went to intensive training so that it was confident in itself, and I was confident in my ability as a handler. I would never own any dog without intensive obedience training because I’ve seen how even the most unassuming breed (Labs, Pointers) can behave when they are bored, confused about their place in the “pack,” or anxious and fearful.

    • Think Positive

      No matter how you choose to say it, some dogs just can’t be trusted, and therefore should be monitored or limited to certain places. Even experienced dogs trainers and caretakers get attacked by dogs in their care. My mind is made up about Pit Bulls, and nobody will change it…they are not safe around other animals, children, and even sometimes their owners. How many deadly attacks before this is acknowledged as a fact?

    • warningfakenews

      I believe the per capita statistics don’t support your perceptions, but I am positive in my thinking that your opinion won’t change due to your stating that you don’t have an open mind, at least as far as this subject is concerned.

    • warningfakenews

      When we come to a firm decision on anything, we have decided to be “closed minded”. We literally have decided to stop any further critical thinking on whatever subject that might be. We tend to only listen to people who share our opinions and tend to tune out those who don’t.

      Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich observed that an open mind towards all subjects (Item #9) and the capacity to understand people (Item # 11) were two of the things which constitute real riches. Not having those abilities doesn’t make you a bad person, it just limits one’s true wealth.

    • Conservative Patriot

      What you say makes a lot of sense and therefore this breed as well as some others should not be made readily available to whomever wishes to have a “tough” dog.”

  • cristy8303

    Betty Miller if you are reading this or anyone that knows her I have a breeder that would love to bless you and your family with a Bichon puppy. She lives in Oklahoma and I shared your story on my FB and she messaged me wanting to bless you. You can contact me Cristy Hood Jones on FB and I will get you in contact with her.

  • Elene

    I know this family. Betty Miller does NOT hate pit bulls or any dogs for that matter. She was trying to point out that they should have been separate. Please be respectful of this family and their loss. People made this happen, not a breed of dog. Pit bulls didn’t get together and plot the killing. Take a step back and remember PEOPLE and carelessness did this.

    • cristy8303

      Betty Miller if you are reading this or anyone that knows her I have a breeder that would love to bless you and your family with a Bichon puppy. She lives in Oklahoma and I shared your story on my FB and she messaged me wanting to bless you. You can contact me Cristy Hood Jones and I will get you in contact with her.

  • Julie Edwards-Matanga

    The pit bull was well behaved….acted just like a pit bull. Don’t take your dogs to Petsmart to be groomed. You would think a pit bull owner would know better, really, what terrible difficulty is there involved in grooming a pit bull, other than it maul you to death.

    My condolences to the owner of darling Bentley. Pursue justice.

  • Denise Duirway

    Did Petsmart repeal their BSL Policy to not allow Pit bulls and Rottweilers on their premises? There have been several incidents already including a Judge ordering Petsmart to pay a family almost a Million dollars for the mauling of their little girl while waiting in line at check-out. Repealing BSL is like opening Pandora’s Box allowing family neighborhoods to be flooded with fighting type dogs.Bravo for BSL.

  • Jerry Grose

    You have no idea of what you speak! My American Staffordshire Terrier is one of the sweetest dogs I have ever known. He plays with the other dogs that our neighbors have and causes no harm. He should be exterminated according to you?

    • Black Bear

      I’ve heard that sooo many times, even AFTER the pit bull has attacked and KILLED, it makes me sick. You pit bull owners are nuts and you only care about yourselves. Save it. Some of us aren’t buying the “MY pit bull is sweet” b.s. anymore. AND “pit bull” doesn’t actually scream “sweet” either. The name alone is a red flag.

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