(WSVN) - Her dog walked into the groomer. When she picked her up, the animal could not even get up. The groomer says it wasn’t their fault and they don’t want to pay the vet bills. But do they have to? Lets bring in Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Alejandra got hooked when she was young.

Alejandra Salazar: “Yeah. For my 16th birthday, my grandma got me a husky because I wanted one so bad.”

Nucita is 12 years old now. Alejandra has gotten two more huskies, but Nucita is the special one.

Alejandra Salazar: “She’s the original. She’s just been with me for so long.”

If you notice, Nucita cannot stand up after a trip to the groomer.

Alejandra Salazar: “And then when she comes out, she was like, basically, like unable to walk and like sprawled out like frog legging, like she kept on falling.”

When Alejandra left for the groomer, the ringtone camera showed the husky walking normally.

This is how she looked when she picked her up at the groomers. Their explanation…

Alejandra Salazar: “They thought that she got a cramp from being in this dryer for several hours.”

When Nucita didn’t get better, Alejandra took her to the vet.

Alejandra Salazar: “They think it’s like a tear in like the ligaments in her back legs.”

The groomer said the injury didn’t happen at their shop, showing a short video clip of Nucita as proof.

But the pictures in their lobby tell a different story. A heart breaking story after the vets office tried to prepare Alejandra for what might be coming.

Alejandra Salazar: “They actually were talking to me about like potentially euthanizing. I just started crying and I just cried. At this point, like my mom was crying, like everybody was crying.”

Alejandra is scared and she says so is Nucita

Alejandra Salazar: “Well, the first few days, definitely sad, definitely in pain, scared. The first couple of days, especially when I picked up like her, her eyes were, like, so afraid.”

The vet prescribed medication and Alejandra is using a sling to help Nucita get up when she wants to go to the bathroom outside.

Alejandra Salazar: “She’s adapted to that. So we’re still using that technique because she’s still struggling to get up. I don’t know if she’s ever going to be able to get up on her own.”

Animals are remarkable. After a few days, Alejandra says it appears Nucita is a getting little better.

Alejandra Salazar: “I want to hold out hope that she’s going to get better and I’m holding on to it because I’ve seen that there’s been improvement.”

In the meantime, the groomer apologized and refunded the $165 they charged to wash Nucita, but they still wont tell her what happened and won’t pay for the $1,400 vet bill.
Alejandra Salazar: “Things could have been so different had they just been very honest from the get-go and called when whatever it is that happened happened.”

Well, Howard. How does the law look at this?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “This is what the law calls a mutual bailment where each side gets a benefit. And the law will presume, since the husky walked in fine, that the groomer injured the animal. They have to prove otherwise. If they can’t, they have to pay the vet bills.”

We contacted the groomer who wouldn’t tell us how the animal was hurt either.

After a few conversations, they agree to pay the $1,432 vet bill and they said they will continue to pay Nucita’s follow up bills until she is fully recovered.

And look at Nucita now. The medicine and time are working.

Alejandra Salazar: “She’s able to walk now on her own without needing the support.”

Alejandra had the agony of watching Nucita suffer, but she won’t have the pain of paying the vet bills after her call to Help Me Howard.

Alejandra Salazar: Because you guys were so helpful with dealing with the situation and communicating with the groomers to help come to the best resolution that we could.”

Glad Nucita is getting better.

And the bottom line, if someone or their animal injures your pet, they have to pay the vet bills. But they don’t have to pay for your pain and suffering because the law considers a pet like a piece of furniture. Sounds cold but it’s the law.

A problem dogging you? Feel like you are barking up the wrong tree? Unleash us ’cause we’re itching to help you.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
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