LA pet shop closing months after video of employee tossing dog
Bark n' Bitches, which opened in 2006, said it is closing by the end of the month as a result of pressure from the city of Los Angeles Animal Services Department.
The store came into the public spotlight in November 2019 after video showed an employee picking up a rambunctious dog by the neck and tossing it to the ground. The dog was later seen cowering under a table as others in the store tried to comfort the animal.
After the video came out, the store owner immediately condemned the employee's actions: "There was an inexcusable incident in the shop tonight. We will not tolerate this or any actions that put our rescues in harms way. The appropriate actions are being taken. This is NOT what we stand for."
City Animal Services launched an investigation into the incident.
The shop owner says the city seized 17 dogs and puppies on Jan. 17 and is keeping them "stuffed in their overcrowded cement jungle, lonely and scared."
"It is with great sadness, and certainly not by choice, that this magical, love filled shop has been forced to close as a result of the pressures put on me by LAAS (Los Angeles Animal Service)," the owner wrote on Instagram.
City Animal Services declined comment to Eyewitness News, other than to say "the dogs are safe in our care."
Besides selling pet products, the retail shop is involved in dog rescue and adoption efforts. "We have been responsible for saving the lives of over 7,000 homeless dogs," the owner said.
Jimi was my beloved pit/lab mix that I found as a stray in downtown Los Angeles skid row. As we know, our pets teach us so many valuable life lessons. Jimi's place in my life was a spiritial gift. He opened my eyes to my lifes work. Jimi passed away from complications from his ACL surgery, November 13th 2007. I chose to honor him. Jimi's Angels rescue is my passion.
All of these dogs are rescued from high kill shelters in Los Angeles and Kern counties where the euthanatia rate is as high as 85%. Many were never taken to the shelter by their owners... they were picked up on the streets as strays by animal control. Our extraordinary rescue partner "Unity Thrift and Rescue" in Kern County has contributed to these life saving rescue missions. It takes a small army to save these dogs.
~ Jimi's Angels ~
Changing the lives
one dog at a time.
Shannon at South Central ShelterSours: https://www.barknbitches.com/adoptable-dogs
Disturbing Footage Catches a Los Angeles Dog Rescue Store Employee Throwing Pup to the Ground
A prominent dog rescue and pet shop in Los Angeles often frequented by celebrities is under investigation after an employee violently grabbed one of the dogs by its neck and hurled it across the room — a disturbing moment that was captured on film.
The video, which was posted to Twitch by user RipRoyce, begins inside Bark n’ Bitches located on trendy North Fairfax Ave and shows a number of dogs running around inside the shop and barking.
However, things quickly escalate when a beige dog appears to get into a scuffle with a smaller dog near an employee. As this happens, the worker reaches into the crowd of yelping pups and grabs the one beige dog by its neck.
“Stop,” she tells the canine before violently tossing him across the room.
After being grabbed by the neck, the dog can be heard crying but quickly goes silent when it hits the ground, which is apparent by the loud thud that can be heard in the video.
The pup then immediately runs underneath a nearby bench, while multiple customers go to check on the pooch.
The person recording later clarified that the loud thud turned out to be the beige dog traumatically landing on its head.
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“Holy s—, dude. Where is the baby?” the woman recording says, before locating the hiding dog. “Are you okay?”
“That’s not okay,” another person can be heard saying.
“No, he landed straight on his head,” the woman recording adds.
Following the disturbing encounter, the video was posted to Twitch and multiple people inside the shop, as well as viewers around the world, reported the incident to officials.
Bark n’ Bitches, which operates as a pet store but also rescues and rehomes dogs, eventually addressed the incident on their Instagram with a general statement, followed by a video by the shop’s owner Shannon von Roemer.
“There was an inexcusable incident in the shop tonight,” read the first post. “We will not tolerate this or any actions that put our rescues in harms way. The appropriate actions are being taken. This is NOT what we stand for.”
In the caption of the post, von Roemer apologized for the incident and clarified that the dog was okay and had been taken to a veterinarian.
“My deepest apologies for this incident,” she wrote. “The dog was playing and acting normal after this horrific incident. She was taken to the vet and was cleared 100%. We are grateful. #rescuedogs #inexcusable #rescuedogsrule”
Von Roemer also noted in the video that this was the first time in nearly 14 years that something like this had occurred at her business and that the employee had been fired from her job.
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“There was a horrific incident — intolerable incident — that happened at the shop this evening. First, I want to thank everybody who reached out, who emailed us with their concerns because it’s definitely a big concern of mine as well.”
“We’ve been in business for almost 14 years and this is a first,” she went on. “I want you to be, rest assured, that all actions will be taken to make sure that this doesn’t happen again. I do want you to know that the employee is no longer with us and that the dog is actually doing fine and did go to the vet.”
At this time, it is unclear how Von Roemer plans to ensure that this never happens again and whether the employee will be facing animal abuse charges.
In a statement to PEOPLE on Thursday afternoon, the Los Angeles Police Department’s Animal Cruelty Task Force said they were “aware of the incident” and “investigating the matter.”
Brenda Barnette, a general manager at Los Angeles Animal Services, also confirmed to PEOPLE that the investigation was open but could not comment on whether the employee will be facing charges for her actions.
Von Roemer did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
A number of celebrities have previously adopted their furry family members from the store including Zac Efron and singer Khalid.
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