Groomer sentenced to 180 days after twisting service dog’s tail to the point that it had to be amputated

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — A Brevard County groomer was sentenced Monday after he was caught on video injuring a dog in 2019 to the point that its tail had to be amputated.

James Suthann was working at Groomingdale’s Pet Salon in the 500 block of Jackson Avenue on Feb. 6 when he began to bathe a service dog at that location, arrest records show.

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Deputies said that during the recorded washing, Suthann can be seen repeatedly inflicting pain on the animal by “inhumane methods” of washing.

The video also shows Suthann aggressively handling the dog by twisting the dog’s tail, attempting to muzzle the dog, using a neck restraint and striking the dog in the head with a spray nozzle.

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Suthann’s attorney argued that the dog had a previously fractured tail that had been fused as evidenced by prior X-rays and that Suthann had not been informed of the injury by management, or that the dog needed to be handled gently.

A judge sentenced Suthann to 180 days in the Brevard County Jail, followed by three years of supervised probation after he entered a plea of no contest to one count of cruelty to animals and causing death, pain or suffering.

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Suthann was also ordered to pay restitution for the dog’s medical expenses and barred from owning or working with animals during his probation.

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Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.