ANGELS CAMP — The owner of the Pet Bath House grooming and boarding business was arrested Saturday on several charges including animal cruelty.
The dogs and their owner were among 475 families who lost their homes in the massive Butte Fire two years ago. Police say the owner was boarding his pit bulls at Pet Bath House while looking for a permanent home for them. They say he paid in advance. But then there was trouble.
Vonna Hughes told the owner his dogs had gotten into a fight and she was hurt trying to break it up. Police said Hughes never reported the incident to Calaveras County Animal Services and had the owner pay for the damages.
Days later, according to police, Hughes called the owner again to tell him the dogs had been put down.
Police arrested Hughes on Saturday after she was accused of putting the dogs down illegally, and the bodies of the dogs were nowhere to be found.
“She doesn’t know how to treat animals. She really doesn’t,” David Crowe, Hughes’ next-door neighbor, told FOX40. “I would be crushed. I feel horrible for the family that lost their dogs.”
Pet Bath House averages two and a half stars on Yelp, with several accusing Hughes and her staff of mistreating their animals.
Others say Hughes could not have done anything malicious to the animals.
“She takes really good care of my dog. I got an Australian Shepard she just took care of two days ago,” one customer told FOX40. “She’s great.”
Still, the dogs are unaccounted for. Angels Camp Police allege Hughes had somebody “take care of them.” That person was later identified by investigators of 60-year-old Patti Guy, a neighbor and former employee of Pet Bath House. Police are currently looking for her.