Dog strangles while in groomer's care

John Hilliard

A local dog owner is heartbroken after her 3-pound Yorkshire terrier hanged itself on a leash after a "negligent" groomer left it alone to soak in a bathtub.

"I'm really disappointed in the whole thing, I'm saddened. ... He was like a child to me," said the dog's owner, Natick resident Irene Manoloules.

The owner of the grooming business says she will help cover the cost of replacing the dog, who died Saturday.

Lisa Boughton, owner of Groomingdales, said she has filed a claim with her insurance company and will help cover the cost of the 14-month-old Yorkshire terrier.

"She definitely will be getting something," said Boughton.

Manoloules' 3-pound Yorkie, Scrappy, was being trained as a therapy dog for nursing homes, Manoloules said. She brought her pet, along with a second dog, to be cared for at Groomingdales on Nicholas Road at 9 a.m., she said.

"He was a very cute little Yorkie" who won several prizes, said Manoloules.

Boughton said her 21-year-old assistant placed the terrier into a special bathtub to soak in shampoo. The assistant, she said, left the dog alone for a few minutes. She returned to find the terrier strangled by the leash meant to secure it from running away. The dog appeared to have leapt from the tub, Boughton said.

Boughton was dealing with customers at the time, and saw her assistant giving the dog CPR.

"I can honestly tell you that the young lady is scarred for life. She's at a therapist right now," said Boughton yesterday afternoon.

She said her assistant was negligent in leaving the dog alone. However, as the owner of the business, Boughton said she is responsible.

Manoloules came back for her dogs at 4:45 p.m., and was told one of her dogs was dead. Scrappy's body was taken to a veterinarian for an autopsy.

Manoloules said she notified the Animal Rescue League, which referred her to an attorney. She has not spoken directly to Boughton since Saturday and is waiting to hear whether Boughton's insurance carrier will pay for her pet's death.

"I was very upset about it. I cried, even the people at work are worried about me," said Manoloules.

Boughton said she had not heard from her insurance company as of early yesterday evening. Boughton has agreed to pay $75 to have the dog cremated.

Boughton said she believes the death won't hurt her business. Firing her assistant, she said, "wouldn't accomplish anything for me" because she needs the extra help.

"My customers will follow me anywhere ... we're very sought after," said Boughton, who said she managed Petco stores in Manhattan for six months.

Reached by phone yesterday, Boughton said she works seven-day weeks at the business she bought in May 2007. The workload injured her arm, plus she hurt her hip, which limits her physical activity, she said.

She said the workload and injuries, along with a limited personal life, has Boughton considering whether to move closer to family in South Florida. She said the potential move has nothing to do with the dog's death.

John Hilliard can be reached at 508-626-4449 or