SLIDELL, La. Police arrested the owner of a pet grooming salon and charged the 42-year woman with cruelty to animals, according to a release from the Slidell Police Department.
Christina Stewart, who owns A Jazzy Dog on Pontchartrain Drive, was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, according to Slidell Police spokesman Daniel Seuzeneau.
Near the end of January, Stewart became the target of a joint investigation by Slidell Police and the Animal Control Division for Slidell.
Seuzeneau said the investigation was launched after 'two employees came forward to file an official complaint against Stewart citing severe animal cruelty allegations. The witnesses stated that Stewart would frequently slam the dogs onto the grooming table and proceed to choke them with a leash. During one occasion, Stewart aledgedly hung a dog in the air causing the animal to go into a seizure. In other instances, Stewart would grab a dog's face and would slam it into the grooming table, or would strangle the dogs,' said Seuzeneau.
As investigators were looking into the allegations, a woman who worked for Stewart for less than a day came forward with additional allegations of animal cruelty, according to Seuzeneau.
The woman was asked to show her grooming skills on an older dog. 'The potential employee was attempting to groom the dog, but the dog refused to stand up on the grooming table. Stewart interjected and said, 'Watch this. If they won't stand, this is what I do,'' said a statement from Seuzeneau. 'Stewart then picked up the elderly dog and slammed him on the grooming table multiple times. Stewart then slapped another dog off the grooming table, causing the animal to dangle from the leash for at least twenty seconds. When the potential employee tried to help the struggling dog, Stewart pushed her back and said that she would handle it.' The woman immediately left the salon.
When detectives questioned Stewart about the animal abuse allegations, she said she was only disciplining the animals if they refused to listen, but never abused them. Stewart refused to answer any further questions.
Stewart was arrested at her salon Friday afternoon.
Slidell Police is asking anyone who suspects their animal was a victim to contact the Slidell Police Criminal Investigations Division at 985-646-4347. The case is still under investigation, and more charges could be filed at a later date.