A crowd of about 20 to 30 people gathered outside of Fins, Furs “n” Feathers, 9302 Fourth Avenue, on Tuesday, August 18, to protest, after a dog was picked up following a grooming session, unconscious and near death according to its owners.
Upon picking up their toy poodle, Junior, from the grooming session at the Fourth Avenue shop on Sunday, July 26, Chrissy and Nicholas Tzivas rushed the dog to a vet.
“Usually his haircuts take about three hours. He was there for approximately six hours,” Nicholas said. “We called several times; they kept stalling. They kept telling us that he needs a little more time and at about 6:30, we finally decided to go there. When they brought him up, the dog was practically dead.
“He was unconscious,” he continued. “He couldn’t stand on his own feet, his tongue was hanging out of his mouth. [The vet] told us to expect the worst because chances are, he wasn’t going to make it.”
According to the Tzivas family, Junior was transferred to Blue Pearl animal hospital where he spent six days in the ICU.
“That [first] night in the hospital, he should have died,” said Kim Tzivas, who started a “Close Down Fins, Furs “n” Feathers” group on Facebook. “They [wanted] to put him to sleep, but they didn’t. Now he’s going to live with seizures for the rest of his life. He’s just not the same dog, he doesn’t bark anymore, he doesn’t do anything, and that’s at their hands.”
“Our goal is to have this place shut down,” said Nicholas, “because no pet, no animal, no family, should ever have to go through this.”
When confronted inside the store, Frankie Generoso – who identified himself as Fins, Furs “n” Feathers manager — showed this paper hospital documents and gave a tour of the downstairs area where the dogs are groomed.
“She has no proof,” Generoso said. “She no [sic] bring us to the court. If you groom your dog, and you find him in a bad condition, what do you do? Do you pay the groomer? Do you call the cops or not? Why she didn’t do this?
“Another thing, we have a voicemail [from] her vet,” Generoso went on. “He said [what happened] is not because of the groomer and we have all the papers. And what she did yesterday, she threatened us; we have it on the camera. I help animals. We always help, but if she has the proof she’s welcome.”
A few of the store’s longtime customers were at the protest as well, in support of the groomer.
“I’ve been a customer of Fins, Furs “n” Feathers for quite some time. My dog is 11 years old. I’ve been bringing her here since she was two,” said Jennifer Salazar. “I used to take her to another pet store and she was not happy over there. She would start getting nervous. The minute I brought her in here, she would walk in like nothing. When I pick her up, she comes out happy. I’ve never seen any cuts on her, nothing. “
Nonetheless, this is not the first allegation of animal mistreatment at the store. According to reports obtained by this paper, a man by the name of Bechir Bejaoui, a groomer at Fins, Furs, “n” Feathers, was arrested in 2007 and faced animal cruelty charges in 2008 in connection with the alleged abuse of a Burmese cat.
Sergeant Michael Murphy, commanding officer of the Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad, confirmed the reports and said that “there was an arrest made,” but could provide no further information about the case or its outcome. Reports that date back to 2008 said Bejaoui was 23 at the time and could have faced up to one year in jail if convicted.
After calls to the Brooklyn district attorney’s office, and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), this paper was told to fill out Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests to access any court documents in connection to Bejaoui.