GRAPHIC WARNING: The story includes descriptions that some may find disturbing.
PIKE COUNTY, Ind. (WFIE/Gray News) – The owner of a dog grooming business is in jail after police said she tortured the dogs in her care while intoxicated.
Authorities charged Christy Aufdemorte on Wednesday with one count of felony cruelty to an animal (torture) and two counts of misdemeanor cruelty to an animal.
The affidavit said that in early August, a dog owner reported to the police that her dog was strangled by Aufdemorte, the owner of Doggie Styles Pet Grooming in Petersburg.
The woman told officers Aufdemorte had her dog for several hours. She said the shop was very messy, and there was blood everywhere.
The woman said an employee told her Aufdemorte put a noose on the dog, and every time it did something, she would shove him off the table and hang him until his tongue turned purple.
She said Aufdemorte also hit him in the head with her scissors and said, “You need to go to heaven.”
The employee also said Aufdemorte drank half a bottle of whiskey before grooming the dog.
She said Aufdemorte told her not to say anything and said she hoped she wasn’t recording.
The dog owner said Aufdemorte sent her threatening messages because of her social media posts about the incident.
The woman’s report in August followed a complaint in June from a woman who told police she worked there briefly.
She asked Aufdemorte about working at the business, and Aufdemorte asked her to come in right away.
The woman said when she arrived, there were several small dogs shaking and trembling, and Aufdemorte seemed drunk or on something.
The woman said she was told to wash the dogs, and Aufdemorte told her she was being too gentle.
She said she was told to put shampoo in their faces and spray their faces with a high-pressure sprayer. The woman said Aufdemorte was also bathing the dogs with cold water and drying them with cold air.
While she was there, she said dog owners were calling and saying their dogs were supposed to be ready hours ago.
The woman said she saw Aufdemorte cut dogs’ nails too short, causing them to bleed.
She said she also saw her nick a dog’s ear, grab animals by their scruffs and slam a dog’s heads down.
She said Aufdemorte told her the dog was “used to being abused.”
The woman said she confronted Aufdemorte about it, told her she could keep her money and left.
Police said when they called Aufdemorte about the claims, she told them it was disrespectful to call her at 6 p.m., and she began crying and yelling when asked about the abuse.
Officers said she denied any claims of abuse, telling them there were “evil people” living in town who wanted to ruin her business. They said she claimed to be a “world-renowned” dog groomer.
The affidavit goes on to detail other customers’ reports of similar incidents.
Police said Aufdemorte had been using the alias of “Carrie Russell” on Facebook. They said she has a criminal history in California and Texas.
Bail was set at $50,000.
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