A Baltimore dog groomer, Celeste A. Rainone, 53, owner of Grooming By Celeste, got a 90 day jail term and 3 yr suspended jail sentence in the death of Nancy Pine’s poodle’s death. She will also be on 18 month of supervised probation after her release.

In February, Pine had taken Rajah to be groomed and when she didn’t hear back from the groomer 5 hours later, more than twice as long as it normally would take for Rajah’s grooming sessions, she began to get worried and called the groomer. Two hours later Rainone’s fiance brought Rajah and deposited him on Pine’s floor.

“He couldn’t even hold his head up. He was barely conscious,” Pine said.

Ten hours later Rajah was dead. A necropsy revealed that he had suffered acute liver injuries, broken ribs, and internal bleeding and might have been strangled.

“There must be something wrong in your life or in your head or with you that someone who for 53 years has loved animals” would cause a pet’s death, Baltimore County District Judge Barbara R. Jung told the defendant.

The judge also ordered the woman to surrender her grooming license and to pay $2,371 in restitution to cover Pine’s veterinary bills and the cost of the necropsy. “It can never, ever, ever compensate her for the loss of Rajah,” Jung added.

Rainone is scheduled to appear in court again next week on charges stemming from injuries to another dog. She is accused of injuring a 4-year-old Maltese named Chesney in June 2006. Darlene Andrzejewski, the pet’s owner, told police that Chesney returned from the groomer limping and with urine, feces and blood in his fur, court records show.

The groomer told Andrzejewski that the Maltese had bitten her and “needed to be put down,” according to the charging documents.

“I had no intention to hurt Rajah,” she said, her voice barely audible through her sobs. “I’ve never had anything like that happen. I’m sorry that I snapped. I can’t control it. It happens when I’m sleeping.”

The comments were an apparent reference to the diagnosis of a psychiatrist who evaluated Rainone at the judge’s request. Reading from the evaluation in court, defense attorney James Farmer said that his client had surgery in 2004 for a cerebral hemorrhage, has suffered occasional seizures since then and was also diagnosed with a panic disorder.

Source – Baltimore Sun

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