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Former Riverview dog groomer speaks out about video investigation

Click to play video 'Riverview dog groomer still getting hateful messages online following video posted on social media' Riverview dog groomer still getting hateful messages online following video posted on social media
WATCH: It’s been a year and a half since a video of a Riverview dog groomer was posted on social media, causing outrage. The incident was investigated by the SPCA, which did not lay charges. But the groomer is still getting hateful messages online and is now choosing to tell her story. Shelley Steeves has more – Jan 12, 2021

It’s been a year and a half since a video of a Riverview, N.B,. dog groomer posted to social media caused outrage in the community.

No charges were laid against the groomer named, Krista Steeves, following an investigation by the New Brunswick SPCA.

But Steeves says she continues to get hate messages on social media and has now come forward to Global News to tell her story.

“I have been called every word in the book. I have been told to go die,” said Steeves.

Read more: No pending charges against dog groomer subject to animal abuse allegations, N.B. SPCA says

Steeves says it was her in the video posted to social media in July 2019, which showed a groomer appearing to act aggressively towards a young golden doodle.

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“I do apologize for the video because it is awful and it hurts me to watch it because I know that is not who I am,” said Steeves.

Now opening up a shop in Minto, N.B., Steeves says she has received Facebook messages from people in the community saying, “get the F out of town, you make me sick.”

“I opened up and I love this little town and all of a sudden it started again,” she said.

Steeves said she did not come forward with her side of the story more than a year ago because she was in consultation with a lawyer and “I was in shock and I just wanted things to calm down.”

She said what people see in the video is not the whole story.

Click to play video 'Moncton groomer calls for better policing of the pet grooming industry' Moncton groomer calls for better policing of the pet grooming industry
Moncton groomer calls for better policing of the pet grooming industry – Jul 16, 2019

Steeves said the seven-month-old doodle in the video she was trying to groom was severely matted and aggressive.

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“He was trying to bite me like a snapping turtle. I could actually hear the teeth coming together right here in my face,” she said.

She says she was forced to muzzle the dog, which became so agitated it began to try to jump off the grooming table.

“I was scared he was going to break his neck and he did it more than once,” she said.

She says she lowered the grooming table almost to the floor and she placed an extra leash around the dog’s hips to help keep him on the table.

“I used my knee as more of a wall to stop him,” she said, saying she did not knee the dog.

She says she was exhausted and frustrated and should have asked her co-worker for help.

“I apologize for anybody who felt sick, awful, angry when they saw the video because I did, too, because how it looked was not how it was like,” she said.

Read more: Moncton groomer calls for better policing of the industry following ‘disturbing’ Facebook video

She says she believes the video was posted to social media by a former co-worker with whom she has had conflicts in the past. She claims the video was taken four months before it was posted online.

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In November 2019, The New Brunswick SPCA (NBSPCA) said there would be no pending charges against a Moncton-area dog groomer.

“The NBSPCA was notified recently that following a review of the file, the decision was made by the Crown Prosecutor that there will be no pending charges in this case,” the SPCA said in a release.

The NBSPCA will not comment any further on the investigation. But Olivia Justason, deputy chief animal protection officer, said, “we also do not condone the harassing behavior of the public towards any individuals.”

“Too often we see inappropriate and threatening comments on social media, and at times threatening behavior in person, towards people who have been under investigation and/or convicted of animal abuse or neglect,” she said.

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Coronavirus outbreak: N.B. dog groomers reopening their businesses – Apr 28, 2020

She said it is best for the public to not pass judgment on situations where they do not have any first-hand information and to “allow the appropriate authorities to do their jobs of investigating incidents and presenting evidence to the Courts.”

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She added that when charges are laid, or are not laid, “it is for a reason”.

Meanwhile, Steeves, who continued to groom animals in her home in Salisbury before opening the shop in Minto, says she has gotten support from people in the community and clients she continues to serve.

“I do understand that everybody’s dog is like their child. I have four of them — I know,” she said, adding that she would never abuse an animal.

“I am probably still going to get hate messages.”

But she said she is moving forward after the ordeal. And after telling her side of the story, she is asking people on social media to “stop and think before they judge people because not everything they see is the truth.”