The family of a dog who died while in the care of a New Hampshire dog groomer is speaking out about the horrific tragedy.
Beth Bessemer, 57, owner of Mrs. Doolittle’s Bath House in Hampton, turned herself in to police Wednesday and was charged with animal cruelty.
Police said Bessemer allowed a simple haircut to go terribly wrong.
"Teddy was just so special," said Joanne Schwope of North Hampton.
Schwope says her five-year-old golden retriever was so much more than just a pet.
"He was a truly beloved member of our family and we truly, truly miss him," Schwope said.
On June 21, Schwope dropped Teddy off at Mrs. Doolittle’s Bath House to be groomed. When she returned to pick him up, Bessemer told her Teddy had died.
"I just kind of went into shock at that point, I don't remember a lot after that," she said.
Once Schwope's vet finished the necropsy and gave her the results, she filed a police report.
"Teddy died of heat stroke," Schwope said.
On Wednesday, Hampton Police charged Bessemer with two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty.
"We're not claiming it was a purposeful act, we're saying it was a negligent act," said Hampton Police Sgt. Alex Reno.
He said Bessemer allegedly put Teddy in a crate, tied a noose around his neck to hold him in place, pointed a heated dryer at him, and then left the dog alone.
"It's pretty hard, I know he suffered, and that breaks my heart," Schwope said through tears.
Bessemer's business was locked, dark, and mostly empty on Thursday.
As for Teddy’s family, they hope his story is a cautionary tale, one that will save another family from what they call unnecessary heartbreak.
"For people to just be aware, ask questions ask to see where their pet is going to be," Schwope said. "Don't take anything for granted, because I did, and that was my biggest regret."
Through all of this, Schwope learned there is no licensing requirement for groomers in New Hampshire. Now, her family is on a mission to change that – in honor of Teddy.
"If you brought your child to daycare you’d expect a certain standard," she said. "To me, they're no different and they don’t have a voice."
Bessemer was released on her own recognizance and is scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 30 in the 10th Circuit- Seabrook District Court. She has been prohibited from contact with other people's pets as part of the conditions of bail.
It's unclear if Bessemer has an attorney.