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San Mateo, Calif. — A PetSmart dog groomer will be arraigned next month on a felony animal cruelty charge after police say he likely contributed to the death of a dachshund in his care.

Police in San Mateo, California, say 38-year-old Juan Zarate was about three minutes into a grooming session Sunday when he brought the dachshund to its owner with a bleeding mouth and trouble breathing.

An on-site veterinarian wasn’t able to save the dog. An X-ray revealed two broken ribs and a punctured lung.

Police say Zarate’s deliberate actions likely contributed to the dog’s death.

The San Francisco man’s uncle, Gustavo Zarate, tells KGO-TV that he’s “very surprised” and knows his nephew is “innocent.”

A PetSmart official tells the Los Angeles Times that Zarate has been suspended while an internal investigation is conducted.

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