South Florida groomer accused of beating dogs in his care ‘on a daily basis’

Dogs would ‘tremble in fear and often cry,’ fellow groomer tells deputies

Plinio de Camargo (PBSO/Copyright 2022 Google)

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. – Deputies arrested a South Florida dog groomer after they said he was seen in multiple videos abusing dogs in his care.

Plinio Roberto de Camargo Jr., 47, who owns American Dog Pet Grooming, located west of Boca Raton, was taken into custody Friday and charged with two counts of animal cruelty.

According to an arrest report, a man called Palm Beach County’s animal control division to report that his wife, a groomer at the salon, was “devastated” about witnessing abuse at the facility and sent the videos to an animal control officer.

The man, who reported the case to officials on behalf of his wife, because she only speaks Portuguese, reported that the abuse prompted some groomers to resign.

Deputies wrote that in the first video, de Camargo, while blow-drying a black poodle in the sink, was seen “forcefully manhandling the dog, grabbing the dog by the back of the head, pulling the dog’s hair and pushing the dog down into the sink.”

The second video shows de Camargo punching another dog with a closed fist and then striking the dog with his right hand, the report states.

“The dog yelps and cries and appears to be in pain from the man hitting it,” deputies wrote.

In the third video, de Camargo is seen blow-drying a small white dog in the sink, “grabbing the dog by the back of the head and twisting the dog’s hair while lifting it up,” according to the report.

The report states that in the fourth video, de Camargo “picks (a) dog up by the hair on the back of its head and the hair on the dog’s body to carry it over to the sink. The dog yelps when (he) picks it up by the hair.”

In the fifth, he holds “a small tan dog by the hair on the back of its head while he was attempting to groom the dog on a grooming table,” deputies wrote.

The groomer, whose husband translated for her, told deputies Thursday that de Camargo “abuses dogs on a daily basis by hitting them with his hand, a brush, a nail file, clipper, or other grooming items.”

She saw de Camargo “twist a dog’s paws and limbs and pull on a dog’s hair while striking it,” the report states.

“(She) said the dogs Plinio grooms tremble in fear and often cry,” deputies wrote.

The groomer believed that de Camargo “gets frustrated when dogs misbehave and hits them so they will stop moving,” saying that another groomer would often take over when he became upset, at which point the dogs would be “fine.”

The woman told deputies that it was “obvious” that the dogs didn’t like de Camargo, the report states.

On Thursday, the woman sent deputies a video showing de Camargo smacking a Goldendoodle in the face, at which point, the dog yelped and cried, a deputy wrote.

The report states that other employees told deputies that they frequently heard dogs in distress.

It’s not the first time the man reported the abuse to officials. The report states that in May, the groomer’s husband reported that a dog died of a heart attack after suffering abuse from de Camargo, but the case was closed due to insufficient evidence.

He told deputies that when de Camargo abuses a dog, the co-owner of the salon would tell owners their dogs were “stressed and had a difficult time being groomed,” the report states. She would then tell the owner to “keep an eye on their dog and to take it to their veterinarian.”

De Camargo, a Brazilian national, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

About the Author:

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.