Employee fired after viral video shows puppy being thrown back into cage
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(Screenshot from viral Facebook video)

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A cell phone video went viral on Monday after it recorded a Chapel Hills Mall Pet City employee repeatedly grabbing and shoving a puppy as it tried to exit a kennel. The puppy was caught several times between the cage and door as the employee attempted to shut it. 

Pet City issued a statement online saying that the employee on the video had been fired and that the mishandled puppy — and a second puppy seen in the video — were undergoing physicals with a licensed veterinarian. 

"Pet City is wholeheartedly committed to the care and well being of our pets," the statement read. "We found this behavior to be unacceptable and the employee has been terminated."

The pet shop also said it was conducting a mandatory meeting for staff members to review proper handling of the animals. 

The video was posted by Michele Edling and recorded by her daughter. Edling said she posted the video because it made her "sad and furious." It has since gone viral on Facebook, with thousands of shares and more than 1,000 angry comments. 

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Each Pet City location is individually owned. The owner of the other Colorado Springs location, in Citadel Mall, said she also was frustrated with how the puppy was treated, but maintained that it is not how situations are typically handled.

"The employee in the video didn't follow proper procedure," she said, asking that her name not be used because of security concerns. "Our policy is to slow down and ask for help."

The pet shops are regulated by the Department of Agriculture and receive visits when similar complaints arise. The Humane Society also was present to inspect the shop, as well as the puppies at the veterinary clinic. 

"We take a lot of pride in our transparency," said the Citadel Mall shop owner. "We even invite people who want to know more to take tours of our locations." 

The owner says she encourages her employees to maintain transparency by allowing visitors to watch them conduct daily business, such as giving the animals baths.

The official vet report hasn't been posted yet, but the owner at Citadel Mall said she had heard the puppies in the video were both "happy and healthy." 

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Multimedia Journalist

Liz is a multimedia journalist with a specific interest in environment and outdoor recreation. She watches way too much Star Trek and is working toward her rescue scuba divers certification. Liz joined the Gazette staff in 2019.

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