A dog groomer charged with animal cruelty was briefly in court Monday for a scheduling hearing that has him returning to court in late October.
The online outrage about this case brought supporters of the dog to the courthouse, where they demanded justice. Diego Angel arrived for court early on Monday, before his critics, who were eager who make their voices heard. Most have only known of him through the video that was spread online, showing a poodle named "Atlas" being beaten and choked before the dog dies at the end.
A dozen people were at the courthouse, but most missed the brief court appearance.
"That was more than abuse. He murdered that animal. Atlas doesn't have a voice anymore, so we're here for him, to stand up for what's right," said Tiffany Tillman.
Tiffany Tillman lives near the owner of the four-year-old poodle named “Atlas,” who died during a 20-minute grooming session by Angel.
Tillman and a dozen other people gathered in the courthouse for a hearing, but most of them missed the brief time Angel was in court. He left with his lawyer without comment, and his next court date is in October, where he will answer the charges and enter a plea.
Anna Calhoun says she once worked at Doggie Doodles and says Atlas was easy to groom. That's how he appeared at the start of the 20-minute session that ended with him flailing and then falling limp after a beating.
“Atlas was a joy to groom. I had no issues with him,” said Calhoun, who is as outraged at the others who did not stop it, as she is at the man accused of the beating. “It was uncalled for. You don't do that to any dog, period. If you're that flustered, you need to step away and not groom, take a break, but you don't ball up a fist and punch a dog, you don't drag them around, and you sure as hell don't choke ‘em."
Atlas appears docile at the start of the grooming session, but after taking numerous punches, becomes more agitated, eventually flailing and falling off the table while secured in a leash holding him by the neck.
“He was the sweetest animal you could ever be around,” said Tillman, “just so happy, loved to chase balls, and he’s gone now, and we’re heartbroken.”
Image Provided By: News On 6
Angel didn't comment after his court appearance, on the advice of his lawyer. The supporters of Atlas, including his owners, say they're going to follow the court case, however long it takes. While this is a felony case, Angel is not in custody while he's out on bond.
Tulsa Animal Welfare officers arrested a dog groomer after viewing a video they say shows a dog being beaten, then partially hung from a groomer's lead inside a South Tulsa grooming business. The dog died.
Investigators visited Doggy Doodles Grooming to investigate after an employee reported a coworker had beaten the dog on Sept. 1, but it wasn’t until they viewed a video of the beating that they had evidence to arrest the groomer, Diego Angel.
After the arrest warrant was issued, Angel was arrested at a dog show in Elk City, Oklahoma, and returned to Tulsa, where he was jailed. He has since posted bond and been released.
The dog, a four-year-old poodle named Atlas, was taken in for routine grooming according to his owner, who said they had used the business several times before.
He said the owner called and told him his dog had suffered a seizure and was taken to a veterinarian, where he died.
Investigators said they started an investigation after the co-worker's tip and later got the video from inside the business that confirmed the account.
The video shows the dog dying after a man, who investigators say is Angel, beat it, then suspended the dog in a head-high position using a lead on a grooming table. After the pole holding the lead was adjusted higher, the dog never moved again on the video.
The officer obtained a 20-minute video showing the beating from two angles.
It happened while several other people were working nearby, sometimes within steps of the groomer.
After the dog is unresponsive, he is removed from the table, where the video shows Angel and others trying to revive it, then taking the dog out to a nearby vet clinic.
Investigators later took the dog for a necropsy in Stillwater.
Angel is charged with a single felony count of cruelty to animals.
The video obtained by News On 6 shows the dog and groomer together without incident for more than 5 minutes after the dog is carried into the room.
Eventually, as the dog resists some drying, the video shows a man beating him on and off over another 10 minutes while the dog becomes increasingly agitated.
At one point, the dog is taken into another room, which investigators said was for washing, and then returned into view where more beatings happen.
Eventually, the dog is dragged off the table, and investigators say it appears the dog was choked by the groomer. The results of the necropsy have not been released, and the first hearing in the case has not yet been scheduled.