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San Mateo, CA Police Department
Monday May 16th, 2016 :: 03:14 p.m. PDT


SMPD MEDIA MESSAGE: SMPD Arrests Pet Groomer for Animal Cruelty

On Sunday, May 15th at about 5:15 PM, SMPD officers responded to a pet supply store in the 3500 block of S. El Camino Real on a report of a dog that had died on the premises.  Officers arrived and spoke to the dog owner, a 47-year old San Mateo resident, who indicated he had brought his 1-year old male Dachshund to the store to be groomed.  About 3 minutes later the pet groomer, later identified as 38-year old Juan Zarate of San Francisco, came out of the grooming office holding the dog and explaining it was now suffering from a medical emergency.  The dog was visibly bleeding from the mouth and having trouble breathing.

Zarate took the dog to the on-site veterinarian who took emergency measures to try and help the animal, recognizing immediately that the dog was struggling to breathe.  Despite those efforts, the animal died just a few minutes later.  A post mortem X-ray of the dog determined it had suffered two broken ribs and a punctured lung.  Subsequent investigation by SMPD Officers determined that deliberate actions committed by Zarate likely contributed to the animal’s death.  Zarate was arrested at the scene and booked for Felony Animal Cruelty.  The Peninsula Humane Society – SPCA took custody of the deceased animal and will conduct a necropsy in the coming days to ascertain the nature of the injuries and specific cause of death.


Juan Zarate

Age 38

San Francisco Resident


SMPD does not have available booking photos – for booking photos, please contact the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office at [email protected]  For follow-up questions regarding this incident after he suspect’s arraignment, please contact the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.


This is a tragic case of animal cruelty and thus, led to decisive action in the arrest of the alleged offender.  As you know the pets in our community can’t speak for themselves, so its inherent on all of us to be alert to the signs and symptoms of animal cruelty and neglect.  The Peninsula Humane Society - SPCA and SMPD would like to remind everyone that ANY sign or suspicious behavior that may indicate cruelty or neglect of an animal should be reported immediately either to your police department or to the P.H.S. at (650)340-7022.  For more information go to:

Please remember the mistreatment of animals can take many forms beyond just visible injuries or wounds.  Animal cruelty includes simple neglect, pet hoarding, “puppy farms”, and animals bred and trained specifically to fight.  Our community should uphold a zero-tolerance policy for all forms of animal cruelty and neglect and do everything we can to protect these cherished members of our community and families.

The following is more information provided by to help identify common signs of animal cruelty and neglect:

Physical Signs of Cruelty

·         Tight collar that has caused a neck wound or has become embedded in the pet's neck

·         Open wounds, signs of multiple healed wounds or an ongoing injury or illness that isn't being treated

·         Untreated skin conditions that have caused loss of hair, scaly skin, bumps or rashes

·         Extreme thinness or emaciation—bones may be visible

·         Fur infested with fleas, ticks or other parasites

·         Patches of bumpy, scaly skin rashes

·         Signs of inadequate grooming, such as extreme matting of fur, overgrown nails and dirty coat

·         Weakness, limping or the inability to stand or walk normally

·         Heavy discharge from eyes or nose

·         An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal

·         Visible signs of confusion or extreme drowsiness


Environmental Signs of Cruelty

·         Pets are tied up alone outside for long periods of time without adequate food or water, or with food or water that is unsanitary

·         Pets are kept outside in inclement weather without access to adequate shelter

·         Pets are kept in an area littered with feces, garbage, broken glass or other objects that could harm them

·         Animals are housed in kennels or cages (very often crowded in with other animals) that are too small to allow them to stand, turn around and make normal movements

San Mateo, CA Police Department
200 Franklin Pkwy
San Mateo, CA 94403

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 650-522-7700

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