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Elite Doodles' owners send statement to customers following dog's tragic death – KTUL

by Gavin Pendergraff, KTUL Staff
A statement from Doggy Doodles/Elite Doodles owners was sent via email to customers and shared with NewsChannel 8 regarding the tragic death of a dog named Atlas. This is also following the arrest of both the former dog groomer Diego Angel, who was arrested for allegedly mistreating and killing Atlas during a grooming appointment, and the owner of the dog grooming business Rebecca Rutherford who was also charged and arrested following the death of Atlas.
RELATED:Justice for Atlas protestors rally against the opening of a new dog grooming location
The owners of Doggy Doodles and Elite Doodles have allegedly received many death threats as a result of the situation.
"Hi from Chris & Beckie. We are reaching out and should have a long time ago, but the shock of this tragedy, overwhelming hate, and thousands of death threats took time away from responding or being able or stable to respond with clarity. We are still searching for clarity and will still be searching for many days to come. We apologize and pray that you somehow understand and find it in your heart for forgiveness. Please read this all the way through. We are trying to be humble and bring good from this horrendous tragedy."
The owners claim that local media has misrepresented the facts and have painted the businesses as a whole as Atlas' killers and not just the former groomer Angel.
"First off, Please don't be a victim of social media hate and lies and the local news channels, radio stations, and newspapers misrepresenting the facts. There has been an overwhelming amount of excessive hate, lies, and misrepresentation throughout the city and the world over the last three months. Beckie and I did not kill Atlas. We are not murderers and killers that the haters and protestors are trying to push you to believe. Nobody hurt Atlas that day but Diego."
The owners go on to explain the faith they had in Angel's ability to groom dogs and the trust they had when it comes to handling the dogs with care and respect.
"Diego did all of this on his own. It's all on video from start to finish. It makes no sense why or how anyone could do what he did. Diego groomed our three dogs. We trusted him with our dogs. It could have been one of our dogs that died that day. Diego had as much dog grooming experience as anyone in the grooming industry. Every dog salon in Oklahoma sought him out, and Diego showed us texts with job offers daily from other dog grooming shop owners. Diego also showed dogs nationally and was well-respected in the dog show community. Diego also groomed /prepped dogs at the dog show before they went out on stage/in the arena. Diego was with us for over two years. No criminal record nor any drug or alcohol issues. First, one to work every day and last to leave."
They describe the situation as an unexplainable tragedy and share the impact this has had on their personal lives.
"We are in shock. To us, it's as if a demonic spirit entered his body that day to be able to be that abusive/cruel because It is so unexplainable. We have the video running through our minds before we go to bed and first thing as we wake every day and will for the rest of our remaining lives. It just makes no sense why this would happen. Nobody should ever hear or see such a horrendous, abusive tragedy as this one."
The owners go on to explain how the threats are unwarranted and detail the threats they have received.
"We are good people and more caring than any salon out there. Yet, we are getting death threats daily, wanting to kill my family and especially death threats towards my youngest three-year-old daughter and my three dogs. We don't understand why Diego lost it that day. He never showed any sign of being unstable. We had no idea this would or could happen. Only God knows."
They go on to describe the people not directly affected by the incident who have expressed outrage about the tragedy as 'haters' and say the public has construed the reality of their knowledge of the incident immediately following Atlas' death.
"Haters are trying to say we hid behind the truth by a text we responded to asking, "What did Diego say when you first asked him what happened." The answer was, "he said the dog had a seizure." The haters ran with this and blasted it on social media, saying that we were telling people that and that we were saying this instead of what happened. The truth is it was an answer to a question with Diego's response to a question I mentioned earlier. So basically, making it look like Beckie and I were hiding from the truth and lying about the incident."
The owners elaborate on allegations of them "running from the truth" when it comes to their rebranded business name now under Elite Doodles when it was still under Doggy Doodles at the time of Atlas' death.
"Another huge lie is that we changed our name to Elite Doodles when this incident happened and were again hiding and running from the truth. The truth is we had the Elite Doodles name in effect, and the business sign was in production three months before this incident happened. We also signed a new lease at a new location under Elite Doodles 2 1/2 months before the incident. Elite Doodles was already in the works, and the plan was to turn Doggy Doodles into a dog grooming school to help all the groomers with quality groomers and better staffing. We shared this with many clients and other dog salon owners/staff that we were recruiting for teachers to staff the future dog grooming school. All of this was in the works before Diego did what he did."
The owners again further expand on their claims that local media has been trying to gain attention and views from stories like this. They also say that no one has the right to hate, blame, or have a sound opinion on the matter unless they have experienced the tragedy personally.
"We don't run and hide or lie. It's easier to talk bad about someone than talk good. We are all guilty of it. Talking bad about people and hating will get you more attention, likes, and followers than talking good or showing love. Social media gurus literally bank off this concept and have used this tragedy to increase traffic to their sites, increasing followers and ads they profit from. The news channels survive on this concept and will sell ten times the amount of commercials and increase viewers 100 times more through misrepresented sad/hate media vs. love/kindness stories. We get the anger and the hate when we have the unconditional love that a dog provides to humans who do not have this capacity. It can emotionally affect you when a pet is hurt or abused to extreme anger and hate, and you become BLIND to logic. We get it. If this was our dog that died that day. We would at first blame everyone and anyone within a 3-mile radius of the salon, but logically, you can't do this, especially when you have 110% proof and a video to back up that Diego did all of this on his own. Again, Beckie & I naturally did not know this day would happen. Only God knows. Nobody has the right to hate or blame us or have any sound opinion in this situation unless they have experienced this tragedy personally."
They reiterate the lasting impact this situation has had and will continue to have on them.
"Again, we get it; we are angry, and we are distraught and will never live a day without this tragedy running through our minds. Again, we are scarred for life and do not wish this situation on anyone, especially their family or family member or business that feeds their family for survival. Hate solves no problems; only love can."
The owners share a plan that are pushing for in honor of Atlas to prevent tragedies like this in the future.
"So, to honor Atlas and bring good to a harrowing, disturbing event, we will be doing things differently at our salon NOW and reaching out to Governor Stitt, Mayor G.T. Bynum, and top city officials to put a pet service ordinance in place for every facility that provides care or services to a pet. This ordinance will require every pet care/service to have a video surveillance system in every room our pets are in, which will be monitored weekly or monthly by animal control to protect our pets to the utmost level. We will also push to require weekly drug testing of all staff members in the pet care/service industry to keep our pets safe and protect the owners of the pet care service businesses from any tragedy like the one we, unfortunately, had to experience with Atlas. There is a huge substance abuse problem here in Tulsa and surrounding communities in the grooming industry. There are many unreported incidents and dog grooming salons with no video surveillance or drug testing because they don't want you to know or see what happens in their shop. These ordinances start bringing good and respect to Atlas and save or protect future tragedies from possibly happening to another loved pet."
They go on to further explain the reasonings behind pushing for these ordinances.
"So, we are bringing good from this situation instead of allowing and letting the haters with no logic hate and destroy families and their livelihoods. #1 Only God knows; only God knows why this tragedy happened and why Diego lost it that day and did what he did. We can't play God and blame and hate others who did not harm Atlas that day. We have to reach for love and logic over hate and anger in this situation, or nothing good will ever come from it, and that is what God wants and prefers us to respond and react to in this horrible situation."
The owners say they were born to lead and come from a family of leaders which is why they want to bring good from this bad situation.
"The haters want to shut you down and ruin your name in every way, so you give up and quit because that is what they would do if they were in this same situation. Little do they know that we have resilience flowing through our veins and come from a family of leader types, including doctors, teachers, preachers, coaches, and law enforcement. We are born to lead, and leaders at heart never give up and bring good from bad situations! Bringing good is our purpose and God's way to serve and give back."
They go on to provide various ways for customers to feel secure bringing their dogs there including allowing them to stay with their pet while they are being groomed.
"Additional ordinances and practices will be put in place besides the two I mentioned above; the two I mentioned are very important and need to be done ASAP. We at Elite Doodles will be doing the things I mentioned anyway. We will also allow any pet owner to come for a tour, meet their groomer, and stay with their pet while their loved pet is being groomed. We will also have all ten cameras linked to big screen TVs where you (the client) can't sit and watch your loved pet being bathed, groomed, and cared for in the comfort of our lobby setting with couches and chairs."
The owners end their statement by explaining why customers should feel safe bringing their dogs there for grooming.
"We have a very upscale salon, by far the cleanest and safest salon layout in Oklahoma. We are not saying we are the best, but we are 110% going to give it our all and make you feel safe and comfortable in every way with every experience."


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