Tearful testimony at trial of dog salon owner

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Former employees of a Forsyth County pet salon say they watched the shop’s owner kick and choke a dog that later died.

Owner Michelle Root is on trial for animal abuse.

Channel 2's Berndt Petersen was in the courtroom during the tearful testimony of employees.

An employee claims her boss started it by kicking the dog.

"And then she proceeded to drag him through the store, and hit the wall and the tub that was in the hallway,” Lisa Ryals testified.

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Police say it happened in October of last year at Root’s shop in Cumming called Paw’sh Paws.  "A 3-year old dog in perfectly healthy condition,  that we dropped off in the morning is now deceased,” Eric Francis said.

His owner insisted the Terrier-Mix named Meko was not an aggressive animal.

"Meko was as sweet as can be.  He'd sleep on my pillow every night,” Mavel Blanco testified.

Root’s attorney did not give an opening statement, but his cross-examination of witnesses appeared to suggest the dog injured itself when it ran loose in the shop.

Former salon employee Lisa Ryals says Meko had a tight leash around his neck and that he was choked.

"I saw Meko's neck. The dog was hanging and he fell on the table. I said, is he dead?  Please tell me he's not dead,” Ryals testified.

Former employees of a local Petsmart also testified.  They say when Root worked there, they saw her kick dogs.  Testimony continues Wednesday.