Woman arrested for animal abuse
A 56-year-old Big Pine Key woman who runs a pet grooming business out of her trailer was arrested Thursday for failing to properly care for a customer’s dog that later had to be euthanized.
Cynthia Lynn Hodakowski, who operates the business out of her home on the 30900 block of Nathalie Road, was charged with one count of animal cruelty.
A owner of a 6-year-old Airedale Terrier named “Mercy” took her dog to Hodakowski’s business on Oct. 16, 2017. When she went to pick the dog up, she noticed it was not able to walk or stand on its own, which was odd given it was usually very energetic. She later took it to a veterinarian. The veterinarian started an IV and began treating the dog for heatstroke. The dog’s condition deteriorated over the next two days and eventually the veterinarian recommended the dog be put down due to kidney failure as a result of heatstroke.
The Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals investigated. A second opinion by another veterinarian also stated the dog’s symptoms were likely due to heatstroke. A third veterinarian performed a necropsy. That veterinarian also agreed the dog likely died of heatstroke. He stated a dog being groomed in direct sunlight while wearing a muzzle would contribute to heatstroke.
Hodakowski told Lower Keys Det. David Cruz she grooms the dogs outside and did not have shade in the area due to tree damage from Hurricane Irma. Hodakowski told Det. Cruz the owner gave the dog a Benadryl previous to dropping it off at the business. The owner said she did give the dog Benadryl to calm it before leaving it at the business. She also told Deputy Cruz she put a muzzle on the dog  and that it appeared dehydrated.
The investigation and meetings with several veterinarians took several months. A warrant with a $25,000 bail was obtained Wednesday.
Hodakowski was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center on Thursday.