A TRIP to the salon could prove to be expensive for all parties
concerned, after a canine haircut ended in legal action by
Fashion designer Eric Way took his pedigree Bichon Frise Storm to pet groomer Dan Thomas, with the instruction not to trim him too short and to keep to the show style, but was horrified when the animal's luxuriant coiffure was shorn to within an inch of its life.
Mr Way, who says Storm now looks like a skinhead, is considering suing the offending salon for the distress and anxiety caused to the dog and himself.
"When Storm was delivered back to me both he and I were in shock," said Mr Way. "I couldn't believe that such devastation could be wreaked on such a sweet animal. He was no longer the dog I have come to love."
There is now some considerable doubt whether Storm, with his new but unwanted £105 short back and sides, will be able to meet several high-profile engagements on the fashion circuit, for which he is famous.
Mr Way has already been forced to cancel four appearances and the dog's attendance at a charity dinner to be held next month at the Chelsea Physic Garden is in jeopardy.
"We are hoping and praying that Storm recovers in advance of the dinner," said Leonor Stejpic, a director of the Galapagos Conservation Trust, the charity in whose aid the event is being staged.
"He just doesn't look like Storm. He looks like a mangy old terrier," said a spokesman for Mr Way yesterday. When you send your dog to a pet groomer you expect them to look after the animal," he added.
"It's like sending your child to nursery. You don't expect them to come home bald. We are considering legal action for the distress and anxiety caused to the dog and to Eric.
"But all the legal advice in the world won't make Storm's hair grown back."
Mr Way maintains that when Storm was delivered to pet groomer Dan Thomas he specified in writing that his favourite animal should not be too heavily trimmed.
Mr Thomas, however, claimed that Storm looked like a sheep that had not been sheared for five years and decided that a short back and sides was the only humane way to proceed.
"When Storm came to us you could not see his eyes. His hair was matted all over his head," said Mr Thomas. "He came with a note saying to do the body and legs but leave the head and tail alone.
"Well there was no way of grooming out the matted hair on the head in a painless way. There should not be any element of pain to grooming. I always do the most humane thing and so I stand by my decision to cut."
Mr Thomas, who is the head of the grooming department at Pet Pavilion in London, described as "the place for the dog about town", has bred champion Bichon Frises and says that he knows what he is talking about. Mr Way, however, who has designed for the actress Charlize Theron, says that he will never leave Storm at the salon again.
"I just hope that if I can save one other dog from the same fate then Storm's predicament will be vindicated.
"My advice would be: never leave your pet alone with a groomer, stay with the dog at all times."
It is thought it could take at least three weeks for Storm's coat to return to its former glory.