WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)—Never in her 22 years as being the owner of Margot’s All Breed Pet Grooming did Pat Stafford think that the oldest pet grooming shop in Wichita Falls would go up in flames in a single night. Yet, that’s exactly what happened at 1 ‘o’clock in the morning on March 20th.
“The fire department was called by a neighbor across the street, she saw smoke pouring out of the building…We found out somebody had kicked in the back door and went to go steal the safe. Our safe was bolted to the floor and so they used some method of fire to burn the floor out so they could take the safe and they left with it, but left the building to burn and so everything inside was totally destroyed,” says Stafford.
Margot’s was founded 47 years ago by a German woman, and over the years, established a large clientele of thousands of dogs and cats from all over Texoma. The building that burned was their main hub for washing, grooming and clipping for the pets.
Pet groomer, Rachel Cradit was the first to arrive on the scene after the fire was put out, and was also the first to notice this was no accident.
“I walked over and there’s a big old cinder block in the hallway and I looked at the officer and I said, ‘Sir, this isn’t supposed to be here'”says Cradit. “I walked over to the door and just tapped the handle and the entire side of the frame was broken and there was a big ol’ footprint on the outside of the door.”
As an open arson investigation continues, Pat has her own suspicions as to who could’ve burned the shop.
“It’s somebody that had been in the back part of the shop and that knew where the safe was and that there was one.”
On top of losing their safe with less than $400 inside, they also lost all of their client information in the computer, pictures of pet they’ve collected over the years, thousand of dollars worth of equipment, and a very dear friend named Pepper.
“We had a shop kitty, and we did lose her in the fire. She greeted 30-40 people every day, she’d jump up on the counter and lick them, she would rub up against puppy dogs, I’ve never seen a kitty cat that knew no stranger…”
Despite this tragedy, Pat plans to go on and with a newly revised shelter-in-place ordinance, her pet grooming services has the green light to continue among the ashes.
“Before the fire happened, we already had plans to do a curbside service, so we got out gloves, we’ve got our masks, and we’re going to come out to our clients cars with a sanitized leash.”
Pat adds it’s extremely important for their operation to continue, as pet grooming not only makes your pet look adorable, but it’s a necessity for their health and wellbeing.
In 6 months time, Pat says Margot’s grooming should be back up and running. In the meantime, they’ll operate in a close but temporary location, creating new memories while keeping the old ones alive in their hearts.
This act of arson and theft is a Crime Stoppers Case so if you have any information on this crime, call them 24/7 at 940-322-9888.
Also, Pat is asking former clients to get in touch with her and, if they can, send in any pictures of Pepper or their pet to their facebook page.