Rival dog groomers in £50,000 battle over ‘Wash Wiggle and Wag’ name

Rival dog groomers in £50,000 battle over ‘Wash Wiggle and Wag’ name

Laura Thurgood and Danielle Laight are at war over their two dog grooming businesses (Picture: Champion News)

Rival dog beauticians are wrapped up in a very expensive fight that’s even led to a vicious online smear campaign.

Canine groomer Laura Thurgood is suing her former business partner Danielle Laight, 28, over rights to use the name ‘Wash Wiggle and Wag’.

She is also claiming that she has been ‘viciously’ libelled in a series of texts and on social media.

Ms Thurgood, who runs her dog grooming business in the West Midlands, says that when she sacked her former partner, Ms Laight then took to social media to smear her.

Ms Laight said Ms Thurgood’s business had ‘resulted in a number of dogs being injured and their owners incurring large bills from vets to treat the injured dogs in question’.

By suing she is aiming to stop Ms Laight from running her own dog beautician business in the same area under the ‘Wash Wiggle and Wag’ banner.

Ms Thurgood and Ms Laight both run their dog groomer businesses around Redditch in the West Midlands (Picture: Getty Images)

She is also asking for damages of £50,000 for libel and ‘passing off’ the trade name as her own.

Ms Thurgood currently operates around Redditch, Solihull and south Birmingham.

But Ms Laight is fighting back, insisting that the rights to the name are hers and insisting her claims about her rival are ‘substantially true’.

Ms Thurgood’s barrister Ian Silock said his client set up a thriving dog grooming business called ‘Wash Wiggle and Wag’ in the West Midlands covering a 30-mile radius, according court documents lodged at London’s High Court.

She bought a dedicated mobile grooming salon, which she operated from the back of the van all around her chosen area.

In June 2018, Ms Thurgood and other family members teamed up with Ms Laight,another local canine groomer, so they could grow the business.

Ms Thurgood (pictured) brought Ms Laight on board in June 2018 to help grow the enterprise (Picture: Champion News)

They brought Ms Laight on as a contractor as part of a business agreeent.

Ms Thurgood then claims that her business really took off over the next two years, bringing in over 700 clients.

And Ms Laight carried out around 2,600 appointments for her business.

But the two women’s working relationship broke down and in May 2020, Ms Laight terminated their partnership by leaving a letter in Ms Thurgood’s van.

Ms Thurgood’s barrister says that since then Ms Laight has stolen the name ‘Wash Wiggle and Wag’ for her own dog grooming business.

He said Ms Laight used the name to carry on running her business around Redditch and falsely accused Ms Thurgood of being the one who had stolen the name.

Mr Silock also referenced the alleged ‘vicious’ libeling across Instagram, Facebook and texts by Ms Laight of her former partner.

It is claimed that Ms Laight sent texts to Ms Thurgood’s customers like the following: ‘After receiving calls from customers it seems the van I was previously using is back in action and covering Solihull areas with a ‘new groomer’.

‌’The owners Robert, Jim and Laura Thurgood are pretending I am turning up for grooms, then leaving customers no choice with a new groomer on their doorstep.

Danielle Laight terminated the agreement after her working relationship with Ms Thurgood broke down in May 2020 (Picture: Champion News)

‘As a result of this I have had injured dogs owners on the phone with large vets’ bills now needing to be paid. THIS IS NOT ME AND I NO LONGER WORK WITH THEM!

‌’PLEASE only use my number and my name if you are wanting to book with me. I will be making sure my name ‘Wash Wiggle & Wag’ is no longer used by them.’

‌Ms Thurgood seeks the damages because she claims the social media messages ‘constituted a vicious attack upon, and seriously undermined, the claimant’s character and integrity, as well as her established professional reputation for providing dog-grooming services’.

She said over 40 client bookings have been cancelled because of the alleged smear campaign.

Mr Silock added: ‘As a result of the publications Ms Thurgood has suffered and is continuing to suffer significant stress, anxiety, upset, embarrassment, and humiliation.’

Ms Thurgood is suing Ms Laight for £50,000 (Picture: Champion News)

But in her written defence Ms Laight insists Ms Thurgood carried on her work under the names ‘Doggy Style’ and ‘Scruffy2Fluffy’ rather than the ‘Wash Wiggle and Wag’ name.

She claims she registered ‘Wash Wiggle and Wag’ in good faith under her own trade name four years ago.

Ms Laight says the disputed text messages to customers were ‘substantially true’. She claims to have received messages from several customers complaining about receiving visits from Ms Thurgood’s groomers when they had expected to see her instead.

‌Ms Laight’s barrister Robert Whittock said: ‘The customers complained about the treatment provided and that their dogs were injured as a result.

‘‌One particular complaint concerned a dog called Archie which had required a trip to the vet and incurred a significant vet bill.’

But countering this Ms Thurgood’s barrister said no dog had ever been injured under her care.

‌He did add: ‘The claimant accepts that one of the dogs groomed by, for or on behalf of her business suffered a minor allergic reaction and/or minor skin irritation as a result of its grooming session, but it was not injured, and it did not require significant veterinary treatment or expenditure as a result.’

Ms Thurgood is suing both Ms Laight and her company, Wash Wiggle & Wag Ltd.

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