Innovative and creative, maybe. Moving on with the times toward automation, arguably. Animal cruelty? Definitely!
Sometimes I just don't understand people. You want to get a dog/cat, keep it, feed it, play with it, and so on. But part of the deal when having a living, breathing creature who feels happy, sad, frighten, angry, and pain, is to love it, take good care of it, cherish it, and protect it.
Cleaning up and bathing a dog is part of an owner's responsibilities! In fact, its an excellent opportunity for man and dog to bond and get closer than ever! I always ask myself this, would a father or a mother put their own sons and daughters into a similar situation? Don't these lovely cats and dogs deserve your love and care, too?
Why are people so lazy that they'd rather chuck the poor thing into a machine? Imagine how stressed the dog and especially cat will be when the dryer turns on, with all the noise and mayhem in such an enclosed space?
I'm not sure about you, but to me, these people are being a bit too "clever", and it is just not right...
Verdict: Animal Abuse. Animal Cruelty.