Robertson Co. couple purchased puppy with life-threatening illness from a breeder, wants refund
“It is the consumers, the people who are buying dogs, that suffer.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A Robertson County couple said a local animal breeder sold them a Pomeranian with a life-threatening illness, and they are worried other people might be buying sick dogs too.
WSMV4 Investigates looked into what you need to do to make sure the pet you are purchasing is healthy.
Tammy and Peter Hobbs were ready to make a teacup Pomeranian a part of their family. “This was going to be our little foo-foo dog,” Tammy said.
They bought the dog, Lucy Lou, from Julia Schklar of Home Style Kennel in Springfield. Shortly after, they noticed something was wrong.
“She was absolutely lethargic,” Tammy said. “She did not stay awake at all.”
Just four days after purchasing Lucy Lou, a vet diagnosed her with Parvo. In a letter from the animal hospital, the vet noted it was a life-threatening illness.
“I was pretty upset and distraught because even though we only had that dog for four days, we had really bonded with this dog,” Tammy said.
So, how can this happen?
“Animal bills, unfortunately, have difficulty in Tennessee,” Sen. Jon Lundberg of Bristol said.
Lundberg said the puppy breeding industry is fairly unregulated in Tennessee despite his attempts to introduce legislation.
“It is the consumers, the people who are buying dogs, that suffer,” Lundberg said.
According to a Michigan State University study, 22 states have some form of pet purchaser protection act, like a Puppy Lemon Law. They often require sellers to have a vet check out the animal before it is sold and offer a solution if a deceased animal is purchased. Tennessee has no such law. Lundberg said it is entirely up to the consumer to do their research.
“Go out and visit,” Lundberg said. “Talk to folks. You have to be more aggressive in how you search.”
Meanwhile, the contract the Hobbs family signed with Home Style Kennel did have a five-day health guarantee. The contract offered a replacement puppy or a refund if a puppy had a life-threatening problem.
When they tried to get a refund, Schklar told them in a text message, “The best I can do is put her back online for sale... I will give you the money that I sell her for.”
WSMV4 talked to Schklar on the phone regarding the situation, but she ultimately said she had no comment.
The Hobbs hope their story makes others more cautious when shopping for a pet. “Your heart is in this kind of transaction,” Hobbs said. “I know they are just property, but they are not to the person who is buying that pet.”
The Hobbs said Schklar told them she resold Lucy Lou and a check was in the mail. They said they never received it. As for a solution for others in this situation, lawmakers said peoples’ best bet right now may be to file a civil suit.
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