I purchased a Weimaraner puppy from American Breeders Network in Middletown, NJ on December 20th, 2005. I did not take possession of the puppy until December 21st because the dog had not been checked by the house Veterinarian yet, and although I was assured that the puppy had seen a vet previously, they needed to have their vet check my dog before she could be released. I was told that they had to charge me for the dog or they would not hold her for me, and after the vet saw her anyone could purchase her unless I bought her on the 20th. I filled out all of the paperwork on the 20th and made a deposit of $500.
The following day, I was instructed to fill out the paperwork again with December 21st as the sale date and told that the puppy was healthy and ready to go. I was further instructed that she would be lethargic and may sneeze as if she had a cold, but that the symptoms would go away in a few days. I took my puppy home and my daughter was thrilled to have a new friend. We named her Skye. We had just purchased a home with a large yard and had been anxiously awaiting a dog; it should have been a perfect Christmas.
My puppy did show signs of a cold, just as the salesperson had said she would. My vet is very flexible, so I took my dog to the vet the next day. She was given an exam and some medicine but still seemed ok. My vet told me to watch for any coughing or mucus discharge, and bring her back immediately if there was any change in her. The puppy seemed sleepy, but I was told she should sleep at least 20 hours a day. I thought the medicine had worked and she was going to be fine.
By the 25th, I could tell that something was wrong. The dog seemed to have a cold. My vet was not in on Christmas day, so I went on the 26th to my vet for the second time in less than a week.
The dog was given a shot of penicillin and put on antibiotics. The vet was concerned, and diagnosed her with severe bronchitis, and gave me my first of several unfit for sale forms for Skye. I phoned American Breeders and informed them that I had purchased a dog from them that was unfit for sale. I spoke with Joe who was very curt and said, Yeah, it's kennel cough; it happens a lot when you deal with puppies, can't be helped.
I was then told to fill out some forms so that I could be reimbursed for my expenses, but that a separate company was responsible for these costs. I was told to send all original copies of my Pet Health Warranty Contract and vet bills to an office in Colorado, and I would have my money back in two weeks. I completed the forms, made copies, and sent them out on 12/27/05. I was also told to fill out and fax a form to American Breeders.
Skye continued her antibiotics and seemed to stabilize. They were very strong, and I was told by my vet that her stomach would probably cramp, and she may vomit. Skye was a trooper about it and took her meds and rested. She was given a diet of rice and boiled chicken as she could not chew hard food on her own because she was so weak. On the 29th, I awoke to Skye covered in mucus, and very lethargic. The sight of her terrified me, and she had taken a turn for the worse. I rushed her to my vet who looked at my puppy and said that she would need to keep her.
Skye had developed pneumonia and it was such an extreme case that they kept her in the hospital until January 5th, 2006. The vet also gave me my second unfit for sale form that listed her additional diagnosis. I had recently lost my grandmother to cancer, so the sight of my little puppy suffering tormented me. I cried often and worried that I would call the vet and hear that she had passed away at some point. Luckily, I was able to come and pick Skye up. I knew that she would need additional medication to begin treating her intestinal parasites, and medicine for the pneumonia, but when the vet brought Skye out to me, she was nothing more than skin and bones. I have never seen a dog so sick. The situation just drove me to tears. She was on medication most of January.
I called American Breeders a few times while the dog was in the hospital and after she was released. While she was in the hospital, I spoke to Joe about the mounting vet bills. Her estimated cost was over a thousand dollars for the hospital stay. After having paid $1400 for a dog I only had at home for a few days before her hospitalization, the vet bills were a burden. Joe basically rushed me off the phone stating that I should not concern myself with money; it was the dog's well being that mattered. He would not discuss reimbursement with me.
Of course I wanted my dog to be well, but I should have had a healthy puppy with a fighting chance, not a puppy with pneumonia and parasites that would have died without the treatment. I also wanted to know what was being done to prevent an outbreak in the kennel as dogs were allowed to chew on the same toys, pass the same areas, and even sniff each other while they were in the play areas. I was told it was only my puppy that was sick.
My vet bills so far are $1214 not including medication for the pneumonia and parasites. This does not include regular visits and boosters, just her illness bills for the first 16 days I had her, 8 of which she spent in a hospital where I was unable to see her.
Finally Skye started to eat well and act livelier, but she did not behave like any other dog I have ever owned. Skye began to cling to me. She would also bark constantly when I was not in the room with her. Skye also began using her barking and biting to try and control my behavior. She began demonstrating fearful aggression. Whenever I would walk in a direction away from her, she would jump up and bite me wherever she could. She would bite on people's legs as they walked past and drew blood on many occasions. Skye also hates to be in the yard.
If I walk beyond a certain point in the yard she will bark non stop until I take her inside the house. If she is confined to the kitchen, she defecates everywhere, in spite of having been outside long enough to go to the bathroom. At night, Skye barks until she vomits, and then continues until she exhausts herself. My family has not slept in two months. Skye is suffering everyday. She is never content or calm; she is always anxious and desperate. She is hand shy in her crate, and fears people she does not know. If I give any attention to my daughter, Skye will bite my daughter and urinate on my leg or near my foot. My daughter does not play with Skye because the dog inevitably hurts her. My mother who has suffered several strokes and lives with us suffers greatly from the noise and lack of sleep.
Skye urinates and defecates indoors and in her crate no matter how many walks she goes on. Skye needs to be bathed every day. She has to be crated at night, and will urinate in her crate every night. I spoke to a salesman, Matt, on the phone about her behavior, and his claim was that I spoiled the dog by doing clicker training and giving her constant attention. Of course this was not the case.
Matt also stated there was no such thing as separation anxiety this coming from a 20 year old who claims to be a certified dog trainer. He recommended a choke collar to dominate her. The sad part was no matter what I said, he made her behavior issues my fault even though I had consulted professional trainers and had owned several dogs in my lifetime. Further, the dog was always sick, so I was not able to have her with me for large portions of time.
I did not spoil the dog. Matt said to crate the dog and only allow her out for a half hour of play time. His other suggestion was to ignore the constant barking and cover her cage or remove her from the areas the family was in. Matt also stated that we would have to come in for training session with Matt, but Matt is not a licensed trainer and I did not want to bring a sick dog to a kennel with other sick dogs. Matt would not train her anywhere but inside the store. At this point I simply wanted my money back, but I was told this was not possible unless I returned with Skye for training at the store and they decide she has a temperament issue.
My vet certified that Skye does have a temperament issue and issued me a third unfit for sale form. At this point, I have battled illness, biting, barking, aggression, and potty training issues. The dog is unstable and is causing harm to my family. My only hope is to have the nightmare end at this point. I have to leave my home to get some quiet because nothing will stop the barking. I tiptoe through rooms so that the dog doesn't hear me passing and start barking again. I have spent over $500 on training and training aides. I am fearful of a four month old puppy. Skye is now medicated because of biting and separation anxiety.
I researched the breeder that Skye was purchased from. It turned out that Skye came from a puppy broker that deals in puppy mill puppies. Skye came from Missouri through the Hunte Corporation. Her breeder's name is different on all of her paperwork. They used the town Skye came from as the breeder name on one form. I can't verify her pedigree. I paid more than I would have for a show quality dog, and Skye is much smaller than she should be. She probably isn't a pure bred dog, and her papers were falsified, so there is no way to determine if she was inbred. All behavior problems point to careless inbreeding, producing puppies with rage syndrome.
I have tried to return the dog on several occasions. The store always refuses. I tried to give them the paperwork within the state mandated time frame, and they refuse to take the papers, disconnect their fax machine, laugh at me, and refuse certified letters. They flat out refuse to accept any unfit for sale forms and would always tell me to contact another company in Colorado, but in the contract that the store and I signed, it states that they would refund vet bills within 10 of notification.
This obviously did not occur. They have broken the terms of the contract several times. Not only do they consider this issue a game, Bruce DeGraw actually told me to my face that he and his wife owned the company that sold me the dog in December, but they sold the store in January, so it is now called American Puppy Club, and in his words, I can't do a d**n thing about it. I called the police because he screams at me and calls me names if I come near the store to give in additional paperwork to support my claim. On one occasion because I had called the police, he agreed to take the dog back.
Bruce then put a choke chain on my dog and began to use the choke chain to train her. I had to walk away because I couldn't stand to see how he trained the dog and he was trying to provoke me so that I would seem irrational. When the police arrived, he started calling out to people, who wants a free dog and making a fool of himself. A half hour later after the police left, Bruce said the only way he would accept the dog was if we signed a paper that stated that we would be refunded the purchase price of the dog and none of the vet bill. The form that Bruce at American Breeders Network of NJ wanted my husband and me to sign also stated that the dog was completely healthy and that we were returning her for personal reasons and would no longer have the right to enter into litigation against them. Because I wouldn't sign a document that was false, Bruce took the sheet from me and told us to leave.
Even though I was guaranteed that they would take the dog back for temperament issues, they won't. Health issues don't get a response from them either. Now that I have had so many problems with this pet store, I have searched for other complaints about them. The list of complaints is endless as are the names that this store has operated under.
When the name of the store changes, the employees all remain the same. The inventory remains the same. The only thing that changes is how they answer the phone. Bruce, Joe, Beth, Kelly, and Matt have all misrepresented the dog and their policies to me. They are using a legal loophole to steal money from people and don't have any guilt for what they do. I can only advise that no one EVER under any circumstances buy a dog from this store regardless of the name. This store that sold me a puppy mill dog from the Hunte Corporation and is located at 1876 Route 35 South in Middletown, NJ. Please be aware that they sold me a dog before a vet had seen her.
I wish I knew then how horrible this place is. My dog has had parasites, general infections, pneumonia, anxiety, and is currently experiencing hip and knee problems. She walks bowlegged and we need several hundred dollars in tests to confirm hip dysplasia and or other joint issues that may require surgery. We have now invested over $3000 on this dog with no end in sight. No amount of money can repay me for the sleepless nights, the exposure to parasites, the disappointment this has caused my daughter, the embarrassment of being lied to, and the harassment by the employees or owners.
Belford, New Jersey