My husband and I bought an American Bulldog puppy from this backyard breeder early in 2011. I foolishly went with a backyard breeder even though I know better because I fell in love with a picture of one of her pups. I asked Laura Harmon if her pups were vaccinated and she assured me they were. She arranged ground shipping. Just days before the pup was to leave TN on his trip all the way to Calif., by van, she mentioned the pup had only been given one vaccination, and that was at 6 weeks of age.
Having been a vet tech for 12 years before I retired, I knew the pup needed a series of vaccines, given at approximately 8 weeks and every 2-3 weeks until around 16 weeks of age, and that the immunity of his one and only vaccine had worn off. She promised to vaccinate him before he left on his journey in two days.
When we received the pup the van was stuffed full of many other dogs, but all looked well, besides a driver telling me one of the dogs had had explosive diarrhea on the trip out. That caught my attention. Sure enough, only 4 days later, our pup became ill. Perfect timeline for Parvo. He had traveled with other dogs that the owners had not even had to show proof of vaccination for! This was just outrageous to me. The breeder told me this after we'd already received the pup. I was appalled.
He had vomiting and diarrhea, listlessness and refusal to eat--all signs of Parvo. We took him to the vet that very same day, and the diagnosis was confirmed. The puppy almost died twice in the next 10 days. There was a lot of heartache for us, to say the least, as we had already become hopelessly attached to him. We could not afford it, but felt we owed it to the pup to try to save him. When he finally recovered, our total vet bill came to nearly $3,000.
I informed the Laura that the pup was hospitalized, and that the second vaccine had not had time to work (takes 10 days to 2 weeks for immunity to develop). Had she vaccinated him on the PROPER schedule, which is every 2-3 weeks, he would have had immunity. She ended up, after much pleading with her for at least a week, giving us back the purchase price of the pup, but refused to give us a single penny to go toward the vet bill. Nothing I could do, as I would never have sent a sick pup back to TN in the shape he was in. He would not have survived the trip.
Laura said I should have let her have the dog examined by her vet. How could I do that, when she's 2,000+ miles away? Send the pup on a road trip that far when it is deathly ill? This shows what a lack of common sense she has.
And if this is not bad enough, at 8 months of age the puppy suddenly started to attack our other dogs. These attacks were completely unprovoked. If a dog just walked by him, he would lunge at them, latch on, and not let go. He would shake them like a terrier does a rat. It was vicious, and we could not get him to let go, no matter what we did. He seemed intent on killing the other dog. I've also been an obedience instructor in the past, and I've never seen anything like this. The behavior was also completely unpredictible, even after we neutered him just weeks after the first attack. At times he would be fine, only to attack again at any time, with absolutely no warning.
The day he lunged at, and bit me, (and drew blood) for admonishing him for going after another dog, I realized there was a serious problem. A trip to the vet revealed a normal exam and bloodwork. The vet told me she felt strongly that it was probably a genetic trait in the bloodlines. In other words, it could have been in the gene pool of the dogs Laura Harmon is using for breeding.
Discipline did no good at all, in fact it escalated his aggressiveness. The last time he attacked, we had to literally choke him until he nearly passed out to make him let go. He was very unstable and you never knew when he might attack. I emailed the breeder, was very polite, and told her what was going on. I told her we were not able to control him when he attacked, and that the vet had told us she was very afraid for our safety.
The breeder sent back a very cold email saying that her dogs do not have bad temperaments. I asked her if she would take the dog back if we split shipping charges with her. She would not even consider it. This is a breeder (back yard breeder) who claims she loves her "babies" to death and would do anything for them. Yet when our dog needed help the most, she was completely uncaring and uncompassionate.
In my opinion she does not stand behind her dogs. She refuses to even consider the fact that this trait could be running in her dogs' bloodlines. I feel that if a person takes on the responsibility to breed dogs, they should be willing to take back any dog that has any physical or psychological defect that could be due to faulty breeding. She says none of of her adults or their puppies have had any problems, but my pup was from her first litter, and is only 17 months old. Its early in the game. All the other pups she's sold are much younger, so this problem cannot be ruled out for any of her subsequent pups in the future, and pups she is selling right now.
These kinds of things sometimes do not show up until a dog is sexually mature. Laura seems to have no knowledge or education about how important bloodlines are. You don't just put two dogs together because they are the same breed and just hope to get quality.
I want to warn people out there who are considering buying an American Bulldog to stay away from this kennel. They are not reputable. I suspect she's still only giving her pups one vaccination, and she uses a "herbalist" to diagnose instead of taking her dogs to the vet. She even told me that her herbalist, after hearing about my dog's aggression, recommended a certain herb to cure him! He's not a vet, and even if he were, no vet would diagnose without seeing an animal.
Buy your American Bulldog from a REPUTABLE breeder, where the pup's well being always comes before making money. She also claimed my dog would be over 100 lbs. (We wanted a very large one), and he's barely 79 lbs. She deceived us in more than a few ways.
David and Laura Harmon do not research their bloodlines for genetic defects and do not give their dogs the necessary vaccinations to keep them safe. If I can save just one person from the heartache we've been through, then this report has been worth it.