I receive numerous e-mails from people because of my story. Reasons being that they have gone through a similar heart-wrenching experience or to tell me how sorry they are to hear such a horrible story or just to thank me from discouraging them from purchasing a pup from them.
I purchased a Shih Tzu, which I named Giorgio, from the National Breeders Association in Middletown, NJ. On that very evening, the dog began sneezing frequently and I became immediately alarmed. I called the National Breeders Association and spoke to one of the employees, Becky, to let her know the condition of the dog, as well as to obtain some advice on what to do. Becky advised me to keep Giorgio warm and she instructed me to keep a close eye on him. The puppy's condition worsened within two days; the sneezing never ceased, he wasn't eating on his own, and he began coughing with an increasing intensity. Again, I called the Association and this time spoke to Tanya, the woman who actually sold me the puppy, and her only remark was that Giorgio's condition was normal and he probably caught a cold in addition to kennel cough. She advised me to seek veterinary attention for the puppy if I felt the situation necessitated this measure. Without hesitation, I did. The doctor stated that Giorgio was "unfit for sale" and that his health condition would probably improve within 10 days or so with the proper medication and attention.
I had been in the process of house breaking Giorgio through the common practice of crating; however, because of his poor health, I was concerned that the normal process of housebreaking him would aggravate his condition. I did not think it was fair to crate him for 6-7 hours during his period of sickness while I went to work.
My main concern was that the dog be brought back to good health, therefore, I called the Breeder's Association to let them know that I had no choice but to return the puppy because he needed close medical attention which I couldn't properly provide. I expressed to both Tanya and Joe (owner of the Association) how appalled I was that they would sell an animal to anyone in this condition, and their remark was that Giorgio's ailment was quite common and normal.
Well, Giorgio's condition should be neither common nor normal. On March 27, 2004, the puppy was returned to the facility and Tanya and Joe gave me three offers. The first was to exchange Giorgio for a different puppy, which I instantly and vehemently rejected as I was strongly attached to Giorgio and, in my opinion, puppies are not like a pair of jeans to be exchanged for a different size, color, or fit.
The second choice was for me to take Giorgio at a reduced price of $1500 (original price $2378.94) and provide the necessary medical care myself or leave Giorgio with the National Breeder's Association until he got better and then buy him back at that discounted price of $1500. I chose the last option. What ensued was a verbal agreement between National Breeders Association and me that I would re-purchase Giorgio as soon as he was well and fit for sale. I had complete trust in the Association to provide the best medical care and attention to the puppy, as well as trust in their professional and business ethics to honor the agreement we had made.
At that moment, I had no reason to doubt their intentions as anything but genuine. I informed them that I would be calling on a daily basis to check on Giorgio's health status, which I did. It seemed they were very receptive to and welcoming of my concern for Giorgio's health.
Everyday I called, and everyday they would tell me that Giorgio was the same and not eating on his own, requiring forced feeding. This went on for two weeks. I never received any positive news on the puppy's health. Nonetheless, I was hopeful that Giorgio would be healthy enough for me to purchase him back sometime during the week of April 5. On Wednesday, April 7, I called Tanya and she nervously said, "Hi Margaret, I'm going to have to call you back because I'm busy with customers, but I'll call you as soon as I can to let you know how Giorgio is doing." An hour passed when she finally returned my call only to say, "Margaret, I'm sorry to tell you this but Giorgio was bused back yesterday to the breeder in Oklahoma because he was not doing well and we felt that this was for the best." I was so completely bull-dozed and shocked by her words that I couldn't even muster up a response other than to say that I would have to call her back.
I couldn't believe the words I had just heard! It was incredulous to me that these seemingly caring people would put a helpless, sick puppy on a bus, for who knows how many hours, back to Oklahoma! How could they torture an ill, 2 month old, puppy like that???? I was devastated by the news. When I regained some sort of composure, I called back for an explanation. This time I demanded to speak with one of the owners, either Joe or Bruce.
I spoke to Bruce and he reiterated and confirmed what Tanya had said to me earlier, that the dog was no longer in their possession and bused back to Oklahoma. He justified his actions with the reasons that the dog was a finicky eater and too needy, reasons which I found to be totally absurd and bizarre in light of the fact that I was willing to take the dog as long as he was in good health.
I first wanted to know why they did this without extending me the courtesy of a phone call considering the fact that I had been calling on a daily basis in hopes of repurchasing this dog that I fell in love with instantly. Secondly, I wanted to obtain details as to where exactly Giorgio had been bused so that I could go and retrieve him myself, no matter how far or costly.
This is how much I wanted, and want, that puppy. I was told that I had returned Giorgio for a full refund and they were under no obligation to inform me of anything regarding the dog. Bruce also refused to give me any information as to the name, address, etc., of the place to where Giorgio was bused.
On Thursday, it dawned on me to look at my copies of the documents and paperwork I received upon Giorgio's purchase. This is where I found the name of the breeder. I researched the Internet for contact information and after I successfully found a phone number, I proceeded to call Mrs. Kinzer in Missouri, only to find out that Giorgio was originally sold to a broker in Oklahoma and that she was not involved in any way with the National Breeder's Association of New Jersey. Mrs. Kinzer did, however, furnish me with the name and number of a woman who might be able to help me. I called the phone number of a Ms. Lauren Hall, a dog broker who was very sympathetic and eager to help me locate Giorgio. I gave her all the information she requested: Giorgio's id #, registration #'s of the mother and father of the puppy, description of the puppy, etc. Within the hour, she called me back with the phone number and the location of the broker that would either have the puppy or, at the very least, know his whereabouts because they handled the sale of Giorgio to National Breeder's Association. I was greatly encouraged by this information and hopeful that I would find this puppy. As per the information I received from Ms. Hall, I called "Pine Spring Pets" in Atoka, Oklahoma and spoke to a woman named Trudy. After sharing Giorgio's story with Trudy, she told me that she had no record of receiving Giorgio nor was she aware of any pending return of a puppy from the National Breeder's Association. Trudy was extremely sympathetic towards my plight and ensured me she would get to the bottom of this and find out where Giorgio was.
I waited for Trudy to call back, but she never did, all the while the anxiety in me building up envisioning this poor puppy lost somewhere, left on a bus, stolen, or worse, dead. Realizing that Trudy was not going to return the call, I decided to call her back. This time Trudy was like a different person. She was curt, unhelpful, and no longer sympathetic.
Yes, Trudy found out exactly what happened to Giorgio, but she told me that she COULD NOT and WOULD NOT disclose any information regarding the puppy. Trudy also told me that Bruce, from the National Breeders Association, would be calling me shortly. Well, Bruce never called so I called him and left a message with Becky to have him call me. After two hours waiting for Bruce's phone call that never came, my sister, Angela Cavera, decided to try to get a hold of Bruce herself. Again, he was too busy to come to the phone and she left a second message for him to call. Bruce, again, DID NOT call back.
After another hour, my sister made a third attempt and finally Bruce came to the phone. Bruce told my sister that the dog WASN'T shipped back to Oklahoma and gave no explanation for the horrific, heart-wrenching lie that he and his employees told and that Giorgio was still in HIS possession and he had no intention of selling me the dog even if the dog was better. Their words, our agreement, were meaningless to him. Red flags started popping up everywhere. I feel that I was not being told the truth. I still don't know where Giorgio is. I don't believe them and I don't trust them. Perhaps he is still sick. Perhaps he did not make it. Perhaps there was foul play of some sort. But the most likely scenario is that the National Breeders Association sold Giorgio at full price to someone else, probably not disclosing his ailments to the new customer.
Why sell him back to me for $1500 when he could be sold to someone new for the original price of $2378.94? I understand this is purely business for some people, but it is not for me. I am a dog lover by nature and I don't appreciate being played with and that's exactly what the National Breeders Association people did with me; they played with my heart and mind. I want the National Breeders Association to be held accountable for denying that dog a most loving and caring home with me. I may not have a legal leg to stand on, but I believe businesses in the United States of America have an obligation to be honest and forthright with their customers. What the National Breeders Association did to me was dishonest, unprofessional, and downright cruel. How dare they lead me on for two weeks to believe I was soon getting my puppy back and then try to pull a fast one by telling me they returned the dog to the broker in Oklahoma, when they never actually did!!! I am sure my actions to try and locate Giorgio in Oklahoma were never expected, but this is how serious I am about getting my dog back. I want answers. I want to know where Giorgio is and I want the National Breeders Association to be accountable for what they say and promise; otherwise, that business should no longer be in business. I beseech you to help me resolve this matter. I beg you to investigate Giorgio's well-being, health and whereabouts. I question the integrity, honesty and business ethics of this association. I plan to take futher action and possibly go public! Margaret C
(e-mail from a former worker)
Hello. I read your complaint for National Breeders. Id advise you to let people know not to buy from there. I worked there for atleast 5 months taking care of all the sick dogs in the back. I reported them to the aspca but they didnt do anything about. Atleast 15 dogs died when I was there for that short time. That place doesnt take care of the puppies at all they dont care what happens to them all they want is their money. They were so cold hearted that they stuck a pug with an ailment in the back of the store and locked the door and waited for him to either starve to death, or dehydrate. And it was impossible for me to take the dog. They wouldnt let me so i quit. Just advise everyone that this place isnt a very good choice to choose from. And another hint for ya. even though people probably told you or not. You should NEVER buy a dog from a pet store. Always buy from a breeder. Pet stores use imbreeding which cause many different ailments and they have a shorter life span. Good luck! Please let me know if there's anyway I can help...
Carlstadt, New Jersey