In December of 2011, I purchased a six month old puppy from Elena Sass after finding the advertisement on www.doxiegarden.com. The dog was found to have a genetic disorder called
Neuronal Ceroid Lipfuscinoses (NCLs); this disease does not manifest symptoms until the puppy is nine to 12 months old. The condition is rare and it took me from May of this year to October of this year to come to a definitive diagnosis. This was after spending well over $3000 in vet bills. I can almost guarantee with certainty that most people do not know what is wrong with their puppies because they do not have $3000 to put out in finding a diagnosis. I wanted nothing more than to find a cure to make my Nellie better so I spent the money until I came up with a diagnosis and unfortunately there is no cure. This disease is deadly and according to all statistics, I am fortunate to still have Nellie at 20 months of age. I know it is the love and care she receives in my home that keeps her going.
I contacted Elena on May 18, 2012 via email and informed her that I thought something wasn't
right and asked her if any of her dogs displayed any symptoms. At that point, I was basically told everything was perfect with her dogs and it could not be genetic. "I only breed my dogs once they are two years old and they only ever get bred once and then they go live on my grandmother's farm." What a crock of bullshit. Does she think I don't have papers to now know that the mom was only nine months old and the dad 11 months when they were bred. I did not know this until I fought to get the registration papers from her (which took 10 weeks from time of pick-up). I honestly cannot even be sure the papers are real.
I contacted her again in October after having a more definitive diagnosis, but still not confirmed. I sent her all documentation from my veterinarian regarding the care and diagnostic work-up I have had over the last year. At that point in October, I finally had confirmation/diagnosis of the NCLs genetic disorder.
I copied and both emailed and mailed her the documentation of Unfitness and medical expenses on
October 26, 2012. To the date of this complaint, I have no response besides a few emails telling me she is no longer in business in New Jersey and that she is living in Russia. I believe these facts to be lies, as a new acquaintance of mine just recently purchased a puppy from her less than six weeks ago. Elena still has not provided that new puppy owner with the AKC papers that were
promised at the time of purchase, so I am therefore, concerned that her dog too may have this genetic disorder.
The genetic disorder normally causes loss of life within the first 15 months. I am very fortunate that my Nellie, is still alive and I have been working with the University of Missouri research program for this disorder. My hopes when I contacted Elena were that she would become involved in the research program and have all her dogs tested and stop breeding those carrying the recessive gene for the disease. I hate to see any new puppy owner go through what I have over the last year. It is terrible to love a puppy so much and then find out she will only be part of your life for a very short time.
Initially, I had no intention of asking for monetary reimbursement for medical expenses as well as
the cost of the puppy; as there is no money that can replace what I am about to lose when I lose Nellie. It was not about the money, it was my request to have her become involved in the Research program and stop breeding those dogs carrying this devastating gene. I was informed on October 26, 2012 at 6:19 p.m. that she would "be able to take care of everything" when she received her immigration papers to return to the state. To date, I have not heard a single thing from her. Interestingly, that same evening, she replied to an inquiry from her new website and was willing to set-up a visit to meet and select a puppy for the following weekend. Lies! Lies! Lies! Believe me I was really tempted to show up on her doorstep and just punch her in the face, but then I would be the one going to jail and she is not worth it.
Whether related or not to my complaint, she has since my initial discussions she has stopped using the
www.doxiegarden website and began using a website called Petdoxie.com. She also does not use her name, Yelena on the website anymore, it is now "Tiger". What an appropriate name because this lady is definitely a tiger who continues to attack innocent people by selling her unhealthy puppies. I know for a fact that this is her and that she is still living at the same address I purchased Nellie. I know this because I responded to her using the original website a few days after I filed my initial concerns with her. She replied to that email (I made a new email address just for this inquiry) and referred me to her new website. And interestingly, despite her failure to respond to my follow-up on the Unfitness request in October, she has again responded to another inquiry sent through her website related to puppies she has available (December 12, 2012). All these are signs of fraud from my viewpoint.
I do not want to return the puppy to her as I know she will not receive the love and care she is
receiving. Although I know I will not have much longer with Nellie, I want what is best for her. Even more important to me than the money, is that I do not want her to be allowed to continue to breed
her dogs until she has them all tested for this devastating and very debilitating genetic disorder. I know she cannot be forced into becoming involved in the research program through the University of Missouri, though it would be very helpful if she would.
I have the confirmation email that she had read my email on October 31, 2012 at 10:45 p.m.
This email contained all the documentation of vet bills, the unfit certification, and my written request for retention of my animal and reimbursement for the veterinary fees incurred prior to the date I received my vets certification of unfitness.
Please do not purchase a puppy from her as you will only end up with a broken heart and extreme medical expenses. This lady needs to be shut down and shut down fast.