Local dog owners blame pet store for selling sick animals

Published: Thursday, November 09, 2017 @ 5:27 PM

Courtney Miller purchased her puppy Thor from Petland.

Two local women claim Petland sold them sick puppies after promising that they were healthy. They are among a number of people here in the Miami Valley and across the country making allegations against the national pet store chain based in Ohio.

Courtney Miller, of Tipp City, said she found her German Shepherd, "Thor" at the Petland store off York Commons Blvd.

"I was on Petland's site and I saw Thor and I'm like, we have to go get him. I'm in love with him," said Courtney.

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Her father-in-law, Frank Miller, paid $4,000 for Thor. He is now 11-months-old and whines all the time because their veterinarian said the dog is in constant pain. 

"It started actually when we got him. He went up and down the steps and you could tell it was hurting him," Courtney said. 

After taking the dog for tests, x-rays showed that Thor suffers from severe hip problems. Courtney said it was the worst case her vet had ever seen. 

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"I called Petland in Dayton and they hung up on me," said Courtney. She then called Petland's corporate office in Chillicothe and eventually got them to make an offer. However, it was not one that she and her father-in-law wanted. 

"$2,000 for his expenses, which we know is going to be more, or we'll give you $4,000 towards a new dog," said Frank Miller. "Well, you know that's like giving up your kid. I can't do it. There's no way."

"He's our baby," said Courtney. "I'm hurt because he shouldn't have to be in pain."

RELATED: Petland agrees to pay for puppy’s hip dysplasia surgery

WHIO-TV reached out to Petland and the company declined an on-camera interview but emailed this statement: "Petland takes the health and welfare of our pets, our customers and staff very seriously. In a 2016 study, less than 1.2% of puppies purchased from Petland incurred any sort of medical issue requiring medical hospitalization. In addition, health warranties offered by our stores typically provide for veterinary treatment for various bacterial, viral and congenital issues."

In Georgia, our sister station, WSB-TV reports that a class action lawsuit has been filed alleging Petland knowingly sold sick puppies. 

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"They've bargained for a happy, healthy adoptable pet and they got heartbreak and pain and expense," said Tamara Feliciano, the attorney representing the plaintiffs in the Georgia lawsuit.

There is also the Campylobacter virus outbreak that was reported back in September. The CDC reported 67 cases across the nation and 24 of them were here in Ohio. All of the cases were linked to puppies sold from Petland. 

Dr. Daniel Carey, an emergency veterinarian and partner at the Dayton Care Center in Centerville, said the dogs he sees from pet stores are usually unhealthy. 

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"Buying a puppy from a pet store is potentially, maybe the worst place you could buy a puppy," Dr. Carey said. "They're coming from puppy mills even if the folks at the store don't think that they're coming from that."

Jenny Brown from New Carlisle, said she found her Bernese Mountain Dog, "Franklin" on the Petland website. 

"It reels you in. You see the pictures and they're there and you can take them home today and I think that's what got me," Brown said. 

Brown said she paid $3,500 to take Franklin home and started to notice that he had problems walking when he was only 3-months old. By the time Franklin was 10-months old, their vet diagnosed him with severe hip dysplasia. 

Petland puppy has "worst case" of hip condition vet has seen

"I just thought about all the times he had been walking up the stairs and taking him on walks and doing stuff. He was probably hurting the while time," Brown said.

Petland gave Brown a full refund and let her keep the dog. But, his hip replacement surgery was twice the amount that he cost and Franklin will always be lame in his back legs. Brown said she wishes that she had known more about the dog before buying him.

"Do your research before and don't get wrapped up and sucked in like we did," Brown said.

Meanwhile, Petland has agreed to pay for Thor's double hip replacement surgery. It will cost $12,000 and is being performed on Thursday at the Columbus MedVet. 

Dr. Carey said if you are in the market for a puppy, he advises you to go to a shelter, a rescue or a private breeder and have your own veterinarian check out the dog before you buy. 

Unattended cooking sparks Dayton house fire

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 9:35 AM
Updated: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 9:55 AM

A house fire on Iola Ave has left a resident displaced

UPDATE @ 9:55 a.m. 

Unattended cooking has been blamed for causing a house fire on Iola Avenue in Dayton Friday. 

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Firefighters reported flames and smoke coming from the rear of a home in the 900 block of Iola Avenue around 9:25 a.m. Friday. 

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The home’s occupant left the home, leaving cooking food on the stove, investigators said. The damage to the home will displace the occupant. 

Firefighters have not been able to get in contact with the occupant. 

No injuries were reported. 

FIRST REPORT

Firefighters have responded to reports of a house fire on Iola Avenue in Dayton Friday morning. 

Crews were dispatched around 9:25 a.m. to the 900 block of Iola Avenue and reported fire coming from the back of the structure. 

We have a crew on the way and we’ll update this page as we learn more. 

Fired Miami County election official sues for defamation, wants job back

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 9:06 AM


            A former Board of Elections worker in Miami County has filed a lawsuit against the county, alleging he was improperly fired. STAFF/FILE
A former Board of Elections worker in Miami County has filed a lawsuit against the county, alleging he was improperly fired. STAFF/FILE

TROY – A former deputy director of the Miami County Board of Elections fired in January 2017 is suing the elections board and a former member, claiming violations of open meetings laws and defamation.

Eric Morgan of Tipp City filed the complaint in county Common Pleas Court. He seeks a court order invalidating the board’s vote to terminate him from the position, a return to the position and damages in excess of $25,000 from the board.

The lawsuit alleges the elections board violated Ohio’s public meetings law. The violations allegedly took place in January 2017 to discuss Morgan in a claimed undisclosed meeting and at least one other executive session at which the suit claims the topic of discussion was not disclosed publicly as required.

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The failure to follow the meetings law should invalidate the board action, returning him to his former position, Morgan and his lawyer argue in the complaint.

Morgan also requests from former board member Dean Tamplin of Tipp City compensatory and punitive damages of more than $25,000 each as a result of alleged defamation. Tamplin and Morgan are both Democrats.

Morgan alleges he was asked by Tamplin to support Tamplin’s continued work on the board in 2017, but Morgan refused to say if he would. A few days later, on Jan. 24, 2017, he claims the board met in a special meeting, where Tamplin allegedly asked him to resign. When he refused, he was subsequently terminated from the job, Morgan claims.

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He claims he was defamed when Tamplin “made statements to the press and other members of the (elections) board that the Democratic Party ‘lost confidence’ in Morgan and that was the reason for his termination,” the lawsuit contends. Morgan claims the statement was harmful to his reputation and his career as an election official.

Tamplin did not respond to a request for comment. The board of elections staff said both the elections director and deputy director were not available for comment.

Morgan was hired as the deputy director in March 2013.

At the time of his termination, the board had two Republican members and one Democrat with the December 2016 retirement of board member Kelly Gillis, a Democrat. The Republican board members were Ryan King of Piqua and Jose Lopez of West Milton.

Soldier from Clark County is missing from Fort Drum, New York

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 9:27 PM

Soldier from Clark Co. missing out of Fort Drum, NY

Spc. Trevor Nichols, a soldier from Clark County, is missing from Fort Drum, N.Y., and a national organization is asking for the public's help in finding him. 

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"I see absolutely nothing that says foul play" or suicide, Brenda Paradise, a private investigator who volunteers for Guardian Search and Investigations. 

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That organization issued a press release Thursday about Spc. Nichols, 24, of Tremont City, was was last seen Nov. 17, according to Guardian Search and Investigations. 

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The watertowndailytimes.com is reporting that the specialist left without his driver’s license, military ID card or his cell phone and has not had any contact with his family since being missing. 

Julie A. Halpin, Fort Drum spokeswoman, told the news organization that Spc. Nichols was a soldier with the 10th Mountain Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team as of November. He was listed as absent without leave on Nov. 15 and his status was updated to deserter on Dec. 18. 

Paradise, in an interview with whio.com tonight, said the specialist was in basic training in 2012, has served a tour in Afghanistan and just returned from a tour in Iraq last May. 

Spc. Nichols is estranged from his wife and they have a son who is just shy of 2 years old, Paradise said. She was living on base with the specialist until recently, Paradise said. 

Paradise said the military was transitioning him farther away from his son, and that may have affected the specialist. 

Spc. Trevor Nichols (Courtesy/Nichols family)

The soldier's mother, Erin Nichols, also has filed a missing person's report through the Clark County Sheriff's Office. 

"I can't even imagine where he would have gone," she said in a phone call Thursday night. 

Mrs. Nichols said her son, the youngest of three boys who grew up in Enon and joined the Army right out of Greenon High School, was to report to Fort Riley, Kansas, on Dec. 7. 

She said she also believes that transfer has something to do with her son being missing. 

Mrs. Nichols said she last spoke with him by phone on Nov. 14, the day he was trying to move his estranged wife's belongings to storage. 

If you have information about Spc. Nichols, you are asked to call investigator Paradise at 907-795-5292, referencing case number 17-1689237, the Tremont City, Ohio, police department at 937-969-8281, or 911.

Fights, arrests reported after Wilberforce, CSU basketball game

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 8:16 AM

CSU's Chris Scott scored a game-high 26 points despite fouling out with more than four minutes to go in the game. Contributed
CSU's Chris Scott scored a game-high 26 points despite fouling out with more than four minutes to go in the game. Contributed

Fights reportedly broke out in Wilberforce Thursday night after the men’s college basketball game between the Wilberforce University Bulldogs and the Central State Mauraders.

Emergency scanner traffic shortly after 10:30 p.m. indicated medics and several area police agencies responded to assist campus police at Wilberforce University, after the Bulldogs upset the Mauraders 83-70.

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A man who said he worked security at the game Tweeted that it was “absolute chaos” with many fights and arrests.

Final score at Wilberforce University Jan. 18, 2018.

CSU trailed WU at halftime by 22 points and could not make up the difference as the Bulldogs converted 10 of 22 three-point shots, according to a game summary report from CSU.

A heated rivalry exists between the two HBCU schools, which are separated by a few hundred yards and U.S. 42.

WU improved its record to four wins, 13 losses, according to the report.

CSU has six wins, 12 losses on the season and is tied for first place with Kentucky State in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference West Division, according to the report.

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This story will be updated as more information becomes available.