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Local dog owners blame pet store for selling sick animals

Published: Thursday, November 09, 2017 @ 5:27 PM
By: Caroline Reinwald

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. 

"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. 

"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. 

RELATED:  Woman denied refund after dog bought at pet store died 11 days later

"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. 

"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.