Couple say Jacksonville pet store should foot the bill for puppy surgery

After buying a puppy from a Jacksonville pet store, a St. Augustine couple told News4JAX I-TEAM that they quickly had to pay hefty bills after the dog had to undergo life-saving heart surgery.

The husband and wife agreed to speak with I-TEAM, on condition of anonymity.

“We had no idea she was about to die,” the woman said. “That’s what the specialist here told me. He said that when he operated on her, his heart was so enlarged.

The couple who bought Ella, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, believe the owner of the Puppy Avenue pet store should be responsible for paying the dog’s medical bills, saying he was misled about the seriousness of a heart murmur.

Husband and wife said they received the dog as a Christmas present for their two young children, replacing the family’s former dog, Bella, who was 17 when she died of old age. The husband said the store wanted $ 3,500 for the dog, which a manager offered to cut to $ 2,500.

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News4JAX asked the husband if any medical issues were disclosed at the time of the purchase.

“She (the nursery) said she (Ella) had a slight heart murmur, but the dog that we had for 17 years had a slight heart murmur and she lived for 17 years, so we said : ‘Ah, that’s okay.’ said the husband.

Puppies have two health guarantees, according to the store’s website.

“So you are buying a healthy puppy. That’s why the website says healthy puppies she will be fine, ”the woman said.

But after a day or two passed and the kids started bonding with Ella, their mother began to wonder why Ella’s price had been reduced by $ 1,000. She said she did a Google search of the store to read customer reviews.

“Bad review after bad review. Dying puppies. Puppies with parvo, ”said the woman.

So she took Ella to a vet in St. Augustine and learned that Ella’s heart murmur was much more severe than the pet store had revealed. The vet suggested Ella see a heart specialist at an animal emergency room in Jacksonville, where the couple later learned.

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“She had a blood vessel that, if it wasn’t repaired, wouldn’t see her first birthday. She needed almost $ 3,600 in emergency surgery, ”the woman said.

Ella underwent surgery and was released from the hospital on Wednesday afternoon. The couple believe the store owner is responsible for the medical costs.

“I think he should have to pay all these bills because now I’m over $ 8,000,” the husband said.

Better Business Bureau president Tom Stephens said seven different complaints had been filed in his office alleging the sale of sick puppies, and they all had similar complaints.

“(That) the store sold an animal that was sick. Several had died within a week or two of receiving the animal or soon after and they all had multiple vet bills to try to keep the animal alive.” , explained Stephens.

Stephens says Florida has a lemon law that says if a breeder or pet store sells a medically ill pet, they must adhere to two options to address issues with buyers.

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“Return the money and pay reasonable vet bills or offer a replacement animal,” Stephens explained. “In my opinion, their (store) appears to be breaking the state’s lemon puppy law.”

The owner of Puppy Avenue wouldn’t give us an interview. However, he told us over the phone that he would be willing to find a solution to remedy the problem, but that he would only do so with the husband since it was the husband who was paying for the dog.

The Better Business Bureau recommends that you research online reviews before purchasing a pet. Checking their website is one way to find complaints.

Have you experienced any health issues with puppies purchased from this store or other puppy stores? Send an email to Erik Avanier – [email protected]

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