Sadie’s one cute pup, but owner thinks health issues were withheld
By Janelle Walker For The Courier-News June 18, 2013 11:31AM
Sadie, a 13-week old puggle, was found to have a parasitic infection when she came home from an area pet store on May 21, according to her new owner. Janelle Walker for Sun-Times Media
PINGREE GROVE — Stacey Kranz has had seven dogs over the years, usually getting them as rescue animals from area shelters.
“I am against pet stores that sell dogs. I know, logically, where they came from,” Kranz said, sitting last week with her new puppy, Sadie, at her Pingree Grove home.
Now, Kranz is regretting her impulse decision to get her puggle, a pug/beagle mix, from Puppy Steps, a pet store at Spring Hill Mall in West Dundee. Once she got the dog home and took it to her own veterinarian, she discovered the dog was infected with the parasite giardia, which can be passed to humans and other animals, and has an upper respiratory infection, she said.
Giardia, according to the Centers for Disease Control, can cause “diarrhea, gas, abdominal discomfort, nausea, and vomiting” in both humans and pets. The parasite can be passed from dogs to humans, and from pet to pet, the CDC notes, although transfer to humans is less likely.
Dogs are often infected when they ingest feces from infected animals, or through water infected with the parasite, according to the CDC.
Kranz bought Sadie for $1,000 and already has spent $300 on additional vet costs, she said. Those costs will continue, as Sadie will need continued medication to fight the parasite. The dog had an operation to repair a hernia when it was just 6 weeks old, well before Kranz purchased the dog. Her vet says the surgery will need to be redone later, however.
Kranz said she doesn’t want to return Sadie. She is concerned that other families who purchased puppies from the store might not know about the giardia, or that it can be passed to other animals or even human adults and children.
The owner of the Puppy Steps store where Kranz purchased the dog said she has contacted people who purchased puppies that were at her store at the same time as Sadie. Gisselle LaDelle says none of those dogs has the parasite and that they are healthy and happy.
In the one year she has operated Puppy Steps, LaDelle said, she has sold 150 puppies and says Kranz’s complaint is the first she’s ever had.
All of her puppies also come with a free exam at a nearby veterinarian, LaDelle said. Kranz instead brought Sadie to her regular veterinarian for her checkup.
She prefers that new owners go to the vet the store has an agreement with because it allows Puppy Steps to keep better records of the dogs’ health.
Kranz show will not show her the veterinary records for Sadie, LaDelle said.
“She refuses to give me the information. I am concerned for the puggle,” she said.
Kranz said she is concerned that her other dog, a pit bull named Toby, could catch the parasite. The two dogs already were playing together before her veterinarian gave her the diagnosis, she said. It will take a few weeks for any tests can determine if the parasite was passed on, she said.
There are other problems with Sadie, Kranz said. She was told Sadie was microchipped when she bought it, Kranz said. But her vet couldn’t find evidence of that, she said, and the microchip number provided to her by the pet store does not seem to exist.
She will have to pay for that service when Sadie is neutered, Kranz said.
‘Puppy lemon law’
Kranz’s dilemma brings into focus the “puppy lemon law” passed by the Illinois General Assembly and now sitting on Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk awaiting his signature.
That law would give consumers who purchase an ill or diseased cat or dog from a pet store the options of either getting a new pet, getting a full refund for the animal, or having the store pay for veterinarian treatment.
But the new law might not have enough teeth in it to stop sick dogs from being sold at pet stores, said Cari Meyers, founder and president of the Kenilworth-based Puppy Mill Project.
By the time the new pet owner realizes the dog is sick, the family may have already bonded with the animal, Meyers said. Neither, she said, does there seem to be any enforcement included in the proposed legislation.
Sadie came from a Eunice, Mo., dog breeder that says it is registered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Kranz said.
However, having USDA certification does not mean the breeder is not running a “puppy mill” — facilities that keep the mothers in small cages, breeding several litters each year and not having human interaction, according to Meyers. In fact, that only means the animals are from a commercial breeding facility, Meyers said.
Although she knew about puppy mills, Kranz said, the puppy in the window at Puppy Steps stole her heart on May 21.
“I got to hold Sadie, and she was everything you expect from a good puppy. She snuggled right up to me and licked my face. I fell in love right away,” Kranz said.
It is never a good idea to get a puppy at a pet store, Meyers said. In her three years of running the Puppy Mill Project, she has never seen a dog from a pet store that didn’t have some kind of medical issue, she said.
Six plaintiffs filed a lawsuit last week in LaSalle County against a chain of pet stores called Furry Babies. LaDelle said she is not associated with that store, which previously occupied her Spring Hill Mall location. She was directed to the space by mall management after that store closed, she said.
The Carpentersville Furry Babies had an F rating with the Better Business Bureau. Puppy Steps does not show up in the bureau’s database.