Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Small Dog, Big Bills 

April 11, 2008  A-Channel News 

VICTORIA - A Victoria man faces thousands of dollars in veterinarian bills after buying a puppy from a pet store. The 12-week-old dog was diagnosed with canine parvo-virus, a highly contagious illness that can be severe in puppies.

The new owner is furious that his dog is so sick and says the puppy should have been vaccinated before it was sold. Kyle Besler bought the Chihuahua-Daschund from Creatures Great and Small pet store on Monday.

Immediately after the purchase he took the dog to the vet and found out his puppy was very sick. 12 week old Theodore is in isolation at Central Victoria Veterinary Hospital receiving treatment for parvo, a highly contagious canine virus that shows symptoms similar to the flu. It causes extreme dehydration.

Besler paid $900 for the puppy. At the time of purchase he thought the dog was healthy, but that was not the case.

We looked at Theodore's vaccination record. March 11th the dog went to the vet who noted the parvo vaccine was due. But Theodore did not get the shot before he was sold March 31st. Besler now faces vet bills that exceed $2400.

Creatures Great and Small owner Ken Parton sold Besler the puppy. He said the dog was stressed after air travel, so he chose not to vaccinate the puppy. Instead he focused on getting the dog settled into his new environment.

Veterinarian Dr. Rick Cohen says typically dogs are vaccinated against parvo at 8, 12 and 16 weeks. While each case is different, stress can be a legitimate reason for delaying vaccination.

Theodore is not the only puppy from Creatures to test positive for parvo. At least one other new owner has come forward. As a result, the store is not selling any of the other 13 puppies at his store until they are given a clean bill of health. And the store will tighten its sanitation policies. As for the medical bills, the store says it will cover the costs.

Buyer Beware of Dog 

VICTORIA - An update now on a story we first brought you Friday. A Victoria man said a final goodbye to his 12 week old puppy over the weekend. The dog had been purchased last Monday from Creatures Great and Small pet store. Within hours of the sale it was evident the puppy was gravely ill.  On Saturday the dog lost his battle with parvovirus.  The owner says he didn't really know much about the dog's history before he took him home because the pet store wouldn't release the information.  

The sad story raises questions about the care of puppies before they're sold and how much information should be available to interested customers. 

We first met little Theodore in the isolation room at the Central Victoria Animal Hospital. He was being treated for parvovirus, a highly contagious disease that can be severe in puppies. Over the weekend the dog died unable to battle the invasive virus. 

Kyle Besler says the pet store sold him a sick dog. At the time of purchase Besler received a copy of the vaccination report, but that was all the information the pet store would release.  

We tried to find out more about the puppy's history. The owner of Creatures Great and Small wouldn't comment on camera, but says it is store policy to withhold information about the breeders he deals with in order to protect them. He insists the store does not buy from puppy mills, but offers no written guarantee.

Virginia Lyne has bred dogs for 48 years and is a life member of the Canadian Kennel Club. She says it's very rare that a reputable breeder will put a dog in a pet store. When buying a puppy Lyne suggests a thorough background check, including a tour of where the puppies are being raised. A good breeder, she says, raises the puppies in their home as part of the family. 

Linda Gelaude breeds poodles in Chemainus. Just as she expects prospective buyers to check her credentials, she extensively checks where her puppies will be placed. 

Dog groomer Angella Jenkins holds monthly protests denouncing the sale of pet store puppies. Angella's next demonstration is scheduled for April 20th outside Creatures Great and Small pet store.

In the case of Theodore, the owner of Creatures agreed to pay for the thousands of dollars in veterinary bills incurred in the week leading to the dog’s death. He also promised the owners he would refund the $900 they paid for the pup. 

Since our story first aired on Friday we've heard from other dog owners who claim they too were sold sick animals by staff at Creatures Great and Small. And A-Channel News has learned that at least one dog owner is filing a lawsuit against the company. 

Note:  JACK FM is currently holding a contest in which the public is invited to send in a picture of their “cute furry friend.”  Each month a new pet will be featured on their website and the winner will receive toys and treats from Creatures Great and Small, as well as pet food for one month.  The station has received a number of e-mails with concerns regarding this store and Gorde Edlund, program director/announcer, in a response to one letter said, in part, that if there was any “specific evidence” against the store he would be happy to see it and would keep an open mind on the subject.  Rogers Communications sent an auto-reply.

October 4, 2010 Richmond council voted unanimously to ban the sale of dogs in pet stores, becoming the first city in Canada to do so. Pet store owners have until April 2011 to comply. 

January 12, 2012 SPCA to launch investigation into B.C. puppy sales

Read more on puppy mills: www.nopuppymillscanada.ca

April 27, 2012 Richmond pet store facing puppy sale probe

Related: Sick rabbits sold - increased legislation asked of municipalities