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Suing the breeder

August 28th, 2007, 05:15 PM
Well folks, many of you have been following my threads over the past month or so with regards to our little Eddie. He was/is the 9 week chi who we had for 3 days before having to rush him to vet for giardi, coccidia, and dangerously low blood sugar. 3 days on IV and meds and $1500 bill.

Breeder was notified at that time and kept in the loop per say on what was happening. I requested she contribute 50% of the vet bill or at minimum the purchase price of the new puppy.

After sending her a copy of the bill and allowing her time to mull over, I was very disapointed to receive an email this week stating that while she was sorry for what happened, she did not feel any responsibility should fall on her shoulders because:

A - there was no proof that I had planned on having the puppy examined within the alloted time period to maintain the 2 year health guarantee

B- internal parasites such as giardia and coccidia are considered a natural occurence and easy to "fix"

C- contract stipulates that if pup becomes sick during the first 72 hours that it must be returned to her and she would be responsible for all care

D - I chose to spend money above and beyond the original purchase price of the puppy

Suffice to say that I am pissed off with such a nonchalant attitutde and am now in the process of filing a small claims action to recoup ALL of the costs.

Have any of you had experience with something like this in the past? Any advice on what I should argue in court?

:wall: Tracy

August 28th, 2007, 05:45 PM
(Obviously) you are arguing a breach of contract. But tort law can get a little complicated. If I were you, I would present the case myself but I would seek legal advice in advance so that you feel confident in your arguments and the basics of contract law and language. You could see a paralegal but a lawyer might be best ~ make sure you go in with a copy of your contract, your notes transcribing all communication you have had with the breeder, any written communication and of course a synopsis of your dog's health and medical treatment history. Good luck !!

August 28th, 2007, 07:55 PM
Did you sign a contract saying you would have the puppy seen within so many days for recieving him? If so did you have him looked at? if he had gardia then that could come from water or dirt, swap water ect, but i would think wouldnt happen in 3 days! A GOOD breeder would do something to help. Sorry for all your current problems. Amber

August 28th, 2007, 08:41 PM
If possible, I would get a letter from the vet that treated your puppy stating the incubation periods for both illnesses and also stating that the puppy must have already been ill when you left the breeder. For coccidia it's almost 2 weeks. For giardia, it's 1 to 2 weeks. If you took a very sick puppy to the vet after 3 days of having it, then clearly, the puppy was exposed at the breeder's and was not well when you brought it home.

Good luck with this.

August 29th, 2007, 11:17 AM
Talked with lawyer last night over beers. He waived his fee for me as we are old aquaintances. (Lucky)

You guys are right on the money. He says to sue for breach of contract. I was guaranteed a healthy dog at the time of purchase and this was not the case.

He says keep it simple and to the point. I have already asked for the clinic to send me a copy of their records and will also ask if they will give me a professional summary/medical opinion of their findings.

In a way this is going to be fun. I see that she has now updated her website to include a page on hypoglycemia and how dangerous it can be in small pups. It also states now that hypoglycemia is not covered. A bit better information than when I originally purchased him... I was told that the pup would be all wobbly and look like he was drunk and to just dab some corn syrup on the top of his mouth and all would be fine. (um... ya....)

I am filing my notice today. Imagine it will take a month or two before I see anything happenng but I will keep you posted.

Jim Hall
August 29th, 2007, 11:30 AM
wth she selling hypoglycimec puppies ? is she nuts ?she is asking to be sued at this point

August 29th, 2007, 12:45 PM
wth she selling hypoglycimec puppies ? is she nuts ?she is asking to be sued at this point

All toy breeds battle hypoglycemia daily especially when on the smaller end of the toy scale.. That's not nuts.. Many need feeding times far more often than other dogs. Should stop it from being an active problem, but it's something toy owners need to be aware of.

August 29th, 2007, 03:26 PM
I strongly agree. We were told to feed twice a day and I have long found out that equals disaster. 5-6+ smaller meals throughout the day is what he needs.

Will be another area in the suit if I am allowed. Bad information. It is unfortunate that this was all found out after the fact. Certainly had a few weeks there where the joy of a new puppy was replaced with growing concern about health problems.

August 29th, 2007, 08:50 PM
Good luck on your lawsuit, would love to see a unethical, money-hungry breeder have to re-emburse for your expenses/worry and your pup's illness.

Misery's company
August 29th, 2007, 09:07 PM
It makes me sad to think about all of the other puppies who maybe didn't get an owner that is as caring as you :cry:

Jim Hall
August 29th, 2007, 09:14 PM
ahh well thanks i didnt realise that small doggies get that
is it somethong you should do with a small adult dog also ? feed smaller more frequent meals?

August 29th, 2007, 11:38 PM
Just wanted to say good luck, hope you can recoup @ the very least 50% of the costs, but more appropriate would def be 100%.

I am :confused: by breeders reason # A - that makes no sense to me

she did not feel any responsibility should fall on her shoulders because:

A - there was no proof that I had planned on having the puppy examined within the alloted time period to maintain the 2 year health guarantee

sounds to me like she is saying: if you stated you were going to take the pup in for a vet exam within the first 72 hours she would NOT have sold you the pup cuz she knew there was a problem :shrug: maybe I'm reading her statement wrong, but that's what it looks like to me :shrug:

August 30th, 2007, 03:37 PM
Yes. Small sized dog = potential for hypoglycemia while they are small. So small puppies are prone.. and so are adults that stay small. Lot of people feed more meals in a day than people with bugger dogs. I've always wondered if in future I got a really small breed if my life would be accommodating enough to make sure I could fit enough meals in each day.

I read that the opposite way Growler.. That maybe the contract had a clause that within 72 hours you needed to have a vet check (though after purchase from anywhere a vet check can't hurt). And that the breeder felt that if the pup hadn't had a problem.. it wouldn't have been going to the vet in the window she wanted it to go in.

August 30th, 2007, 07:59 PM
MP the reason that statement :confused: me is the OP had the dog 3 days (72 hrs) & took the pup in - that's just after the allotted time (shouldn't the contract allow a little wiggle room? ie half a day?) plus it sounds like the breeder didn't explain care & feeding properly so breeder probably didn't explain the contract properly either :shrug:

August 31st, 2007, 08:55 AM
No, breeder did not explain contract at all. Basically asked me to sign here.. when I asked what it was she said the purchase agreement which I would get a copy of in my puppy pack.

24 month health guarantee provided that the pup is seen within 72 hrs of bringing home. Then it contradicts itself. If pup is deemed unhealthy I can elect to return and "trade in" for another or keep and assume all costs.

Further contradictions follow. If pup become sick within first 72 hrs it must be returned to her where she will be responsible for all costs and then pup returned back to me when healthy.

Now that I have actually read the contract it is very one sided. Absolutely no cash refunds. Trades only. Shows you the mentality here now doesn't it?

August 31st, 2007, 12:25 PM
The breeder is not required to explain the contract to you and your (please don't be offended here as I mean none) ignorance of the contract or failure to read it in advance and obtain clarification is NOT an argument you can use successfully in court as you are clearly competent in English and not mentally defective or intellectually impaired.

What you can argue is that your signing the contract implicitly acknowledges your intent to abide by the 72 hour Vet check. No other proof of intent is required of you unless it was specifically requested by the breeder in advance of signing the contract or included in the contract itself. The fact that you did not provide something which you were not required to provide does not nullify the breeders responsibility to provide you with a healthy animal.

August 31st, 2007, 01:42 PM
Mummummum, I have no intention of pleading ignorance here when it comes to signing an agreement before reading it. That was my fault however in all honesty I would have signed because I was acting in good faith. My case will be based on the breach of contract. I did not get a healthy puppy period.

And... puppy was seen by a vet within 72 hours... does it really matter whether it was a scheduled or emergency visit? I don't think she has an argument there.

I have run across a number of Canadian court cases where the plaintiffs were awarded damages based on similiar circumstances. Again, I am somewhat excited for my day in court now. Perhaps it will make her think and act differently in the future. :shrug:

August 31st, 2007, 07:07 PM
I really and truly hope you win but I am assured by people who are in this "business" that there are far too many unscrupulous breeders out there - in it for the money and not the dogs (ie the ubiquitous byb's we all hate here) - and their contracts always favour the breeder. I can only hope you get a Judge (I know here the person overseeing small claims court is usually a clerk (ie a lawyer) of the court who does this in between serving a Provincial Court Judge) who is understanding and willing to see outside of the strictly legal parameters. I do not know the law where you are though and alas, the laws are so poorly written for the protection of animals - and in this case, you by necessity are treating the dog as a purchased object. Even if you do not win per se, it may well show her she has to change her ways - I HOPE!!!

August 31st, 2007, 07:26 PM
Breach of contract yes, but let's also not forget that she acted in bad faith in offering puppies for sale when she knew or could reasonably be expected to have known that the dogs were exposed to harmful subtances (wherever the giardia and coccidia arose from) and were ill at the time of sale. If I remember your story correctly, she continued to act in bad faith when other pups under her care became ill and she failed to notify you of same.

Did she also not make some noises about agreeing to cover at least part of the Vet costs at the beginning stages of the pup's illness. That in and of itself is a verbal contract ~ which she also breached by refusing to pay as promised.

You've got all the Aces in your hand in my opinion.

August 31st, 2007, 10:40 PM
I think as time goes by I am more offended by the attitude that is evident in the contract. Basically the onus is on the buyer to prove that the animal is ill and swallow all medical costs before "trading" the pup in for another. We're not talking about a faulty car here for %$#@ sakes.

It is all a play on emotions here. Pick out a pup and if pup gets really sick what are most people going to try and do? Fix it of course. But oh contraire my friends... Contract states that you assume all costs if you choose to do so. Essentially you are being punished for caring for a living thing instead of simply trading it in.

It's also frustrating that the vets charge so much too but in this scenario was I really going to let the dog die or have it put down after only 3 days of ownership? Cummon...

(I also wonder what would have happened here had I returned him to her within the first 72 hrs to "take care of medical costs" like her contract states. Would she really have taken him to the vet? I'm cynical...)

I've kept my sense of humor throughout this because its the only thing I can do. The credit card bill is nasty and essentially we spent $2500 in the first 3 weeks to obtain and keep our new furry friend. Could we afford it? No. Do I regret it? Not at all... but..... now I am going to fight back.

August 31st, 2007, 11:09 PM
As well you should !

The argument that you should have returned the dog to her care once it showed signs of illness is preposterous. The puppy had a potentially life-or-death illness (puppies die from dehydration brought on by vomitting and diarrhea regularly) and needed critical care. It would have been amoral and an abdication of resposnibility to the animal to refuse to obtain treatment for it at a time when it was critically ill.