I had a puppy whos care I relinquished to the vet because she has severe hydrocephalus, water on the brain, the breeders gaurantee was a new puppy. I kept asking for my money back and she said she must stick by her gaurantee (which is fine), however, now she is sating I should have shipped her back if there was something wrong. That would have been fine had she not been severely sick, the vet said if I tried to ship her back the plane ride would have killed her or left her severly retarted. Now she will not return numerous phone calls or e-mails. Should I get a lawyer? I had the puppy for less than 2 weeks and she didn't start showing symptoms till the 5 day, however, when I took her in for an inital check- up the vet said she would have thought that she had hydrocephalus but that she didn't because she looked all there.
Silly question, but did you provide a notarized statement from the vet? The breeder may simply state that it's a case of your word vs hers otherwise. The vet's statement would not only provide a diagonsis and the date of such, but the fact that the condition prohibited the pup flying anywhere.
I am confused. Is the puppy still alive and at the Vet's? That condition is something that is fairly common in very small ("teacup") Chihuahuas. There are different degrees of severity. Sometimes it is fatal. A very large portion of these tiny dogs will have 'Open Fontanelles' which is a soft spot on top of their head that doesn't close. This sets the stage for water on the brain. Typically though you see it in puppies that are still nursing...not already weaned and ready for a new home.
What were the stipulations of the guarantee? Was it written or verbal?
I believe you will have to file in Small Claims Court. But be sure you have all your facts gathered/conversations/emails etc. to present to a lawyer. It won't do much good to go in and have a "He said She said" argument.
I used to work for lawyers . Some charge by the hour, and some will take a case on a contingency basis and take a portion of your settlement proceeds. . All lawyers charge differing amounts. You would need to call and ask around. Not all handle this kind of case and many specialize in diffent areas of law.
I would suggest thay you call the Bar Association in your county, and I don't mean the kind of bars where people drink :-) They can also refer you to an attorney who handles these type of matters. They can also refer you to a a lawyer willing to take your case at a reduced fee, or pro bono , which means no cost to you.
The condition for her without surgery is fatal she is at the vets because I could no longer provide appropriant care and didn't want to wake up next to a dead pup. If she survived the surgery, thats a big if, she would have a shunt for the rest of her life. Shehad an abnormally large open fontanelle, the vet said all chis should have that, is that true?
No, not all Chi's should have that. ALL puppies are born with it...it's mother nature's way of allowing a big head to pass through the birth canal.
I don't know the actual statistics on it, but in my experience about 1/2 of all Chi pups at about 8 weeks of age DO have an open font. Some will grow completely closed and some will not. Not all unclosed 'fonts' will have troubles such as your little baby. But some do.
Is your Vet recommending putting down the puppy as opposed to doing the surgery? I am assuming that she is pretty much in a comatose state now right?
To add to what the Mod. said, I would have your Vet do up a letter regarding what treatment he/she is recommending and the cost.
Alot of Breeders do have some sort of refund/replacement policy but it typically involves returning the puppy...and in that case you are kinda stuck.
So at first this Breeder said that she would give you a new puppy or refund your money? Now she says you have to return the puppy right?
When you get the treatment recommendation mail her a copy, then call her to discuss what your Vet is willing to do. Ask her what she would prefer as far as resolving the issue. If you try to do this kind of on her terms you may be much more likely to get your money back.
You may not need to contact a lawyer depending on how much you paid for the puppy. I don't know what state you or the breeder are in but you should find out what the state max for suing is in both areas. You can take the breeder to small claims court, take a notarized letter from the vet stating everything the vet did and told you. If you take the breeder to small claims court then a lawyer is not required (the actually do not allow lawyers prosecuting or defending in small claims court) and if you have a letter from the vet then its a pretty easy case to win. In most states however to get your money back for the puppy you must return the puppy, you can not keep the dog plus get your money back, you can also sue for the vet expenses if you paid any resulting from the puppies illness. Most states require you to pay a 50 fee to process the paperwork and you can usually sue for 5,000 (max) which is a lot cheaper then a lawyer will charge you. If you need additional help then you can do a search online for legal help or lawyer referral and they have many websites that will refer you to a lawyer in your area to talk to.
You may need to get a lawyer, make sure you have everything in order, the purchase date, when the symptoms began, date of 1st vet visit, any phone calls you made to her (dates/time/conversation that took place) Did you sign a contract when you bought her, or was it based on an oral agreement? If you signed one, have that in hand also. Though normally breeders require the pup be returned in order for the refund/replacement to take place, and if this was in a written contract, you may be out of luck unless you send her back.
Okay, here's the deal - regardless of whether there is a signed contract you agreed to the terms the breeder laid out, and the health gaurantee that she set forth when YOU paid for the puppy. From my understanding, when you paid for the puppy you were basically saying I agree to the condition it is in and whatever terms the breeder is giving me.
If you have a health guarantee and the breeder requires the puppy be returned first then I think you're out of luck. The down side of purchasing out of state is that you don't have ready access to the breeder. I can understand where the breeder is coming from for the fact that she chooses to have the puppy examined by HER vet before she agrees that something is wrong. About a year ago I had one of my puppy families try and tell me one of my pups had a skin disease. I didn't make them ship the puppy back BUT I did find a vet of my own choosing in their area to examine the puppy and it turned out that it had gotten a case of ringworm from the people's cat (who they neglected to tell me had ringworm). The breeder has her reasons for why she does things.
Open fonts are common in small breeds - and this is something you probably should have researched before buying a Chihuahua.
I honestly doubt by sueing the breeder you are going to get much. Since you are dealing with two different states you first have to determine which state you will go to court in. Then the laws differ. If you end up having to "go to court" in Texas you either have to hire a lawyer in Texas or travel to Texas. Secondly, I believe you are under 18 years old? In this case it is really your parents who have to deal with this. It could get to be very messy and if you're lucky you'll come out not owing more money in legal fees than you win - if you win. It depends on what kind of contract you had with the breeder and if it was signed. Even then, most contracts are really only about as good as the paper they are written on.
AngeGauche - Good ones do. I personally am willing to answer questions from a minor or to send them updates and pictures once a puppy is chosen but all the paperwork and business end of things I must deal with a parent - not only because of the legality of it, but also because I want to make sure that Mom and Dad are willing to take care of the dog if the child loses interest. I think the fact that the breeder was willing to deal with a minor is a red flag that they are less than great. Hopefully, as Chimama looks for a new puppy she will make sure that the breeder wants to deal with her parents as well as her and understand that is the way good breeders do business.
Some AKC breeders suck! Weve been through the same kinda thing with my Pug! I harassed this "woman", and gave her an avalanche of phone calls, and also my vets sent her papers- but that wasnt good enough! The breeder told me to give Holly back and she would just give me a new "healthy" puppy! Ah NO!!! I just wanted this woman to know she was not going to get away with selling sick pups- and I would never have gave Holly back to that "woman" no matter what! I know what she would do with her! PTS thats what- Maybe not even the humane way! She was an evil money hungry woman with not love in her eyes- ONLY $$$$
~ I forgot to add! She did end sending a money order to me after I had my vet send to her vet the diagnoses! That was BS! This woman lived 5 minutes away from her vet, and she had a copy of my vets diagnoses in her cold, clamy, money grubbing hands! She paid me only a tiny amount! But at least I didnt let her get away with her irresponsible, terrible breeding! I paid extra for Holly thinking Holly was a good healthy AKC Pug! I got the most unhealthy Pug ever! Endless probs- But I love her to death!
Keep calling, calling, and writing and threatening-she dosnt know you cant afford an attorney! Be persistant, a thorn in her side! If shes producing pups with health issues and she was aware- SHE needs to be held responsible!!!! ~IMO
***Edited By: 763melani on 7/10/2005 1:34:49 AM*** Reason: add