March 21, 2010


 According to the data has collected in over 6000 puppy reports, there are approximately 1600 pet stores in the U.S. that sell puppies.  California is ranked #3 for the number of pet stores selling puppies. Only Florida and New York have more than we do.

Here is the copy from the Channel 6 2008 report.  Now in 2010 we are in crisis with an overwhelming number of dogs straining the resources of shelters and rescues alike. We believe the dogs -- 4 million of them produced by puppy mills last year -- are paying for this greed with their lives.
Pet Store Puppy Illnesses Reported
Reported by: Heather Myers
Last Update: 11/20/2008 12:28 am
In September, we told you about three sick puppies that were sold at California Pets. One of the dogs has since died.

The pet store has two locations; one in Escondido, the other in Carlsbad.
After a two-month long investigation, San Diego 6 has learned about dozens more sick puppies. All purchased at California Pets.

Matthew Garrison purchased three dogs at California Pets. One about six months ago and two more in September. He says his 8-week-old Yorkie, Nala, started vomiting and having severe diarrhea within 48 hours of bringing her home. It was the same for tiny Rocko, who did not survive."Four days after we bought the dog, he died in my wife's arms -- as we picked him up to go meet the vet," said Garrison.

Rocko's body was taken to the County of San Diego's Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab. A necropsy determined rocko died of enteritis, which is inflammation or infection of the small intestine, and intestinal coccidia. That's a parasite, which according to the report, can be transmitted to animals in "crowded conditions or poor sanitation."

Amber-Lee Letourneau bought her $900 Scottish Terrier named Bonnie at California Pets. Four days later the dog died. Bonnie's medical records show the puppy had an infestation of round worms.

Nick Wood says within one day of purchasing his $1500 Yellow Lab at California Pets in Escondido, Yeller was close to death.

Then there's Stacy Pappas, who says she purchased Toby for $1300 from California Pets this August. Toby came home sneezing. "Within two days of bringing him home he was coughing quite a bit," said Pappas. The vet diagnosed Toby with Kennel Cough which turned then into pneumonia.

San Diego 6 sat down with the owner of California Pets, Joe Shamore, back in September. At the time, we only knew about Rocco and Bailey. Since the initial story aired, San Diego 6 received a number of emails from frustrated customers claiming they also purchased sick dogs from California Pets.

We asked Shamore to go back on camera and explain the additional complaints. He declined. But in our first interview, Shamore told us, "They do not come from mills and they are not sold sick."

Shamore told us he gets his puppies from 15,000 breeders and brokers across the nation. Most are out-of-state, including Missouri which has the reputation of being the "Puppy Mill Capitol" of the United States." But Shamore gave us this guarantee, "My name is Joe Shamore and we don't get our dogs from puppy mills." (Note to readers from the Animal Defense Team: See our SD ADT blog entry on how stores can make this statement without being sued for consumer fraud.)
He went on to claim that when any puppy is purchased, the new owner receives this contract and signs off that the dog appears to have the "look of health."
The contract also offers, an "extended warranty." Meaning, if the owner takes their pet to the Monacky Animal Hospital in Escondido or Carlsbad within 7 days of purchase, the dog can be treated for infectious or contagious diseases with the owner only paying co-pays.

Shamore has also issued this statement:
Regardless of where you purchase or adopt a puppy from, it is simply unrealistic to think that puppies cannot become ill. For this reason, before a customer purchases a puppy from us, we inform them of all possible illnesses that could occur and also guarantee to cover medical expenses. It is simply unfair to say that all the puppies that come from our stores are sick. It is easy to pick a few cases. Ninety-five percent of our puppies are happy and healthy and require no medical treatment at all.  Over the 40 years we have been in business, we have placed thousands of happy and healthy puppies with families and provided unconditional love to all involved. We will continue in this endeavor for years to come.

Many of the pet owners we spoke to say it's not the money that matters. They're angry that the brand new member of their family was ill and in some cases, too sick to survive.

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