Justice for a woman and her puppy

Seven On Your Side
January 23, 2012 8:12:58 PM PST
A puppy dies just days after being purchased from a pet store. 7 On Your Side helps the owner figure out how to get justice.

"This should have been a wonderful Christmas. This should have been, right now my dog should be in the backyard roaming around doing what dogs do jumping all over us, my dog is not, my dog is dead," said Doreen Longo, a pet owner.

Doreen Longo still can't bring herself to move the leash off the coat hook or throw away the puppy's toys.

"It's something I can't live past right now," Longo said.

Last month, she paid a New Jersey pet store $915 for a German shepherd puppy.

She named her Sasha and the puppy was a gift to her daughter for graduating boot camp.

But 48 hours after Doreen bought the pup got sick.

"The round worms, the coxsidia, the Girardia and Parvo," Longo listed.

Riddled with parasites, infection, a virus and a disease, the eight week old pup was given antibiotics.

But just 11 days after buying her, Sasha died in her arms.

"I'm hysterical, 'Help me, help me!' The vet techs ran, scooped her out of my arms, and said, 'Get out of the way she's expiring'" Longo said.

"Consumers should know their rights," said Tom Calcagni, of NJ Division of Consumer Affairs.

New Jersey law mandates if a dog dies within 14 days of purchase, the pet shop must refund the purchase price of the dog plus vet bills.

"Consumers could be entitled to restitution if the dog gets sick or dies and a vet certifies that it's 'unfit for purchase,'" Calcagni said.

Sasha's vet bills and medicine totaled a whopping $1,500, but Doreen says she never heard back from Fancy Puppies after faxing the store vet bills and express mailing her vet's unfit for purchase certificate.

It turns out that Doreen wasn't alone.

7 On Your Side checked with Middlesex County Consumer Affairs and they have nine other complaints about this store.

The owner they said agreed to get on a payment plan to reimburse seven of their customers their vet bills.

But after 7 on Your Side got involved, the Fancy Puppies owner offered to refund Doreen $2,200, all but $200 of her vet bills.

But Doreen rejected it.

"I don't think the person should be in business," Longo said.

If Doreen had checked with her county's consumer affairs she would've seen the business' past.

Now she vows to see the owner in court.


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