When selecting a breeder, ASK questions about health guarantees!! >>
Now I've been informed that "breeder bashing" is prohibited. I haven't mentioned the breeders name and that's not really the intent of this post. The intent is to relate a story, so you're aware to pay careful attention to health guarantees. They might not be worth the paper they're written on. And what are you going to do about it anyway?
Before purchasing a puppy 7 months ago, I did a LOT of research finding a reputable breeder, incl. searching *this* website. One breeder's name kept coming up time and time again. Fantastic website, facebook page and so on. Supposedly, one of the best breeders in all of North America says she and all the testimonials.
So based on this, I figure it MUST be worth dropping 2k on a puppy, right? So far so good. At six months of age, I look outside and he's having a seizure. My wife calls the vet immediately and we rush over there and are there within 5 minutes. The puppy is DOA.
I'm panic stricken and heartbroken as you can imagine but I remembered reading something in the contract about having a necropsy performed if the dog dies. So I asked the vet then and there who said, "Well, it's going to be expensive and the results will probably be inconclusive anyway." The vet agreed to let me leave the dog there until I got back to them. The vet added that based on my description of the event, "Probably a heart attack". Now that may or may not be true. I go home and the breeder's phone msg says she's away in Germany and won't be back for a week. So now, I don't know what to do as I couldn't get any direction from the breeder and leave a phone message. I called the vet back and said forget the autopsy. I mean after all, the dog is dead. I requested he be cremated and his ashes returned.
A week later, the breeder gets back and calls me. I tell her what happened and the first thing she asked me was, did I have a necropsy performed. I explained why I hadn't, as the vet had said the results would be inconclusive so why go to that expense? I have to go with what the vet tells me. She informed me that I SHOULD have taken the dog to such and such a place as the necropsy would only cost $100.00 and she added, "They won't rest until they find the cause of death." Well nowhere in the agreement does it say, "Should your dog die, take it here." And what was I supposed to do, keep the dog in my freezer until she got back a week later to tell me what I *should* have done?
She then tells me that she cannot "guarantee" the dog unless she knows how it died. Then she chastised me for leaving the dog "unsupervised" and laid a guilt trip on me, like it was my fault. Then she chastised me for not having the necropsy done because if it was a heart attack, she would need to know that for breeding purposes. Well criminy, if you want this necropsy done so badly, YOU pay for it! She seems to be forgetting something rather important here, the dog is actually dead. So I contacted several other breeders who are familiar with this dog necropsy place. They told me that collectively, they are personally familiar with 15-20 necropsies that have been performed there and not once, has the cause of death been determined. So for the sake of argument, let's say the dog ate some bad mushrooms out in the yard or something. Okay, so 2k for the puppy, $$$ for the Necropsy, $$$ for the lab tests, and $$$ for the return ferry ride to a place I didn't know existed.
This from the website: "My guarantee is fair, not everything can be outlined in a contract, each situation has to be dealt with individually."
I didn't even ask for a free dog!!! All I asked for, was based on the circumstances of her not being available to offer me direction and my having to go with what the vet here had told me, would she be prepared to at least meet me halfway on the price. "No". My case was dealt with "Individually" all right!:mad:
You know, my brother was found dead a couple of years ago in a cabin at Big Bear Lake Ca. When I got the call from the San Bernadino Sheriff's Dept informing me, the first question I asked was "How did he die?" Their answer, "We don't know the autopsy results were inconclusive." And that's on a human being.
I would suggest videotaping your questions to any breeder about their health guarantee and ask a million of them:)
My advice? Forget the health guarantee altogether and just enjoy the dog:D
Well, to be fair, there are things that can cause siezures and death that are neither genetic or in anyway in the control of the breeder.
I don't know where you are from, but snake bite, killer bees, an reaction to a bee sting, a bajillion poisons.
We all want to think that we would replace a dog when someone loses their pet at such a young age, but should we? If someone lets their dog get into some chocolate mulch or antifreeze and loses the puppy, should we put another dog in that situation. If the problem was something genetic, the breeder should provide a replacement. If the problem was something that no one could affect in anyway, like the dog that was chasing bees and was stung in his throat and died. Should the breeder come across? And what if it is something that is accidental on the part of the owner, or malicious by some trespasser by planting poison that your dog would drink. Why should the breeder pay for that?
The necropsy might have given the breeder infrmation about the breeding and problems with it, if there was a genetic problem. And the breeder would have probably offered you a replacement puppy or whatever their contract allowed. But with no necropsy it puts a huge question on why. Why not try to figure how the dog died.
Unfortunately, not everyone is honest. The person whose dog died from chasing bees and getting stung inside its throat. Told the breeder that the dog died of a heart attack and wanted the dog to be replaced. The vet practice was one that she used and the vet tech knew her and her dogs, and told her what a shame it was about the dog getting stung in its throat like that.
So by accident she found out what actually happened to the puppy. The pup owner was certainly trying to get a replacement.
If you remembered in the contract that a necropsy should be performed, then that is what should have occurred. Did you ever stop to think you could have actually found a cause of death? Birth defect, toxin? Doesnt mean the breeder would have covered replacing your pup, but the possibility would have been there. You negated the contract when you didnt get the necropsy. Also, I have found some contracts that only guarantee hips to 2 yrs old. Most dont get OFA's done til after that. So one with a longer time frame to me makes sense.
So in one breath there *is* a contract, and in the next it's "fair". Then, "each situation has to be dealt with individually". So there is NO actual contract if that's the case. It's legalese. You don't sign a rental contract to pay $1,000 per month in rent that you and the landlord think is fair. Then have the landlord deal with your case "individually" and now charge you $1,400.
Look, neither you nor anyone else has to agree with me. But you know who *did* agree with me? Another breeder. A breeder who is mentioned multiple times on *this* website, not my next door neighbour. She gave me a dog on compassionate grounds. She didn't have to do that. Right or wrong, the original breeder should have done *something*. She didn't even say "I'm sorry". I have the right to be choked.
But again, the intent of the post was to inform about contracts and ensuring you know it, inside and out.
2 years from the purchase date would give the buyer a minimum of 8 extra weeks to get those hips done.
You've had responses from two breeders...Sue and Dawn...now I'll respond as a buyer.
Yes, know exactly what your contract states. For a 6 mth old to have a seizure and die something is not right. BUT that does not mean it is genetic or faulty breeding. It could be congenital or environmental.
You KNEW your contract stated a necropsy had to be done and you chose not too. So the breeder had nothing to go on other than your word and a "maybe" diagnosis. YOU did not follow the contract. If you had, and you state above that you were fully aware of the necropsy clause so you did know the contract inside and out, then you might have gotten a different response.
These are not apartments. Your example is terribly flawed. They are living creatures that sometimes aren't put together correctly or get into toxins. Bad things happen. I don't think the breeder is being unreasonable.
It was kind of another breeder to give you a puppy. But that does not reflect on the first breeder, who by the way is not terribly hard to figure out who it is. Just because a breeder is mentioned on here multiple times does not make them a good breeder. There are several breeders on here that I wouldn't even consider getting a puppy from.
Bottom line...you didn't follow the contract that was clearly spelled out and you were aware of.
Someone else gave you a puppy. That was very kind of them. Since we have no clue why the other dog died, we have no idea whether there is something in your yard that may have been the cause. I hope that you have considered this and looked closely at the type of plants, mulch, etc, that you have hanging around. If there was a necropsy and there actually was a genetic issue that would explain the siezure and death, then we wouldn't have to worry about that.
I agree with your original breeder. The contract says to do a necropsy. Had that been done, and the results were inconclusive then I would think that the breeder should have met you half way. If the results were something genetic, they should have replaced the puppy. If the results showed some specific toxin or a cause for the death of the pup that was not due to anything genetic, then the breeder could have chosen to do something or not. Without a necropsy though, there is no chance that anything can be learned from the death of the puppy.
Look at it this way. If you have a contract that warranties the hips of the dog if you diagnose the hips by x-ray and send them to the OFA. If you have the dog for six months and it starts limping so you take it to the vet. The vet says, it's a German Shepherd, this is hip dysplasia. And you decide to euthanize the dog on his opinion of hip dysplasia with no x-rays, and YES, some vets DO tell people their dog is dysplastic without x-rays. And some are wrong even when they ARE looking at x-rays. Should the breeder replace the puppy, our meet you half way? Should someone else give you a free puppy because you negated your contract and the breeder wouldn't honor it?
Well, I personally think it would have been a good gesture for the breeder to offer another pup at half price. Just as we don't know if the dog died from getting into something, we also do not know if the dog had a congenital defect. Meeting you half way on this probably wouldn't have hurt the breeder in any way and it would have been good for her reputation. Any one of us would have been upset if that were our pup. You are right about the contract too...the breeder basically says she will always have the last say.
Now the judge may not order her to give me another dog or any other thing. But he would declare the contract null and void. So where does that leave us at the end of the day? Discretion. Breeder's choice, just as her own words say.
So in conclusion, you're right on a couple of things. I chose NOT to do it for financial reasons. I knew, she thought I should. But it's an unreasonable request under "our" laws. Did she know it was an unreasonable request? Probably not. But, I'm not doing anything about it. I've sucked it up and taken the loss, both on a financial and personal level.
And what I was saying (back to the beginning), if you're going to sign a "contract", you'd better make sure you understand it and that it's fair. If it isn't walk away. Legally, it's an unreasonable demand. Morally, perhaps it's the right thing to do (the necropsy). But remember, we are talking about a "contract", a legal document.
I learned a lesson and want others to learn from my experience as well, that's all there is to this. I see no reason for you and I to have a peeing contest;)
I have some mixed feelings about this.....
If a six month old puppy of my breeding died, I would have wanted to know WHY! Even some simple bloodwork to see if there were toxins present, infection and a basic necropsy to see if a vital organ was compromised....not a full out CSI level one...but some effort on the part of the owner to understand why a 6 month old seizured and died. Heck - dogs have gotten balls stuck in their throats, and died, while apparently seizuring....I know 2 people who lost dogs that way.
So it is not just a following the contract issue for the sake of following it - there is a REASON to want to know!!! I am sure you are troubled by not knowing why this puppy died!!!!
There is an assumed risk on buying any living animal - horse, cat, dog - no one breeds faults on purpose - out of ignorance yes, but on purpose? No....
That all being said, I would probably do something for one of mine who lost a puppy unless I really felt that it was avoidable or the person had already proved to be a royal off the wall whack job
Now - I know of a litter where 5 of 7 pups were reported to be having seizures....by 4/5 months old...I spoke to the owners of 3 of those pups...I know the pedigree - it was a litter imported in utero (but the dam has had 2 more litters as this breeder breeds every female every heat and probably paid alot of money for the female!), I know the breeder.....2 of the people who I spoke to were looking for new pups having had to PTS the pups by 6 months old as the seizures were uncontrollable....in that case, yes the breeder should do something substantial.....even though this was no one's FAULT....except maybe the seller of the top rated female as I would suspect some knowledge on their part that made them sell the female!
I am sorry for your loss, and glad someone gave you another puppy....but I do agree that some type of investigation should have been done to know why that puppy died...it could have been as simple as ingesting something that blocked off it's airway.
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