SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Nicole Bajnoci thought she had found the perfect fit and purchased her dog Gabby from purebredbreeders.com for $1,200, but eight months later, Gabby started showing signs mentally and physically that something was wrong.
After an expensive surgery, Nicole found out that Gabby had a serious liver disease and was told the dog would probably only live for another ten months. She e-mailed the website to let them know, but says they never got back to her.
“For me to not be able to contact them, or for them not to care enough to contact me back, makes me think something shady’s going on,” said Bajnoci.
Purebredbreeders.com representatives, however, say that’s not the case. They sent ABC40 a statement that reads in part:
“Our records indicate that we have not received any correspondence from the Bajnocis since February 2011 when they informed us that their new family member was doing great. Ms. Bajnoci’s puppy came from one of our very best USDA-licensed breeders and received a perfect health report upon its physical exam performed by a licensed veterinarian the day prior to the puppy’s arrival at her new home.”
The website told ABC40 it will be getting in contact with Bajnoci and Gabby’s breeder to make sure no other dogs have the condition.
Because not every website can be trusted, though, lawmakers have introduced P.U.P.S: the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act. It would require all breeders to undergo inspections and meet Department of Agriculture standards for caring for dogs.
“They’ve sought to skirt state and federal animal welfare regulations by dealing directly with the consumer, rather than through the often-regulated middle man, which is often times a pet store,” said Leslie Harris of the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society.
Harris says, because you never actually visit the breeder and see the conditions, you can’t be sure the animals are treated well.
“Animals who are bred repeatedly, who lack socialization, and who lack just basic cleanliness and food and water and shelter,” said Harris.
Two years later, Gabby is still alive, healthy and happy, thanks to a daily, and expensive medicine regimen.