Puppy Deaths Linked To Wisconsin Mall Pet Store

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Missy lost her life eight days after Monica Pekol brought her home. Photo: WTMJ
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Four puppies dead. Three families heartbroken. Thousands of dollars. Another sad tale that supports the notion that dog lovers should adopt – not shop.

All of it happened within a two-month period. All four puppies came from the same store: Furry Babies in the Janesville Mall.

When a local news team at Milwaukee’s WTMJ-TV took a hidden camera into the store on a shopping excursion, staffers were happy to show them pups for sale, but wouldn’t share breeder information. That doesn’t happen until a customer purchases a dog – and it’s not illegal, either.

An investigation found that several of the Missouri breeders that supply Furry Babies were in violation; inspectors found dogs with health issues ranging from eye discharge to large masses. One had been fined for “failing to seek vet care.”

Any of the above might have been good information for the customers who endured losing their puppies.

Monica Pekol, an experienced dog owner, lost her miniature English Bulldog, Missy, just eight days after purchase. She told WTMJ reporters the dog went from excited and playful to lethargic and uninterested in eating or drinking quickly. The veterinarian’s diagnosis: roundworms. The store had given the pup a clean bill of health.

Kaitlyn Fischer’s Siberian Husky, Rane, was a Valentine’s Day gift.

“She started off with a slight cough,” Fischer told the NBC affiliate.

Three days later, the dog was dead. Autopsy results showed parvo and kennel cough as the culprits.

Heather Thompson’s husky pup, Neeko, was euthanized on Christmas Eve – undeniably sad. But when you take into account the dog was a gift to her children on the heels of the devastating two-fold loss of their father and great-grandparents. The pup meant to soothe this grief succumbed to complications stemming from a heart murmur.

Unable to leave her grieving children without a companion, she accepted Furry Babies’ offer of a free replacement puppy. Sasha is doing well, thankfully, but only after being treated for parasites.

Melissa Tedrowe, a rep from the Humane Society, spoke to WTMJ of the horrors of puppy mills. “…it’s not a great life just because the USDA has certified the animals,” she said, noting that law enforcement is limited to the minimum standards of the Animal Welfare Act.

“Just because a breeder has no USDA violations on record, again, doesn’t mean that the quality of care that the animals are getting at that facility is excellent or even okay.”

The owners in the piece reported that the store covered all veterinary bills in these cases; refunds were given for the puppies that died.

At press time, Furry Babies had been contacted for a statement but failed to reply. Its owner has similar stores in Illinois which WTMJ reported are facing a lawsuit alleging they sell sickly puppy mill puppies.

The take-away here? Adopt. Don’t shop.

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