A woman who bought a puppy from a Petland store in Sarasota last year accused the chain of selling her a sick dog.
A few months ago, Sarah Royal paid the Petland at 5380 Fruitville Road $4,000 for her dog, Bonibel, and a puppy package that included a warranty, according to a report by ABC Action News.
But just a week after taking Bonibel home, another veterinarian diagnosed the dog with kennel cough that Royal said only grew worse.
A second vet visit determined the cough had turned into bronchitis, the outlet reported, and Bonibel tested positive for the highly contagious parasite giardia. Just two days after Bonibel met the family’s pet chinchilla, Peanut, died.
Bonibel made it but other dogs from Petland, many customers say, aren’t so lucky.
Royal’s accusation comes as the national chain is already embroiled in a class-action lawsuit filed last year. The suit accuses Petland’s 77 franchise locations of defrauding customers by luring them to pay top dollar for dogs that quickly fall sick and in some cases die. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is one of the law groups involved in the case.
Attorneys with the defense fund have said that customers who say the chain sold them sick puppies have rolled in from all over the country, but Florida seems to be a hot spot, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Take Indra Jenkins case, for example, who bought two puppies – Ollie, a Yorkshire terrier, and Nenanee, a Cavalier King Charles – from the Petland location in Largo.
Jenkins paid nearly $5,000 for the dogs that both came with a clean bill of health with veternarian-signed certificates. But soon after bringing the pups home, Jenkins noticed that Nenanee was lethargic. Then, he stopped eating altogether.
A Petland vet prescribed more antibiotics.
Jenkins wasn’t convinced and decided to get a second opinion from a veternarian outside of Petland’s warranty, worried there was something significantly wrong.
She was right.
In the end, Nenanne wound up being diagnosed with double pneumonia and had to be placed on oxygen at an emergency animal hospital. Jenkins said she spent over $4,000 to save her puppy’s life.
The store eventually refunded her $1,800, which was the purchase price of the puppy, ABC Action News reports.
In Sarah Royal’s case, the Sarasota store reimbursed her $95 of about $300 in vet bills.
For the class-action suit, the next step lies in whether a judge will decide to grant Petland’s petition to drop the suit.
But if the plaintiff’s win out, it could mean that every Petland customer who has purchased a sick puppy over the last four years would receive some compensation.