Kathleen O'Grady fell in love with “Patches” at the Pets Plus store in Northeast Philadelphia. On September 7th she bought the puppy for $999 bucks with a warranty. Three days later the little Shih Tzu puppy became deathly ill. Then, a week after being hospitalized Patches died from Parvovirus.
“It was horrible, I just felt so bad for the poor little puppy, it never had a chance,” O’Grady said.
For three months O’Grady said she called Pets Plus and the warranty company in Colorado to refund her money.
Here’s a look at O’Grady’s overall expenses:
It cost her $3,772 at the one veterinarian hospital, $90 for her own veterinarian, and $1000 to buy the dog in the first place. Now, she says she has nothing.
“They were getting very annoyed with me. Pets Plus corporate finally told me you just need to call the warranty company. There is nothing that we can do for you. I said well you are the seller according to the Puppy Lemon Law it is up to you to reimburse me,” O’Grady explained.
State officials told NBC 10’s Lu Ann Cahn, O’Grady's right. The Puppy Lemon Law declares that if you're puppy gets sick or dies within 10 days of purchase, you can request a full refund for the puppy to be paid within 14 days. So, Cahn went to the pets plus corporate office in Horsham, Pa. and managers responded immediately.
“My gosh I truly apologize as a company and personally apologize. I feel sorry for the whole incident,” Tommy Shinn, a Pets Plus spokesperson said.
Shinn also said this was an isolated incident and that they have excellent vet care. He told the NBC 10 Investigators that Pets Plus sells thousands of puppies a year at their stores and that the puppies come from the highest quality commercial breeders. He said that they don't sell sick animals.
As for the delay in dealing with O’Grady’s incident?
“I'm not exactly sure what happened but we're investigating it to make sure it doesn't happen in the future,” the spokesperson responded.
Animal activists like Jenny Stephens say the best deals are at shelters where 84 thousand dogs in Pennsylvania need to be rescued. And she along with Pa. state officials NBC 10 talked to question the need for pet store warranties.
“It's interesting that they sell a warranty for puppy health when Pennsylvanians are already protected by the Puppy Lemon Law and consumers should certainly think about that,” Stephens said.
Meanwhile, the NBC 10 investigators got action from Pets Plus.
Cahn delivered a refund check to O’Grady that Pets Plus wrote for $999 dollars, the cost of the puppy. O’Grady said the check will help her pay her $3,000 dollar vet bill.
O’Grady did several things right in dealing with this incident: She documented everything, she filed a complaint with the state Attorney General's office and she knew her rights.
Read up and know your rights: Puppy Lemon Law in Pa., N.J.