Thursday, June 21, 2007

Chip the hellhound

Ahhh, back home again from my week in Santa Cruz. Time to get back in gear just in time for some upcoming shows. Although there is something in the background that I feel I need to confront again. I have a skeleton in my closet that I think it’s time I face. Because it involves a certain cardigan corgi, I’d like to ask the advice of my blog friends.
Some of you know that I have had a bad experience with a backyard breeder back in December, well in many ways it’s still unresolved. I’ll try to keep to the short version.

I had been looking for a cardigan puppy to add to my family for a while and I of course was being very particular. I really wanted a blue male with blue eyes- Certainly now I would add with a good temperament and highly socialized with dogs, kids, ect. There is a guy here locally who has cardigans and sometimes has litters. He was due to have 2 litters in November and it turned out that neither of his bitches took. I was bummed, probably not as bummed as him but regardless my time was running out as I am returning to school late August and I wanted the winter and spring to work with the puppy to bring him up to par. So I did what I’ll obviously never do again, I googled CWC and I found a woman who lived in California, only about 4 hours away from me so I sent her an email inquiring about puppies. She said she didn’t have any litters on the ground but that she had a blue boy with blue eyes who was 5 months old- all housebroken and everything. His name was Chip and she raved about how smart and outgoing he was. I was truly on the fence about whether I wanted an older puppy; I really wanted to start from scratch with a younger pup. So she gave me an offer that I thought sounded pretty good and that was that I could have him for a trial period and if things didn’t work out I could bring him back. So I went for it. We met halfway at some rest stop in Corning, CA. I noticed that Chip had some missing patches of hair on him and the woman said that it was from his sister pulling him around. The dog was very friendly and pretty looking, so I took him back home with me. That was mistake number two. Mistake number one was that I gave her the asking price in cash before I left the rest area. BAD ME!
The events that happened in the following few weeks were hellish. The first thing Chip did when I brought him home was mark all over my entire house. I thought, “ Hmm that’s strange for a 5 month puppy to do.” Soon I learned that he was also food aggressive and had separation anxiety. When in a crate he would bark incessantly. I tried to put him in a small enclosure and he would FREAK OUT! He would claw at everything around him; jump and body slam into the door all while barking. I did everything the training books said to do and nothing worked. It was so bad that he would urinate and salivate all over himself while left alone.
I took him to the vet soon after having him and it was then that I found out that Chip was more like 8 – 9 months old. He weighed in at 33 pounds, so I suppose he could have been even older and that the missing fur patches were actually mange. I knew I had been deceived at this point, but I went ahead and began treating the mange and tried really hard to make it work for 2 weeks. All awhile I was calling and sending emails to the woman whom he came from and she was suddenly MIA. I knew I couldn’t keep Chip, he wasn’t what I bargained for, and now that I have Ash I realize how truly ill tempered Chip was. I ended up getting a hold of Cardigan Rescue because I didn’t want to just place Chip in another home- he needed rehabilitation and I wasn’t up for it. I worked with Sherilyn who finally was able to get a hold of Chip’s breeder and explained to her that it was in Chip’s best interest and her moral responsibility as a breeder for her to take him back. After 3 weeks she again met me in a rest stop this time bringing her husband along. Thankfully she did the right thing by taking him back, but she claimed the money had been spent and that she would just give me a puppy from her next litter in exchange. I countered this by stating that I just wanted my money back and she said that wasn’t how she does things. Bullshit right?
At the time I had no other choice, the rescue people said that because this woman wasn’t a CWCCA member she couldn’t be cited and that I probably didn’t have much of a chance in court, so I was just so glad to be rid of Chip that at the time it was almost worth a slap in the face ad losing the money.
Well that all happened 6 months ago and Ash has been keeping me happy, but now I’m beginning to feel like maybe I should open the can of worms again and try to get my money back, or at the very least warn others about her. What can I do? The local cardi guy has said that I should write a letter to the AKC, but Sherilyn said that they couldn’t do anything. Is the only way to get my money back is to really take a pup from her and then sell it to someone else?? Or is that just counter effective? Perhaps it’s just a hard lesson to learn that involved losing a lot of cash. Perhaps it’s just a slap in the face for trusting a stranger, who by the way is in law enforcement. I had never bought a purebred anything before- I should have been more patient and done more homework. Shoulda, woulda, coulda… Do I just lay it to rest or do I go after this terrible, terrible woman who is giving a bad reputation to our loved little breed?


StubbyDog said...

Wow, that's a tough one!

I doubt very seriously that you'll get your money back. You *might* get SOME of your money back, if you hound her...she might give you part of it just to get you off her back.

You can also obviously try to spread your story as much as you can, in hopes that it will prevent other people from dealing with that woman. But the sad truth is that I'm sure she has no problem selling to the pet market, because such people are usually just like yourself a while ago...not as informed as they should be, and often impatient to get a puppy now. Heck, I was the same way when we first got Brady...I just happened to get lucky and we got a nice temperament, healthy dog out of the deal. But I just as easily could have ended up with something worse.

I would NOT take another puppy from her and try to sell it to someone else. Does she do any health testing? What do you do when the new owner comes back and says hey this dog is severely dysplastic at 6 months old? Or has mange? Or a problem temperament? By reselling the dog, I think you'd have to be prepared to take responsibility for the dog...and I don't think I'd be willing to take responsibility for a poorly bred, poorly raised puppy.

Traci said...


I agree with Jeri... I very seriously doubt you'd see a dime back from this person.

But Craigslist is a powerful tool.... (insert evil grin here)

C-Myste said...

I've given this some thought ever since you first told me the story, but have never come up with a good answer. Hindsight is wonderful, so I guess you could always chalk it up to "lessons learned". Don't you hate it when they are expensive lessons, though?

I too doubt that you will ever see any money. Perhaps you should take her offer of another puppy, even if you do not end up keeping it. That would be one more puppy out of there and out of her pocketbook.

If you weren't going to get your money back anyway, it probably would have been better to turn Chip over to Cardigan rescue rather than give him back to the person who was the source of his problems. I know of another case where the people turned a dog over to rescue and insisted that the breeder not even be notified. Different breeder, but I have to presume that the owners did not like the way their dogs were kept.

Anybody can have a case where a puppy does not work out. I have certainly taken dogs back myself. And some Cardigans are just genetic freaks (sad but true). It's how you handle the situation that counts.

I presume that you had no paperwork or signed contract stipulating terms?

Checking her website. Caveat emptor "Shipping is available to approved homes world-wide." She doesn't show any puppies coming up, but we can keep watching.

Fox lady said...

I don't have anything in writing other than old emails, which actually may end up helping me if I were to really persue this. Although I think at this point I'm going to let the $ aspect go and instead inform others of who this lady is and not to support her in any way, shape or form. Especially since I've heard that she is out there showing her dogs.

She says she'll let me know when pups are on the ground and than at that point I'll have to think real hard about whether I take one. I certainly wouldn't keep it and so I agree with Jeri- I'd feel real nervous about how that puppy would develop and if something went wrong- who's in turn morally responsible? Yikes that could just be a HUGE mess.

I suppose alittle faith in karma can't help either!

Baledwr said...

Let it go...and be very careful what you say to who. Unfortunately we live in a very sue-happy world and with no signed contract or proof of how bad this dog was she could come after you for slander. True. (Guess what I've been studying all week!). If anyone asks directly just be careful how you word it...she could easily claim any worse is damaging her business.

The only way to get your money back would likely be some kind of civil suit - which would cost you time, money and heartache and might be difficult with no contract.

Of course you can just occasionally hound her :)

Traci said...

now i'm curious who this person is and where their website is....

StubbyDog said...

True, you could always contact rescue and see if they have some good homes looking for a puppy...then take a puppy from her (at least she makes that much less $$ on the litter) and place it through rescue. Still wouldn't get you any money back, but would earn some money for rescue and get the dog a hopefully responsible placement. *shrug*

Fox lady said...

Well Traci since you asked- just google Mackey Cardigan Corgis. I see she's updated her website too.

Traci said...

ooh. Samantha Nye got her Jackson from them... he was a decent enough dog... way cute as a puppy... I'm sorry to hear you had such a bad experience Anne... I don't know the people you got Ash from, so I can't speak for THEM, but you sure got yourself one heck of a support team with these folks... you're lucky to be near(ish) them!!!

C-Myste said...

I think a good rule of thumb is not to go to people who don't give the registered names and pedigrees of all of their "breeding stock" on their web page. Why wouldn't you, if you're a legitimate breeder.

I wrote to Barb Hoffman about their Hunter puppies. She says that she'll keep me in mind if there are any non-coated girl puppies available. Jon requires that the coated ones go on a non-show agreement as brood bitches only. I don't want to breed so much that I could justify keeping just a brood bitch.

Fox lady said...

Sorry Carolyn you lost me on the last part. Who is Barb Hoffman?

C-Myste said...

What, you can't follow my train of thought?

I was thinking about puppies and web pages. And the needing of a new puppy some time.

6 girls, 3 boys

StubbyDog said...

Aha, I see I wasn't the only one tempted by the lovely WD at Nationals. ;-) Except in my case, I was just going to tell my friend Heidi to try to get one...

CardiLover said...

This is the woman who approached us about using our boy after she saw him at Roseville in October 2005. We saw her again in November 2005 and my husband even handled her bitch when both her bitch and dog went into winners'. She's the one who lost that bitch (from Paradiddle) and that dog(from Visions) over the new year. She told me that they had been in the backyard on new year's eve and were spooked by fireworks and got out of a gate that hadn't been latched as well as it should have been. They were found 9 days later, hit by cars. Some of you may remember the announcements on the cardi email lists.

While my boy probably won't get used, even with his good hips, I wouldn't have let her use him without finding out what kind of hips, eyes, etc. this girl had through testing. I seriously doubt she would have followed through on any of it and would have found me too difficult to work with.

I'm sorry to hear you were jerked around so badly!!!