As this happened a year ago, I am not looking to sue but as I just found this site, I would very much still like to know the answer. It could happen again to myself or someone I know.
I raise and show dogs.
I purchased a puppy from another breeder out of state (I'm in MI, she's in VA). The parents were both show champions and I did my homework on genetics, etc. Thought I'd made a good choice. Choose my puppy from the litter via photos. Once the puppy was of age and was told up to date on shots/wormings, I sent a friend to pick him up in person. The friend does dog hauling and shows. He was in her area showing.
The breeder KNOWINGLY sent this puppy with my friend knowing he was exposed to parvovirus, a very contagious and deadly dog disease. This pup's littermate brother was, at the time of pickup, at her vet's office hooked up to IV's, fighting for his life after a parvo diagnosis. I was not told and neither was my friend.
A couple days after getting him, I took him to my vet for parvo symptoms. Diagnosis confirmed. Now, not only did a puppy I purchased have parvo (and not given his shots, as requested/told) but he had been in contact with other dogs my hauler had with him, contaminated my mom's car who went with me to pick him up (she also raises and shows dogs and had a 5 wk old litter at home, too young for vaccines) and we stopped by my sister's house on the way home from getting him and she had TWO litters of newborn puppies (she raises and shows as well).
I incurred MUCH expense and was able to save his life. Thankfully, I was able to keep it from spreading (cared for him at home, with vet's consent and constant communication as well as the vet's help in inserting IV's, RX'ing medication, etc). The vet called her vet who then told us of the littermate brother and time tables. We had all documented as needed to prove she did this knowingly. I asked for compensation and she LITERALLY laughed at me!
Told me I could get a refund if I drove him back to her and left him with her. 1- Ethically, you can not go traveling with such a contagious animal. 2 - he was much too sick and vet even confirmed would have died long before reaching her and 3 - over my dead body would I hand over a sick puppy to someone's care such as her. I just wanted my vet bills covered which were limited as I choose to care for him at home.
He was also diagnosed with kennel cough and double ear infections. He was filthy and skinny upon arrival and even had photos of my own and that my dog hauler took day of pickup. (he didn't want me to think he did that to the pup). I had my vets on my side (3 of them in that office!) and her vet gave us verifiable info against her as well.
But given she was out of state, the cost would have been prohibitive for the amount of damages I was asking so I forfeited doing so. Not to mention, I can not leave my animals for the time it would take to pursue such a thing out of state.
What should a person do in these situations? Sadly, in the dog world, things like this are far too common. What are some options?
In hindsight, having a detailed contract and health guarantee is NECESSARY but there still should have been something I could do 'long distance'. Was there?
And a year later, is it too late to pursue things now? I'm still angry over it and now I see she is selling puppies again so I worry for others.