Had to go with my gut.

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So remember how I posted a few weeks back about the new addition to our family (a dog)? We put down a $500 deposit with a breeder in Southern California back in June, which put us at the top of the list for a puppy from an upcoming litters.

That litter was birthed two weeks ago.

Many commented on my earlier post that they were disappointed in my decision to get a puppy from a breeder, as opposed to adopting a shelter/rescue dog. I expected as much, and don’t really feel like I need to justify why I wanted a dog from a breeder. Much like I don’t feel a need to justify my love of meat to vegetarians. To each their own.

Over the last few months I’ve been doing a ton of research, preparing for the day we get to be puppy parents. During the course of said research, I stumbled upon some things that gave me uneasy feelings about the breeder we picked.

It started on a Vizsla forum, where some users expressed concerns with the breeding facility. I found a news article, dated back in 2010, that disclosed the breeders were investigated by local authorities for animal abuse by a handful of former employees. While all of the charges against the breeders were dropped, there was one thing in the article that bothered me…

Though officials did see some dogs in kennels that were too small and exposed to too much sun, none of the more than 100 animals’ lives were in immediate danger and the problems were correctable

So while the dogs may not have been abused, I was shocked at the sheer quantity of dogs on site. I mean 100+ animals forces me to question the integrity of the breeder. How can they possibly be caring for each puppy and giving them the attention/stimulation they need. Was quantity more important to them than quality?

As disheartened as I was by the news report, I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt, reminding myself the charges were dropped. I also wasn’t jazzed about the idea of forfeiting my non-refundable $500 deposit.

Last week I requested a copy of the “buyer/seller” agreement for review. After reading the contract, I knew I had made a bad choice in breeder.

On the breeders website they advertise all of their dogs come with a two-year health guarantee against a variety of common health issues. This guarantee is important to me, as it shows the breeder stands behind the quality of their dogs (something puppy mills couldn’t care less about). That’s why I was totally disturbed by the following statement…

“The Seller will guarantee the puppies health for a period of two (2) years from the date of birth, if Buyer supplies the dog with NuVet Plus for Canines®  & Life’s Abundance Dog Food on a daily basis.”

What the heck? You’re only guaranteeing my dogs health if I feed it a specific multi-vitamin and a specific dog food, every day, for two years? That would have been nice to know before I gave you $500.

It gets worse.

The breeder forces the buyer to order these supplements/food with a specific order code the breeder can track. Something didn’t feel right to me about this, so I shot the breeder an email asking if they made a commission off these sales. Their response…“Yes we do.”

 

That was the nail in the coffin for me.

What if my puppy is allergic to the food they require be fed? What if my vet recommends a different multivitamin? What if I lose my job and can’t afford $70 for a bag of dog food?

The health guarantee was supposed to give me peace of mind, but instead was turning in to a big nightmare. I could not, in good conscience, support a breeder that gave me reason to question the integrity of their business. Especially when there are a million reputable breeders out there.

I sent them an email indicating I would not and could not sign the contract in its current language. They weren’t willing to change the agreement, so they refunded me my money and let me walk. Thank goodness!

The silver lining is that we managed to find a small time breeder out of Montana that has a few puppies available. She has owned her one female Vizsla and one male Vizsla for over five years. They are her only dogs, and they have had two previous, and completely healthy, litters together. After some lengthy conversations, pedigree verification, phone calls with the vet that has checked out the puppies, and review of the contract we’ve decided to put in a deposit on one of her pups.

I leave for the Netherlands on Friday, and our Vizsla will be ready to come to our home a few days after I get back in Mid December. We’re super pumped! 

Have you ever had an uneasy feeling about a business transaction before?

12 thoughts on “Had to go with my gut.

  1. So interesting. Great job on doing research – most people wouldn’t. We’re getting a puppy in the spring time and visited a breeder only 5 miles from our home. They were great, had only 5 dogs (2 which were puppies waiting for their new owners to come get them). We got such a good feeling from them and they even offered kennel services if we ever have to go out of town. We’re lucky we were able to visit in person, in most situations it’s really difficult. Also – we decided to go with a breeder too – some friends criticized our decision too, but my boss’s wife is a vet in town and she warned me never to get a pet from the local SPCA/shelter because they notoriously lie about problems (hip displaysia, kidney problems, etc.) and she said she’s seen too many people adopt from the shelter only to be burdened with massive vet bills due to problems that weren’t disclosed. Plus… buying from a breeder: $995… buying from the shelter: $700 (+ a minimum $50 ‘donation’).

  2. YAY – congrats on the new puppy! I’m glad you did your research and ended up with a reputable breeder. And I’m glad the original breeder was decent enough to give you your money back.

    I cannot even fathom 100+ dogs (except in 101 Dalmatians). That makes me sick to my stomach. None of those dogs are enjoying a good life.

    Do you guys have a name picked out yet?

  3. Way to go doing the extra research on the breeder. It would have been easy to ignore the negativity and not go through all the extra effort. It takes a humble man to admit you made a wrong decision and then make the right decision.

  4. Trolls don’t just live under bridges, they also have pets!

    I spent a lot of years involved in the dog community on various levels. I’m impressed you did your research – a lot of people don’t. Its very important that the breeder guarantees defects against known breed specific problems.

    Its just too bad the laws rarely enforce standards to the keeping of the animals.

    Cheers

    Happy TRoll

  5. Good for you for going with your gut. Don’t feel too bad about using a breeder. We got our pups from a rescue agency thinking it would be better. It wasn’t. When we got them they were super skinny (though they had been at the “shelter” for months) and looked neglected 🙁 Bad people are bad people.

  6. Can I suggest you use this as a “lesson” and next time do the research BEFORE you put forth a deposit? Not every business would refund a non-refundable deposit this late in the transaction.

  7. Doesn’t the situation you just went through kind of explain why people might have wanted some justification for going with a breeder?

    Puppy mills and even humane dog breeding (to an extent) have always seemed like messy and oftentimes sketchy businesses, full of underhanded tactics like this one. The money is always the 1st priority and no one ever seems to care about the dogs.

  8. I’m glad you were able to get your money back and decided to go with a (hopefully) more reputable breeder. Still, it’s frustrating that the skeezy ones you backed out of probably won’t be shut down anytime soon, unless they particularly overstep the bounds and get caught abusing the dogs.

  9. It is tough to take the time and check to see if a business is worth buying from but it usually saves a lot of time on the back end. This comes from experience although I still find that at times I make a purchase without doing enough due diligence.

  10. Congrats on your soon-to-be puppy parenthood! I just adopted a retired racing greyhound last week, and it has made me so happy… Life just isn’t complete without a good dog by your side. I have to give a quick plug for retired greyhounds for anyone reading this… They arrive housebroken, knowing how to walk on a leash, and they are very calm, adorably lazy, and affectionate. They’re a healthy breed with a long lifespan, and their adoption fee usually runs around $200. Definitely a good option to consider for anyone thinking about getting a dog!

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