Knoxville woman's new puppy costs her hundreds in vet bills

Knoxville woman's new puppy costs her hundreds in vet bills

Posted:
Yorkshire terrier puppy Lexie was very sick after owner Linda Horton bought her. Yorkshire terrier puppy Lexie was very sick after owner Linda Horton bought her.
"Once her health is 100%, once Neeko's health is 100%, yes, I will be happy," she said. "Once her health is 100%, once Neeko's health is 100%, yes, I will be happy," she said.
"I'm trying to make it right," Tim Powers said. "I'm not a bad person. I want to make everybody happy." "I'm trying to make it right," Tim Powers said. "I'm not a bad person. I want to make everybody happy."

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knoxville woman who bought a puppy last month says she has spent more on vet bills than she paid for the Yorkie.

For the dog, Lexie, recovering from several illnesses has been slow going.

Linda Horton bought the puppy in early February at a flea market in Sevierville. She paid $400 and another $50 for registration with the Continental Kennel Club.

She bought the dog from Will Compton and Tim Powers. Together they operate Fur-Ever-Friends in Harriman.

"The first day that I saw Lexie, they told me she was six weeks old and I needed to come back the next week and she'd be ready for pickup," said Horton. "Immediately, I noticed she wasn't drinking water."

Horton's friend was with her when Lexie came home.

"I thought that was odd. Typically, puppies at seven weeks will drink from a bowl," said friend Liz Paniagua.

There was a health guarantee for the dog, but Horton says the puppy's sellers never offered to pay any medical bills. Vet records show Lexie was really sick.

"She becomes very lethargic. She's eating, but not drinking," Horton said. "Then she starts limping."

The puppy didn't get better and almost died. The vet knew why.

"What they told me, it's where the liver isn't functioning properly. It's not flushing out the toxins," she said.

Horton also took Lexie to a registered Yorkie breeder who said the dog was no older than four to five weeks when sold.

"Had I known her correct age, we would have been able to give her the proper food," she said.

By that time, she had spent nearly $500 on vet bills, so Horton filed a complaint with the state's division of animal welfare who checked those registration papers.

"They told me the father was registered, but that the mother had never been fully registered," Horton said.

Since Lexie's mother had not been registered, Fur-Ever-Friends returned the $50 fee. And to make up for the vet bills, Horton was given another puppy.

But it also has problems. It's been diagnosed with kennel cough.

In Harriman, 6 On Your Side visited Fur-Ever-Friends seeking answers from the owners.

It's a state-registered facility where dogs can be sold to individuals only, and under those rules there is no age limitation on when puppies can be sold.

"If you are USDA, yes, they have to be eight weeks old, but, no, they don't have to be eight weeks old if you're not USDA. And I'm licensed through the Department of Health to sell dogs," Powers said.

He said he's making it up to Horton. He gave her $600 to cover vet bills for both Yorkies.

"I'm trying to make it right," he said. "I'm not a bad person. I want to make everybody happy."

Horton is satisfied with the deal offered to her.

"Once her health is 100%, once Neeko's health is 100%, yes, I will be happy," she said.

Again, Fur-Ever-Friends has broken no rules under state guidelines.

Also, the business has agreed to assist in paying future vet bills for Neeko.

Horton is a first-time pet owner. Sometimes toy breed puppies initially require intensive care.

It's the pet owner's responsibility to do some homework about the puppy they're buying and the seller's responsibility to educate new owners. 


If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side Hotline at 865-633-5974 or email ddare@wate.com.

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