HENDERSON, Nev. (KLAS) — A Las Vegas valley puppy owner did not know his new family member was sick because a pet store employee whited out information on the dog’s medical record.
“We fell in love, so we got him, and now he’s ours,” Matt Grant, of Henderson, told the 8 News Now Investigators about 10-week-old Kota, a Siberian Husky.
After Grant took Kota home two weeks ago from The Puppy Store in Henderson, located on Sunset Road near Stephanie Street, the dog started showing signs of an upper respiratory infection, Grant said.
“You can see the writing is rubbed off,” Grant said about the medical paperwork the store gave him about Kota. The puppy veterinarian health exam is included in a packet with a contract of sale and coupons.
The paperwork indicates as of Aug. 9, when an outside veterinarian came to the store to check on the puppies, including Kota, the 10-week-old was in good health, but needed an antibiotic and nebulizer to help with a possible infection.
That part of the document was covered in white-out.
“With the exception of ‘healthy,’ and that was it,” Grant explained.
Grant returned to the store and asked for a new copy of the exam report, he said.
“I told them the other one was damaged, and they had no problem, they pulled it right out of their folder, put it in the copier, made a copy and then gave it to us,” he said.
What is said was no walk in the park.
“It said to keep him on a 24-hour watch,” Grant said. “Underneath it also said, ‘Watch for symptoms for 10-to-14 days, if none, healthy.’”
Grant’s vet would later diagnose Kota with pneumonia.
The 8 News Now Investigators contacted The Puppy Store’s Henderson location. An employee directed all questions to a manager who then emailed a statement.
“Sadly, an overzealous salesperson on our staff took it upon themselves to white out notes that the doctor had made on the conditional cleared for sale health certificate,” David Salinas said. “These actions were unacceptable to The Puppy Store. We immediately terminated the employee for breaking the company’s protocols and procedures. The actions of the terminated employee do not reflect the practices of The Puppy Store.”
After about two weeks, Kota is on the mend and is receiving care for his pneumonia, Grant said.
“At the time, had we known about the health issues, we probably wouldn’t have purchased him,” Grant said. “But finding out afterward, there’s no way we would give him up. We love him too much.”
“So you wouldn’t buy a puppy from a pet store?” 8 News Now Investigator David Charns asked Grant.
“Never again,” Grant said. “Absolutely not.”
The Puppy Store’s warranty covers vet bills up to the purchase price for the animal. In Kota’s case, that’s $3,500. Grant estimates he has already paid $3,500 for Kota’s care so far.
Salinas said Henderson Animal Control came to the store following the complaint and found no issues. The city did not confirm the details of their investigation as of Wednesday.
Last year, Clark County Commissioners voted to ban the sale of most pets at stores across unincorporated Clark County. The law was expected to become effective later this year. It does not apply to areas of the county with local jurisdictions, such as Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas or North Las Vegas.
Read the entire statement from The Puppy Store:
The Puppy Store Las Vegas has been connecting families with puppies since 2008. We have had thousands of happy customers over the years, and we take great pride in the fact that our puppies are happy, healthy, and sourced from legitimate responsible licensed breeders. Every puppy is up to date with vaccinations, dewormed, microchipped, and guaranteed.
Unfortunately, in some situations like people, puppies can also get ill. We can assure you that our puppies are vet checked by a licensed veterinarian and if the puppy has any type of ailment there is no expense spared to treat the puppies and get them happy and healthy once again.
Our protocols have been written by veterinarians, our staff consists of vet assistants, and vet technicians, and our facility is overseen by veterinarians and our local animal control.
In the situation with the husky the puppy was conditionally cleared but not fully cleared by the kennel manager. Sadly, an overzealous salesperson on our staff took it upon themselves to white out notes that the doctor had made on the conditional cleared for sale health certificate. THESE ACTIONS WERE UNACCEPTABLE to The Puppy Store. We immediately terminated the employee for breaking the company’s protocols and procedures. The actions of the terminated employee DO NOT reflect the practices of The Puppy Store.
After termination of the employee, we called the vet and explained the situation and have come up with a new protocol to ensure this never happens again. This same protocol was shared with our local animal control. Animal control did come to our facility and found no fault, and no citation was given.
In regards to the Husky, we are happy to report that as of a few weeks ago the owner of the Husky mentioned that the puppy is doing well and recovering from a mild puppy cold.
We stand behind our customers and their newly adopted puppies with an amazing health guarantee which includes a 20-day viral, and a 2-year genetic health guarantee in which medical bills are reimbursed up to 100% of the price of the puppy. During the adoption process, the guarantee information is printed and given. This same information is available on our website.
In closing, we’d like to thank our community, government officials, and animal control for all their support over the years. Thank you for all you do!David Salinas, manager, The Puppy Store