Woman Claims Online Puppy Company Didn't Give Her Right Dog

Janet Ammirati says she was very precise when she talked to PureBreed Breeders based in Cooper City.

By Trina Robinson and Robbi Peele
|  Friday, Jan 31, 2014  |  Updated 8:53 PM EDT
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Janet Ammirati was excited to get a new puppy, but in an NBC6 Investigation you’ll learn how her dream of adding a pet to her family turned into a nightmare because of one online puppy company. NBC 6’s Trina Robinson reports.

Janet Ammirati was excited to get a new puppy, but in an NBC6 Investigation you’ll learn how her dream of adding a pet to her family turned into a nightmare because of one online puppy company. NBC 6’s Trina Robinson reports.

Janet Ammirati was excited to get a new puppy, but in an NBC6 Investigation you’ll learn how her dream of adding a pet to her family turned into a nightmare because of one online puppy company.

Janet says she was very precise when she talked to PureBreed Breeders based in Cooper City. She says she told the online company she wanted a dog that was mellow and would fit in with not only her kids, but also with her cats. The company’s puppy counselor suggested a labradoodle was the perfect pup. A labradoodle is a cross between a Labrador retriever and a poodle. However, neither is known for being mellow or laid back.

Janet says she paid $2600 for the puppy. But when she picked up the little guy from the airport, she says she knew he had issues. Janet says the dog, which her kids named Prince Raincorn, was anti-social.

“We tried to get him out of the crate. Come on puppy, come out of the crate. You want some food, some water? Puppy was not coming.”

Later, Janet says she had trainers evaluate Raincorn. They said he was fearful and barked or cowered when around people, one trainer even, declared him “not trainable,” and said he was likely born in a puppy mill. Puppy Mills produce mass litters often in unsanitary conditions, and house them in tight small quarters which can lead to sick dogs with genetic defects.

In addition to his behavioral problems, Prince Raincorn had an ear infection, and had to be treated by a veterinarian. During that vet visit, DNA tests discovered Raincorn wasn’t a labradoodle. He is actually a mixture of standard poodle, miniature poodle, and a cocker spaniel mix.

The Better Business Bureau’s Michael Galvin wasn’t stunned by any of Janet’s allegations. He says the agency has 75 complaints about Purebred Breeders in just 3 years. In fact, Galvin told us, Purebred Breeders is not a breeder at all. He says the so-called counselors are in reality telemarketers who have never seen the puppies and will say whatever it takes to sell them.

The Humane Society, along with dozens of consumers filed suit to end the “… deceptive practices of Purebred Breeders …” The case was dismissed, but is on appeal. The Humane Society’s Melanie Kahn says they’ve also filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture arguing Purebred Breeders and its brokers should be licensed.

Purebred Owner Jason Halberg had no comment about the allegations, but a company spokesperson did issue a statement, calling the USDA complaint “meritless” and went on to say Purebred Breeders is made up of “…over 100 animal lovers matching prospective dog owners with healthy puppies from…carefully vetted breeders.”

The story does ultimately have a happy ending for Janet Ammirati and Raincorn – just not under the same roof. Purebred Breeders agreed to refund Janet her entire $2,600 after the NBC 6 Investigators got involved with her case. As for Raincorn, Janet gave him up to a rescue group. The woman who fostered him fell in love and decided to keep him.

If you have a problem you need help with, contact the NBC 6 Investigators by email at Team 6 Investigators at NBC6.com, or you can call our tip line at: 954-424-0939.

Statement by Purebred Breeders, LLC in Response to Meritless HSUS Complaint

Purebred Breeders, LLC, (Purebred Breeders) is a dedicated team of over 100 animal lovers matching prospective dog owners with healthy puppies from a nationwide group of carefully vetted breeders. Our team takes great care to work with breeders operating to the highest standards, producing healthy, well-bred puppies that are then matched up with prospective owners in search of them.

Unfortunately the Humane Society of the United States (“HSUS”) has chosen to file an ill-informed and erroneous complaint with the United States Department of Agriculture on January 7, 2014, demanding meritless enforcement action against a business operating above and beyond what is required by law and applicable regulations.

Purebred Breeders’ operation is focused on the health and well-being of the puppies – from carefully selecting quality breeders throughout the nation, to ensuring that customers are able to bring home healthy, well-bred puppies in the breed of their choice, to insisting that licensed veterinarians examine the puppies both before and after each placement, to coordinating safe transportation and delivery of the puppies to their new owners. This dedication and our “puppy comes first” policy have allowed our organization to achieve a 4.63 out of 5 overall experience rating, with over 94% of customers giving a 4 or 5 overall excellent rating as shown by independent surveys which included responses from over 9,000 families nationwide.

Beyond the errors and innuendo filling the complaint, HSUS presented a long list of “unlicensed breeders” that they contend are unlawfully selling puppies through Purebred Breeders since the November 18th, 2013 effective date of the new USDA regulations. HSUS then acknowledges it “has no first-hand knowledge” about these breeders and implies that its own activist “investigations” are a source of evidence but then reveals that no such information contributed to identifying their list of “unlicensed breeders”. This admitted lack of knowledge and evidence did not stop HSUS from making baseless charges that PBB routinely deals with disreputable, unlawful or unlicensed breeders. Our review of HSUS’s breeders listed in their complaint shows that approximately 70 percent have no present association with Purebred Breeders while others are either too small to need a license or are in the process of determining whether they need a license under the new regulations.

Not only does Purebred Breeders scrupulously comply with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations, it takes care to ensure that everything it does for its customers far exceeds what is required by those laws and regulations. Purebred Breeders is aware of the new USDA regulations and applauds and shares the agency’s desire to assure that healthy well-cared for puppies are provided to new owners. Purebred Breeders has and continues to be in discussions with the federal agency to ensure that our operations will remain in full compliance with all applicable statutes and regulations.

As with any organization that strives for excellence, sometimes policies or procedures either fall short or human error occurs. As in the case with Ms. Ammirati, we as an organization fell short throughout the process. In our commitment to do the right thing for both our customers and every puppy we place, once we realized we did not follow policy with Ms. Ammirati, we reached out to her to not only apologize, but to offer a full refund. Though we regret that even one customer did not have the experience they expected, we have already used this situation as a training opportunity for our entire staff.

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