I’ve written before about the responsibility puppy buyers have to do their homework before shelling cash for a puppy they’re not even sure exists. In spite of this, it’s impossible not to feel for the people who’ve been victimized by puppy brokers like Gina Price.
Over the last week, some of Price’s victims had a chance to tell the court about their experiences with the puppies they bought from Rebel Ridge.
Jere Judd wanted an American-born English bulldog puppy he could register and one day breed.
He said he got an imported pooch so diseased it had to be euthanized two months later.
Tony Diliberto wanted a “Tennessee born and bred,” healthy bulldog for a pet.
He said he got an ailing import and $800 in veterinarian bills.
Michelle Cates said she wanted a snow-white bulldog that would be a mirror image of the mascot of her favorite college football team, the University of Georgia Bulldogs.
She said she got a spotted import beset with health problems and a slew of excuses for missing paperwork.
In the best tradition of scumbag puppy sellers everywhere, Price had the standard ‘send me the dog, and I’ll kill it and give you your money back’ guarantee. I call that the ‘dead dog clause’. It’s a get out of jail free card for sellers, because what loving owner is going to ship a sick puppy across the country to a certain death?
Diliberto said Price also assured him that his $1,200 payment was buying a purebred sired at her kennel. Within days, he learned the dog was an import with serious medical maladies, he testified. Diliberto said he contacted Price.
“She said, ‘If you want, you can ship me the dead dog, and I’ll send you another one,’ ” Diliberto said. “I said, ‘That’s sick. The dog’s not dead.’ She then said, ‘Send me the live dog, and I’ll put it down (euthanize it) and send you another.’ I realized then I wasn’t dealing with a rational, sane human being.”
Price’s attorney, clearly grasping at straws, presents this ‘guarantee’ as normal and reasonable. The grieving owner not only disagrees, but points out a simple fact – you can’t ship a dog without a health clearance, and you can’t ship a dead dog at all.
..defense attorney Richard Spivey noted that Price listed on her Web site a “health guarantee” that promises a replacement dog if the buyer ships to her the carcass of a bulldog that dies from poor health.
“Did you do that?” Spivey asked.
“Are you kidding?” an angry Diliberto replied. “You can’t ship a dead dog, by the way.”
Read the rest here on KnoxNews.Com
Other puppy buyers complained about odd delivery methods, and Price’s even odder instructions to them.
Norred told jurors Thursday that he grew suspicious of the deal when the dog arrived at the agreed-upon delivery site in the lap of a man, sans a cage or collar or anything else.
“I’m not an idiot, but something wasn’t right,” Norred said. “They handed me the dog like this (turning up the palms of his hands and reaching out his arms).”
When Norred asked how he was supposed to transport the dog, the woman delivering the dog “said use a seat belt.”
“I tried. I did,” Norred said as jurors and courtroom spectators began laughing. “The dog was looking at me like, ‘OK, you are an idiot.’ I drove home, holding the dog, praying.”
What wasn’t quite as funny was the scene that greeted Norred after his pup ate its first meal.
As soon as he arrived home, he dished out food for the scrawny pooch and left it to dine alone. When he returned, he found an empty food bowl and a dangerously bloated canine.
“I’ve had the dog an hour and I’ve killed him,” Norred recalled of his reaction.
Other victims tell even more heart breaking stories.
“How did it come to you?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Harr asked.
“Smelly,” Snyder replied. “It wasn’t the dog on the (Web site).”
“How was it different?” Harr asked.
“It was a different color,” Snyder answered. “This dog had one eye. The puppy we ordered had two eyes.”
The dog died from medical maladies months later.
You can read the rest here.
The trial is ongoing.