Gina Price's victims have their say in court

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.

Canada's First Pet Discovery Centre Opens in Toronto

Toronto's Pet Discovery CenterIt’s Saturday, it’s hot and you’d like to get out and do something with your dog – preferably something air conditioned. What’s a pet owner to do?

If you live in Toronto, you can visit PawsWay – which bills itself as “Canada’s First Pet Discovery Center”. Think of it as a “Science Center” for pets and their ‘parents’.

Located in the middle of tourist Harbour Front, Pawsway is a project of the Purina PetCare Legacy, a “special fund designed to support initiatives in the pet community that improve the lives of pets”.

“We know that when a strong bond exists between pets and their guardians, pets can enrich our lives in so many ways,” says Mary Siemiesz, Executive Director of the Purina PetCare Legacy. “Whether it is someone considering their first pet or an experienced pet owner looking to learn more, PawsWay will offer the education and resources to ensure a healthy and happy environment for all pets.”

PawsWay offer interactive exhibits designed to teach pet owners and prospective pet parents about breed characteristics, responsible pet ownership, crate training and more.

Some of the other activities available include:

  • How Pets Talk: What does their body language mean?
  • All Things Puppy and Kitten: How to make the right breed choice; tips on pet-proofing; crate training basics and more.
  • How Old Is Your Pet? Always thought your feline friend was seven times his age in people years? Think again!
  • Doggie Dance Routine – Witness a Canine Freestyle Routine to music and get inspired to dance at home with your dog!
  • Weekly Expert Forum – Pet experts will be on hand to answer questions about nutrition, training, and provide general advice.

Purina Hall of FamePawsWay is also the permanent home of the Purina Animal Hall of Fame, celebrating 40 years of Canadian pet heroes.

See video and photo exhibits of the dogs, cats and other animals who’ve earned one of Canada’s highest honors for heroics.

If you and your dog get tired or hungry, stop by the William’s Coffee Pub inside of PawsWay. The Cafe is pet friendly, and serves caffeinated beverages for you, and gourmet cookies for your dog.

Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but wouldn’t an exhibit de bunking some (all?) of the “Pit Bull” myths be a lovely touch?

General admission to PawsWay Pet Discovery Centre is free, including access to the centre’s Health & Discovery exhibits, Purina Animal Hall of Fame, and fun and excitement with select programming in the Pet Park. Some special programming may charge an admission.

Visit PawsWay –
PawsWay Pet Discovery Centre
245 Queen’s Quay West
Parking available at Queen’s Quay West & Rees St. (NW corner)

(416) 360-PAWS (7297)

Thursday Thirteen – 13 things Tessa wants me to buy for her

Tessa has always been a rather stylish lady, but of late I admit I’ve rather slacked off on accumulating new goods for her (other than designer cookies, of course, which go without saying).

So, here are 13 things that Tessa has found on line and is insisting I purchase for her. Since my credit limit is exactly that (a ‘limit’, rather than a ‘limitless’), she’ll likely have to make do with just one or two things, rather than the whole shebang. This, no doubt, will cause her to skulk around acting like I’ve kicked her, which she was already doing as a result of my refusing to let her charge at the new kitten.

Poor Tessa. Born to be the pet of royalty, and sadly stuck with me instead.

Skull and Crossbones pet collar
13. Pink and Sparkly Skull and Crossbones Collar

It’s pink! It’s shiny! It’s got a skull on it!

Added bonus – I can get a matching necklace.

Skinneez Stuffing Free Dog Toy
12. Skinneez Stuffing Free Toy

Tessa’s favorite thing to do with stuffed toys is to grab them, shake them into submission, then gut them. By the time she’s done with them (roughly two minutes, give or take) all that remains is a pile of fluff and a masticated stuffie.

This toy from Golly Gear is perfect – it’s already stuffing free! It does look a little bit like roadkill, however… but Tessa thinks that’s a bonus.

Doggie Corset
11. Slightly Disturbing Leather and Lace Dog Corset

Tessa is a very, very girly dog (when she’s not kicking poodle butt and taking kitten names). I accept her propensity for wanting to wear frilly dog clothes, but I think I’m going to have to draw the line at this rather disturbing (yet very well made) piece of doggie lingerie.

I let her have this, and the next thing I know she’ll be hanging out downtown Toronto at the 5ive Nightclub…

Doggie Tiara
10. Doggie Rhinestone Tiara

What becomes a pretty pretty Princess better than a rhinestone tiara, custom made for your dog? Nothing that I can think of, that’s for sure.

Tessa firmly believes that what she really needs is a conquering army and a shirt that says “Dictators Do It Whether You Want to Or Not”, but barring that, she’ll settle for a tiara.

Dog Bed Fit for a Queen

9. Jakey BB Handcrafted Luxury Pet Bed

Holy Hannah… what becomes a doggie dictator better than this super deluxe, hand crafted, custom made pet bed? As the sales pitch says “From the hand painted signature border along the lower edge of the bed to the decorative molding, it’s easy to see that at Jakey BB it’s all about the details. Even the welt cord on the cushions has been tea stained to achieve that exact perfect color.” They even use recycled materials.

Wild Salmon Dog Treats

8. Alaskan Bear Wild Salmon Treats

When a girl is getting up past a ‘certain age’, her hips and joints aren’t quite as flexy as they used to be. No, I don’t mean me – I mean Tessa (although it might in fact be applicable to us both). The Omega fatty acids in salmon oil are supposed to be good for creaky old bones, plus Tessa has always rather liked fish. We ordered some of these in sample size, and she ate them up so fast I’m going to re order some in bulk.

Pet Stroller

7. Happy Trails Pet Stroller

One of the things that goes along with those aforementioned creaky joints is an inability to go for long walks the way Tessa used to. I hate leaving her at home, but hiking up the wooded trails behind our house just isn’t possible for her anymore, and it’s breaks my heart to see her struggle on the rough terrain. This stroller looks like the solution for that dilemma – it’s rugged, trail rated, and has sturdy suspension. The 50 pound rated model means that I can carry two Frenchies in it at once – which is good, because a few of my Frenchies are getting up there in years.

6. Oh My Dog! Dog Cologne

I’m a firm believer in intermittent baths for dogs. I bathe mine once every other month, at most, and while I do use a good quality, extra gentle shampoo, I skip all the colognes and sprays. Tessa finds this to be unacceptable. She personally believes that it is her Goddess given right to smell like “Rose Wood, Orange Leaves, Osmanthus, Freesia, and Vanilla”, and that my refusal to pat her down with cologne is tantamount to abuse. I caught her googling “PETA save stinky doggie” the other day, so I’d better order her some, stat, before a group of crazy naked chicks show up and stage a protest on my front lawn.

THrone Chair

5. Throne Chair

OK, technically this might not be a ‘pet chair’ per se, but wouldn’t Tessa look cute sitting in it? I think so, and more importantly, so does she.

And yes, you’re sensing a theme.

4. Custom Baked Doggie Birthday Cake

Tessa has a rather monumental birthday coming up this year – her 14th, in fact. In people years, she’d be Dick Clark, for heaven’s sake! What better way to celebrate than with a custom baked and decorated doggie birthday cake, to be shared with some of her closest friends? Or not shared, since this is Tessa we’re talking about…

3. Custom Made Bronze Sculpture

What better way to immortalize a divinely diva-esque doggie dictator than a custom crafted, way more than life size bronze sculpture? All Tessa would need to go with it is a park named after her. Or perhaps a small country.

2. Villa in the South of France

Well, hello? She’s a French Bulldog. Where else could be more fitting for her to live?

1. Private Jet

You didn’t expect her to fly coach, did you? Neither did she. And let’s not even discuss shipping her via cargo (shudder). In the interest of economy, Tessa pointed out to me that she’d settle for a part lease. She’s a thrifty one, that Tessa.

More news on Gina Price and Rebel Ridge

Some good on going news coverage of the Gina Price (Rebel Ridge Bulldogs and French Bulldogs) trial.

This story is from back in early June – it’s good to see that the judge is treating this case seriously. We’ve all gotten used to the courts treating anything to do with animals as a sort of ‘waste of court time’. Looks like U.S. District Magistrate Judge Dennis Inman doesn’t share that attitude.

From KnoxNews.Com

An accused peddler of diseased pooches got a warning from a federal magistrate judge Tuesday: Stop yanking his chain.

“You’re jerking me around, Ms. Price,” U.S. District Magistrate Judge Dennis Inman told Gina De’Lynn Price.

Price is under federal indictment on charges she bought diseased dogs from Russia and the Baltic states and passed them off as purebred bulldogs sired at her Rebel Ridge Kennels facility in Sullivan County, selling the dogs to unsuspecting customers throughout the United States and Canada.

Court records allege that many of the dogs, which sold for as much as $3,000 each, died from those undisclosed maladies.

Read the rest here.

Looks like Gina Price’s now ex husband got fed up with both Gina, and the dogs. He gives some background on how Gina went from selling home bred Bulldogs and French Bulldogs, to brokering cheap, sickly imports.

From KnoxNews.Com

Adam Price was summoned to the witness stand by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Harr in Harr’s bid to prove allegations that Gina Price went from selling purebred bulldogs sired at her Rebel Ridge Kennels to peddling diseased pooches imported from Russia and the Baltic states.

Harr contends Price gave into greed, realizing she could buy imported canines for a few hundred bucks and then resell them via the Internet to unsuspecting customers nationwide and in Canada for thousands of dollars.

Adam Price even alludes to being distressed at the condition the puppies were in when they arrived at the airport –

“He started out trying to help his wife in the puppy-selling business but grew tired of it rather quickly, he said.

I refused to do a Web site because all my time would be spent updating it,” he said.

He picked up imported puppies from an Atlanta airport but quit after a few runs.

“Most of the time they were pretty messy,” he said of the puppies.

Read the rest here.

A testament to the seriousness with which this trial is being handled comes in the form of the pages of FBI testimony. Gina Price’s emails and other correspondence were monitored for months, leaving a paper trail of sick puppies and fraudulent transactions.

From KnoxNews.Com

Gina De’Lynn Price sold English and French bulldog puppies over the Internet to at least 234 people, according to an FBI agent who testified Monday afternoon on the opening day of her trial.

Price is accused of importing sick bulldog puppies from Eastern Europe and selling them as healthy ones that she raised through her Blountville-based business, Rebel Ridge Kennels, and its Web site,

Special Agent David Campbell’s testimony outlined how Gina Price was well aware that many of the Bulldog and French Bulldog puppies she was importing for re sale were unhealthy, and many were arriving sick with Parvo.

He said Price routinely purchased her animals from three suppliers and complained to the sellers that many of the dogs suffered from parvo – an incurable and often fatal disease that attacks a dog’s intestinal lining – when they arrived in the U.S.

Campbell said Price paid about $500 for each dog, which according to her indictment she then sold for between $1,200 and $2,800. The indictment also claims the dogs suffered from other serious conditions like hip dysplasia and heart murmurs.

Price was also clearly and intentionally leading buyers to believe that they were buying ‘home bred’ Bulldog and French Bulldogs, bred by her at Rebel Ridge, rather than cheaply imported pups. She was also aware that many of the pups weren’t even purebred.

Price is standing trial this week on charges she tricked hundreds of people into believing they were buying purebred English and French bulldog puppies sired at her Rebel Ridge Kennels facility in Sullivan County when instead she was buying diseased dogs imported from puppy mills in Russia and the Baltic states.

…a slew of e-mail authored by Price that suggested she was well aware the puppies she was buying from overseas at a discount were diseased and, sometimes, not even purebred.

“Do you think I cannot tell they’re not full-blooded?” Price complained in one e-mail to a Russian puppy mill operator.

Read the rest here.

In the final story I have to recount, Gina Price adds the ultimate insult to the injury she has done to both the puppies, and the people who purchased them from her, when she compares herself to a humanitarian for ‘rescuing’ the pups from Eastern Europe.

Again, from KnoxNews.Com

The way this upper East Tennessee woman saw it, she wasn’t profiteering from the diseased pooches imported from Russia and the Baltic states.

She was giving the canines a shot at a better life, Gina De’Lynn Price wrote in an e-mail introduced as evidence against her in U.S. District Court on Monday.

“We take these puppies for the almighty dollar, knowing very well ahead of time that they will more than likely come in with some kind of problem that will need medical attention,” Price wrote. “Look at how many illegal (immigrants) come here half dead.”

Really, Gina? Did you bother mentioning that fact – the fact that you ‘knew ahead of time that they would need medical attention’ to your puppy buyers? And did you really just compare the puppies that you traumatized with illegal immigrants who come here seeking a better life?

The last time I checked, Eastern European puppies weren’t willingly tearing themselves away from their mothers at six weeks, and then cramming themselves six deep into crates for 30 hour transatlantic flights.

You can read the mind boggling rest of the story here.

I’ll be doing my best to keep on top of the trial coverage as it comes in, and would welcome hearing from anyone victimized by Gina Price and Rebel Ridge.

Pet Blogging Round Up

I’m reminded on an almost daily basis of what an utterly kick ass job many of my fellow pet bloggers do. This morning, I found so many notable, read-worthy posts that I decided to just stick them all into a single, great big, “Oh my God, go and read this entry right now” post.

Like a lot of people, Nathan Winograd opened my eyes to the reality of No Kill versus Kill. But, what’s it really like to try and take a small, underfunded, over crowded Southern shelter from high kill to no kill? What does it do to you, mentally, to feel you’re falling short of the lofty (and immediate) goals Nathan is calling for every shelter to achieve?

Spotted Dog Farms (one of my favorite and consistently most heart breaking reads) writes about what it’s like to want to transition to No Kill, but to feel you’re failing at every turn. She takes the words we’ve heard about No Kill, and puts a real face on the Directors who haven’t quite yet managed to get there.

How can I live with myself and face each day? Winograd’s recent post again called for the immediate removal of all shelter directors who weren’t immediately implementing no kill. That makes me want to run to the bathroom and cut myself. I am committed, but I run into roadblocks at every turn, and now am bone-tired. I just schmoozed with rescue on Sat. night and begged them to work with us; we send way more animals to foster than ever before; we do TNR but where exactly to R when people don’t want them around? I’m hiring motivated people, everyone’s doing their best to recruit volunteers, we’re spending more money on vetting than ever, sending everyone we can for free spay/neuter, my own farm is bursting and I’m losing my mind because how do we staunch the flow of animals coming in?

Go read it.

The always wonderful Smart Dogs Blog has done a fantastic job continuing to follow up on that complete freakin’ moron of a ‘Shelter Director’ in Arkansas who decided that the best way to deal with his shelter’s influx of strays was to set them free in the National Forest.

Two weeks ago we reported on a terrible situation in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas. The local mayor, having few financial (and even fewer intellectual) resources, decided that setting dogs from the city shelter “free” in a nearby National Forest was a good way to get rid of them manage the problem.

We wrote then – and still believe – that this was a criminal act. Apparently Circuit Court Judge David Henry agrees. According to KARK News Mayor James Valley will be charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty.

Definitely go and read the rest of the story. This idiot just can not keep his mouth shut.

Itchmo, the blog that did so much to keep us all informed during the breaking pet food crisis, has apparently been retired from active blogging duty (although the forums remain up and running). I had no idea that the founder of the Itchmo blog had another, more visible face on the net – as the founder of I Can Has Cheezburger (aka Lol Cats).

Into the breach has stepped Yes Biscuit!, which is doing a bang up job of continuing to educate us about pet food, pet food ingredients and formula comparisons.

Today, I looked at a new, AAFCO approved food on the market for dogs. It contains all the usual advertising tags which make me suspicious: “100% complete and balanced”, “No fillers”, “High quality proteins”, etc. Here are the first seven ingredients leading up to the first source of fat:

1. Rice Flour – This is the main ingredient of the only food you want me to feed my dog – rice flour? Isn’t that better used for making gluten-free baked goods or something? Flour comes in a sack and it’s all powdery. My dog doesn’t want that as the main ingredient in his dinner! And I question the quality of any flour sold for use in pet food. I assume that like many other pet food ingredients, it’s of lower quality than the flour sold for human consumption in my local grocery store. Exactly how much nutrition is my dog supposed to get from this pet food grade sack of flour? The “no fillers” claim isn’t sounding so truthful right about now.

Here’s the rest.. and it’s scary.

Luisa over on Lassie Get Help just drives me nuts. She manages to get the great stories, every single time. If she’s not blogging about some crack “Pit Bull Attack” reporting, she’s finding this list of mis spelled dog breed names given by their owners at the Vet’s office –

Bull Massive—-Bull Mastiff
Bull Mater—-Bull Mastiff

Go check out the rest.

And thanks, all you great pet bloggers. You give me so many great excuses to not get any work done, and reading you is worlds better than reading the Joomla manual for the tenth time…