PurebredBreeders.com Accused By Humane Society Of Selling Sick Dogs From Puppy Mills UPDATE

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purebredbreeders.jpg
via Purebredbreeders.com
​From its South Florida headquarters, Purebredbreeders.com matches up thousands of pet lovers around the country every week with purebred puppies through a "network of responsible and professional dog breeders" that sell "happy and healthy" canines, according to the company's website.

The problem, according to a new lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, is that the firm and its owner, Jason M. Halberg, actually sell sick dogs from urine-soaked, abusive, unsanitary puppy mills. "This is the new way for puppy mills to do business," says Jonathan Lovvorn, chief counsel for the Humane Society of the United States, which is representing some of the plaintiffs.

Update: The Today Show followed our story with an eight minute clip this morning about the lawsuit. Click through for the video.

Update 2: A Miami-Dade judge has dismissed the Humane Society complaint. Click through for a statement from Purebred Breeders. 


The company, though, calls the suit bunk and says the Humane Society rounded up disgruntled customers to carry on its activist work against online dog sales.

"Unfortunately, the Humane Society has an agenda to push and we don't fit in the agenda," says Keryn Rod, director of customer care for Purebred Breeders, LLC. "They don't believe anyone should ever be selling a dog."

Since it was founded in 2005, Halberg's firm has grown into one of the largest online dog sellers. It employs more than 75 folks in Cooper City, north of the Miami-Dade county line.

But plaintiffs say they were misled by the site. Take Philip Michas, a New Yorker who says he paid $1600 for a puppy named Happy. The puppy arrived covered in feces and urine, Michas says, and later tested positive for "two ailments common to dogs bred in unsanitary, overcrowded puppy mills."

What's more, the Humane Society says the site has sold dogs from a number of known puppy mills, including a firm run by an Arkansas woman named Edna Hanegan, who was found in April 2011 to have 90 dogs stacked like shipping crates.

"People need to understand that buying a dog over the internet isn't a good way to get a family pet," Lovvorn says.

Not so, Rod says. The firm cut ties with every breeder mentioned in the suit when they learned of the problems and has refunded money to all the plaintiffs.

Most of the employees in Cooper City work to inspect breeders and ensure puppies are safely shipped, she says.

"We've done a lot of footwork in vetting out the best breeders. I couldn't work here if I didn't know we strived every day to do the right thing."

Update: The Today Show aired a full report on the lawsuit this morning, speaking to several of the plaintiffs and also a former saleswoman for the company.

Oddly, the lead plaintiff in the case -- Jennifer Papa -- is the wife of NBC Olympic commentator Bob Papa, which does raise some questions about how close the network is to this lawsuit.

Here's the video: 

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



Update 2: A Miami-Dade circuit court judge dismissed the suit on Sept. 12, according to court records. Purebred released a statement through its adviser, Brent Gattis, condemning the suit and the Humane Society. 

"Purebred Breeders experience in defending itself against legal claims is typical of the attacks other animal organizations and individuals have endured at the hands of HSUS's large stable of attorneys," Gattis says. "HSUS's strategy against legitimate entities is this: force them to defend themselves in protracted legal battles over meritless claims, while also creating a false public perception of the group being attacked."

Riptide has left a message with the Humane Society to respond. We'll update the post when we hear back.

Lovvorn has sent Riptide a statement on the ruling, calling it "procedural" and promising to keep fighting the case. 

"This preliminary ruling does nothing to change the fact that PBB is in the business of pushing sick and injured puppy mill dogs on unsuspecting consumers," he says. "This is a procedural loss only, and not the end of the case. The court gave the plaintiffs leave to refile a corrected complaint, and that's what they will likely do. They can also appeal. We are confident that the victims of PBB will ultimately have their day in court."


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11 comments
Huckaberry
Huckaberry

Please Stop! Just because some puppies got sick Does Not mean they come from MILLS!!!Stop going overboard!!! Your name is famous enough!!! Stop making money off these people and PUPPIES!!!!!

Patriciakeefoverfleming
Patriciakeefoverfleming

People with children and specially special needs children have a hard time going thru the adoption process that the humane society puts people thru that have young children . We decided to get a puppy when our adopt geratric dane has started showing her age . Shes 101/2 very good since she came from the streets . WE adopted a puppy from PBB 3500.00 plus shipping at this time the paperwork came missed up so we could not register the puppy without doing it on line with PBB  oking it . Have not done it yet since the puupy came up deaf.  . We decided to not fight it since my son being special  I was not going to return the puppy.How do you explain that ?Well Monday a sore appeared on his head took him in Wednesday .I was told by my Vet second by another but told by the breeder to look for a  vet that says different he has a genitic issue .He will have a long term medical problem . We docked him .The breeder said we docked him to soon could have just shown him that way . NOt posible . The breeder only answer is to Docked him then at my cost return him . She strongly suggest I drive him to a meeting point . I declined.

Huckaberry
Huckaberry

Some, Society has cut down the pet stores and now the sites and breeders! Why does the Society clean up and give shots to animals and then resale for large amount of money? Can't be to make money? Can it? So they can keep searching! There is child abuse through out the world,(does this mean all parents are child Mills? NO!Large percent of pet breeders are animal lovers too! If someone wants to pay high dollar for an animal is their Business? Yes! Did someone make them? NO!If you recieve your baby (puppy) with feces and urine (do you expect them to hold during their trip until they are in your arms)? Can a puppy get sick same as a child? Yes! Has a child poop in their bed and played in it? Home Mill? How many Very Happy people bought their pet off line? Good Question!Is  a pet a wonderful present for a children or the older? Yes!! Will anybody be left to breed?Do the purebreeds and mix breeds both help the blind, sick and even the police depts? Yes!Is a owner of a pet that has them tie to a tree with a dog house a  person mill? Something to think about! Do Breeders get State inspection? Yes! Would the State closed down a mill? Yes!! Do Breeders raise mix breeds too? Yes! there is all kinds of dogs lovers.Can you buy all kinds of animals and items on line? Yes! Is it your chose to buy or not? Yes!Did the new owners choose to pay high dollar for their pet? Did they take the pet to the vet first thing? Do they have proof at the Pickup place that their pet was sick right then?Have children went to bed healthy and woke up sick? If your children get sick, do you want to go to court and be axcuse of a nasty home? Home Mill?Should you be base on someone that has a nasty home? NO!Is someone trying to make money and put people out of work by going over board with animals? Maybe! If your unhappy with a pet should you buy another one? Should we not buy from somewhere just because of what some are saying? should we buy animals from a pound? Are we sure they won't get sick or were they sick while running? Why are these pets picked up? Were they home less? Where did they come from?  Did they come from a place where breeders take care of them or was it from people who don't care? Why was there a horse farm shut down and there was only one sick horse? Are Purebredbreeders selling sick pets, looking at the pictures they look very healthy. Why not check their reviews. How many Happy new owners were there? Yes a Mutt can be a Wonderful Pet, but so can the PureBreeds! Have you clean an animal's dish and come back there is poop in it? Should we close down the Zoos too? Should we not ever buy a pet? Should we stop buying on line? Do we always get good things on line and are happy with them? Is someone or group going to start picking on the Registery next? No! can't make money or resale them! Who's out of work when there is no sites or breeders left? Where is the Puppies! Who will be losing their jobs when there is no more vet health checks for puppies that are going to new loving familys? Can a Pet or Child arrive sick and it's no one faught?

Janefindley1970
Janefindley1970

For real people? Just take  time out of your day to go to the pound. If you have a brain you would realize that there a alot of sweet loving dogs just laying waiting to reach there death bed.Instead of paying 1,500 for a dog vs. one that can be rescued for $50. Common sense people. Do you have empathy?

Bornajunker
Bornajunker

Let's not deviate from the main issue:  Dogs are being abused and mistreated in an effort to exploit them for monetary gain.  That is unacceptable.  Although adopting from a shelter/rescue group is preferable, it is not mandatory.  The issue is not who is buying vs. who is adopting.  The clear issue is to stop animal abuse and exploitation.  Spend more time educating others and helping to promote animal adoption.  Fighting amongst one another is not helping the animals.  I believe "dog lover" will not make this mistake again and will do his/her part to educate others who may not be aware of the seriousness of the matter.  It is a horrific tragedy.

Dog Lover
Dog Lover

To I love my Mutt: Oh I see, so I buy a purebred dog and I am the bad guy! Its perfectly OK for this company to mistreat animals and to rip people off?  Wow, you are so compassionate for the poor dogs that are purebreds!  So because they are not mutts, it is OK to be cruel to them?

To Fernando-Both my dogs are fixed, I am a responsible pet owner.

To Aleida: I don't live in Broward County, I live in another state and I did look into rescues and looked at several other dogs before I got my dog.  As a consumer, and the person responsible to taking care of both my dogs, I feel it is my personal right to buy the breed and temperament dog I desire.  I grew up with labs and that is what I wanted to get.  I wasn't completed educated on the abuses of online breeding, as I hadn't had a dog in 25 years.  My second dog I did get from a rescue and she is a gem as well.  Regardless, it is never an excuse for a business to be cruel to animals. The fact of the matter is, even if I get my dog at a rescue there are still irresponsible breeders out there.  And as long as the public is ignorant (as I was before this experience), they will continue to stay in business.  You are from Florida, why don't you spread the word about this unethical company in your area!!

Aleida9
Aleida9

Broward County Animal Care and Adoption has plenty of loving animals in need of good homes. They only charge $75 ***NOT $1500*** to adopt a dog that's spayed/neutered, vaccinated, registered, AND has a microchip! I was there today and saw everything from a baby black shitzu to a beautiful great dane. They even had a lot of sweet pits that were priced at $25!

Dog Lover
Dog Lover

Company is lying about giving refunds.  I purchased a dog from Purebred breeders for $1600 bucks.  I got a very sick puppy and was offered a $100 refund if I signed a document saying I wouldn't sue. I GOT NO REFUND, and wound up with hundreds of dollars of vet bills at my expense, had to completely revaccinate my dog, and my dog was sick for 6 weeks.  In addition, the staff was very nasty in my attempt to resolve the dispute (though they act so incredibly compassionate and nice when they are trying to convince you to fork over thousands of dollars for purebred dogs). STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY.  And by the way,  note to Mr Halberg.  The Humane Society is not against online sale of dogs, nor sale of dogs. They are for treating animals humanely and having this multi MILLION dollar industry regulated to protect both the animal AND consumers from being ripped off!  The claims you make on your website of dealing with only reputable breeders are bogus.  Additionally you DID NOT cease to do business with these breeders and I know this because I am part of this class action suit.  You are telling the newspaper both a lie as well as your consumers and should be shut down for fraud and cruelty to animals.  

I Love My Mutt!
I Love My Mutt!

in all honesty, you got what you deserved. you should have not gotten a purebred dog and got a mutt like so many other people do!

Patriciakeefoverfleming
Patriciakeefoverfleming

not all people are allowed to adopted  . You judge to much!!!!  I have mutts that I have gotten while not a mom . Then i had a special Child He has KLS only gose to sleep every 8 weeks in a coma .Some of the people who screen think that makes your hands to full . I think it makes you more open to flaws and know thateveryone comes different !!!!! So dont jugde!!! please!!!!

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