Pet Vendor Under Investigation - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/18/05

Pet Vendor Under Investigation

Buddy Buddy

The Georgia Department of Agriculture is looking into the potential risk of sick puppies purchased from a local dog breeder.

Monday night, we told you about one family who bought a toy poodle from a vendor at Keller's Flea Market in Savannah (Family Warns of Flea Market Pet Risks).

Tonight, another family says our story may have saved the life of the pet they bought just a few days ago.

"My little boy had been wanting a little puppy," Savannahian Wyman Chassereau told us. He found Buddy, a ten-week-old Pomeranian pup.

This past weekend, they paid pet vendor Kim Jackson at Keller's $375 to take Buddy home, assuming he was healthy. Chassereau brought it to the 204 Animal Hospital on Monday. The hospital performed a general exam, and everything looked okay.

Later that day, Wyman's friends urged him to have Buddy undergo specialized testing. They watched WTOC as Connie Hedrick told about her toy poodle puppy Oreo who died from giardia, a contagious parasite, seven days after being bought from the same flea market vendor.

"We'd like to show her what she did to Oreo," Hedrick said in our story. "It's a hazard to the poor animals and people who buy them."

Sure enough, Buddy also had giardia. The question is, did the vendor know the animals were sick?

"I wouldn't have known if it weren't for WTOC," said Chassereau.

Jackson Kennels is in Baxley, Georgia. Wednesday morning, the Department of Agriculture was there inspecting the kennels, and we decided to come get some answers to our questions. Kim Jackson was on her front lawn ready and waiting when we arrived. "When I get done with them, I will call," she told us.

She never called, but her family did post "no trespassing" signs all over the front yard while we waited for the inspector to finish his visit.

Jackson did claim she made good with one of her accusers. "I've already taken care of Mrs. Hedrick," she said.

"The vendor won't be allowed back at Keller's unless the customer is happy," said Trey Stokes, who manages the flea market. He says with 11 pet vendors, bad pet sales do happen.

"Any time you are dealing with live animals, you will get one or two complaints," he said.

As for liability, Stokes says Keller's only provides the venue. "Keller's Flea Market has never sold a pet to anyone."

The vet says Buddy, Wyman Chassereau's new dog, should be okay after medication. Chassereau plans on making sure Jackson Kennels never sells sick puppies again.

"I'm kind of mad and upset," he said.

Keller's is now working with Lt. Brenda Bullware with Chatham County Animal Control to raise their standards to make sure sick puppies are not sold at their flea market. They are looking at raising the age of animals sold and requiring a clean bill of health--with all inoculations--plus a current vet report.

The kennel remains quarantined as the state investigation continues. A preliminary agriculture department report says the kennel is clean and the animals appeared healthy. But further testing is still scheduled.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

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