Hi all, I am looking for some advice on action to take against a dog breeder who I feel has sold me a puppy with a misleading action.
I'll try my best to be concise, yet provide as much info as possible - strap yourselves in:
17th September - £200 cash deposit paid for pup (only around a week old at this point)
1st November - Collected pup, and paid remaining £800 cash.
Minimal paperwork given with the pup, but potentially crucially, one piece of paperwork, signed by the Breeder, which states: "VET CHECKED: 29th October"
7th November - First vaccination appointment at our Vets.
Vet immediately finds a serious (grade 5-6 out of 6) heart murmur. He remarks that it is "the worst he's ever seen/heard in a puppy".
He immediately refers pup to a Cardio Specialist hospital for further checks, to determine what is causing the murmur. Her appt is 19th Nov.
I have contacted the breeder to let her know (as this can be hereditary) and try to sort out a refund / discount for the initial money spent on pup.
The only option she has given us is to return our pup and she will refund.
We are not comfortable with returning pup because:
1. We have formed a strong emotional bond with pup
2. Having spoken to her recently, we are unsure how she might "deal" with pup's health issues.
During my back and forth's on messages with the Breeder, she has admitted that when the puppies were microchipped on the 29th October "because of Covid the nurses did the microchips so they weren't checked as they had been before when microchipped".
It has now got to the point where she doesn't reply to messages and asks that we contact her via post / solicitors etc (hoping I'll just give up / go away, I imagine!)
So what we essentially have is two options for what has happened here:
1. The breeder is lying, and had prior knowledge, and has sold us the pup without letting us know about the heart issue.
2. The breeder didn't ensure the pups were vet checked before sale, but still signed a document saying they had been.
The upshot of this is that our initial cardio consultation and scans could cost £1000-1500.
Then of course depending on what meds/operations she may need, you are looking at potentially thousands of pounds (our appt is on the 19th Nov - when we'll find out more accurate figures).
The Insurance won't pay out because of two reasons:
1. The problem was discovered within the first 14 days of the policy
2. They won't pay out on things that pups are born with, and it's pretty hard to develop a serious heart murmur from nothing in 8 weeks.
So... Having paid £1000 for pup, potentially £1000-1500 for a diagnosis, and then potential thousands for treatment(s) all without insurance covering anything, I am looking into taking the Breeder to small claims court.
Do I have a good chance of winning back either the pup money, money for any diagnosis/treatments, or even both?
Thanks in advance for any advice. Here for questions.
PS: I also have my suspicions that she is not a proper registered breeder, when she should be. And also potentially HMRC may be interested in her cash only puppy policy...