Legal advice

fordbank

Well-Known Member
#1
Without going into great detail, I purchased a Labrador bitch just after the new year this year, around May time we noticed the dog had a slight limp. After several visits to the local vets for X-rays and suchlike we ended up having to take the dog for a CT scan and a operation at the Royal School of Veterinary Studies up in Edinburgh which we are just nicely home from.
The vets who performed the op removed bone fragments from one elbow amongs doing other things to it as well. Basically the dog has got osteoarthritis in both its front legs. The dog may have it in the back legs as well but they didn't scan those,(cost issue to me).
After a lengthy chat with the vets they basically said Lucy's (the dog) condition was cogenital, in other words she was born with it.
Now I have just returned from a trip to the breeders where I got the Lucy from, to make him aware of the problem and the potential for Lucy's siblings to maybe be affected. I know this will have come as a shock to him but to my amazement he said Lucy's problem was probably down to my "training methods", by this time he had already seen several vet reports. The conversation rapidly went down hill from that point , him being a "responsible breeder", I thought he might have made an attempt to put this right ( give me my money back) .
This is where I need the advice, has anyone ever sued a breeder for a congenital disorder in a dog, he wants the dog back, which he won't get as its the kids pet now, but I want my money back because I have been sold a "dud" so to speak. The insurance will hopefully pay out for everything but I'm still going to be out of pocket for at least £600 because of the excess and other bits and bats that I can't claim for.
My last question is , does anybody think I am being unreasonable about this, as my view about it all is clouded in anger.

Many thanks,
Scott & Lucy
 

deerstalker.308

Well-Known Member
#2
With all due respect to you, unless the parents were both tested and we're both bad scoring, then there's nothing that the breeder would have known about and nothing would become apparent until the pup was X-Ray'd for its own hip/elbow scoring at a year old....
Congenital tests which can eliminate issues are for eye problems, skeletal dwarfism and collapse type problems. The best you can do with hips and elbows is mate low scores to low scores and hope you breed out there problems.
If it was a pup of mine, I'm afraid I wouldn't be expecting to get a refund, unfortunately that's labs for you. Some good, some bad. Not necessarily the fault of the breeder.

that said there are breeders out there who disregard the genetics argument but the problem you're describing could happen to anyone and probably isn't in anyway a fault of the breeder. Sorry if that's not what you want to hear but there is also an argument to support what hey said about the amount or type of wear and tear the dog has received whilst growing, some will be genetic but there can be a lot of damage caused by excessive wear from going up and down stairs, jumping in and out of trucks etc, or just walking too much too soon.
 
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fordbank

Well-Known Member
#3
Deerstalker 308, what your saying is correct about the scoring , but the Dam didn't have a score, ( it may have had one but it wasn't disclosed/ documented). And this is the issue ,a responsible breeder is advised from the kennel club that a hip score is required/recommended test to have before breeding a bitch. The question is why did he not have one done.
 
#5
Sale of Goods, or rather contract, applies to animals as much as it does "things".

So is the dog "fit for purpose" as a gun dog and was that made clear at time of purchase? IMHO buying a dog without a "score" is like buying a house without a survey and ONLY if you can prove that the seller knew about the condition beforehand (he/she did a "score" and didn't let on they had done one) is there any redress. For like buying a bottle of wine how can you know what's hidden inside if you haven't looked?

Lastly what's the seller's offer? Dog back and full refund? Certainly you can't expect to keep the dog and get a full refund.
 

deerstalker.308

Well-Known Member
#6
Sale of Goods, or rather contract, applies to animals as much as it does "things".

So is the dog "fit for purpose" as a gun dog and was that made clear at time of purchase? IMHO buying a dog without a "score" is like buying a house without a survey and ONLY if you can prove that the seller knew about the condition beforehand (he/she did a "score" and didn't let on they had done one) is there any redress. For like buying a bottle of wine how can you know what's hidden inside if you haven't looked?

Lastly what's the seller's offer? Dog back and full refund? Certainly you can't expect to keep the dog and get a full refund.

Sale of goods act has limitations though, including the fact that a fair amount of time has elapsed since the sale and potentially damage has been done mechanically which may have exacerbated the situation, and I would suggest that the buyer was made aware of the lack of score for the bitch prior to purchase and as such would say they took some responsibility for that decision.
Its all well and good saying that the breeder should have had the dam scored becaus the kennel club advice that, but they also provide buying guide for new owners with questions to ask and things to look out for, one of which is the relevant health tests....
 
#7
You simply cannot expect to keep the dog and get a refund.

Most breeders will sell "as a pet" and cannot warranty suitability for any other purpose than "as a pet".

Even if both sire and dam have impeccable antecedents as far as hip and elbow scores are concerned, nature is quite capable of trumping those with a defect.
 

JockStalk

Well-Known Member
#8
Scott - my advice would be to sleep on it and not do anything immediately. Its a big jump from a discussion that didn't go well with the breeder to going to court. If you intend to keep the dog then a refund seems an unreasonable expectation.
 
#9
I'm just happy to hear you are keeping the animal as a pet , due to attachment with the children, I am mortified as to hear of humans trading dogs like fe**i'n used vehicles, I treat all such dog users as arseholes.
 

JabaliHunter

Well-Known Member
#10
I know this will have come as a shock to him but to my amazement he said Lucy's problem was probably down to my "training methods", by this time he had already seen several vet reports. The conversation rapidly went down hill from that point , him being a "responsible breeder", I thought he might have made an attempt to put this right ( give me my money back)
Can't really offer advice, but faced with that attitude I would have a mind to just sue anyway.
But obviously there is a cost issue and doubt over likelihood of success.

Honestly, there are some right gits in this world. If he had just said sorry and that this was really bad luck because he had done all he could as regards testing the parents, then that would be one thing. Even if he couldn't return all the money, a part refund on the price would have been a nice gesture - that way there is would be no issue about having to return the dog either.

If you don't sue, I would at least name the breeder - don't make any accusations, just state facts (i.e. Bought dog from x, vets have had to operate as it has congenital arthritis - caveat emptor. And leave it at that.

Obviously take any advice from me with a pinch of salt - I'm not a solicitor ;)
 

fordbank

Well-Known Member
#13
Thanks to all who's given there time to respond to my thread.
1000 apologies if I'm not explaining correctly what I mean.
I thoroughly understand and agree with most of what has been said so far, but I will try and explain what's in my head.
What I don't understand is a breeder jumps on the back of the kennel club and says" come and buy my lovely pups they are KC registered and have 35 ftch's in there family tree". A dumb ass like me goes along a buys a pup, and we all know the rest of the story.
The said dumb ass proceeds to spend another £3200 on medical fees ( most of which I can claim back).
Dumb ass then goes to see breeder , gets fobbed off and then feels a even bigger dumb ass.

The main point I don't understand is that as a consumer who bought a product that wasn't fit for purpose has just got to say "**** happens" because the Dam didn't have a hip score. Scenario for you,,,,,, Sire and Dam with perfect hip scores throw out a Lucy , what happens then , as a customer do we not have any rights, or as a breeder do you just say "**** happens" ( been told by a vet with a lot of letters after his name that even excellent scoring dogs can throw out dodgy pups).
Please don't get the wrong impression of me here , i haven't got loads of money , I will right off what I've spent , it's a principal thing, i doesn't matter what I spent on the dog it's the breeders attitude towards the problem he promotes the ftch's and the kennel club registration but then when it throws up a problem then it's " well it's just one of those things" . Like I said its a principal thing , anyway Thankyou for listening to me ranting.

Cheers , Scott
 

Shootist

Well-Known Member
#14
If the breeder was conducting a commercial arrangement with the buyer then the sale of goods act applies. The acid test is what should a competent dog breeder have done prior to the sale in respect of the dog's health? It matters not whether the dog is meant as a pet or a working dog, it is goods, pure and simple. Find an expert. If the dog was sold under the auspices of the Kennel Club then that is where I would start.
 

fordbank

Well-Known Member
#15
Sale of Goods, or rather contract, applies to animals as much as it does "things".

So is the dog "fit for purpose" as a gun dog and was that made clear at time of purchase? IMHO buying a dog without a "score" is like buying a house without a survey and ONLY if you can prove that the seller knew about the condition beforehand (he/she did a "score" and didn't let on they had done one) is there any redress. For like buying a bottle of wine how can you know what's hidden inside if you haven't looked?

Lastly what's the seller's offer? Dog back and full refund? Certainly you can't expect to keep the dog and get a full refund.

So if I gave the dog back , he refuns my money, everyone is happy,,,,,,,, but what happens to the £600 in fees and insurance excesses that I will be out of pocket ,do I put that down to " nature".
Can you see where I'm coming from
 

deerstalker.308

Well-Known Member
#16
If the breeder was conducting a commercial arrangement with the buyer then the sale of goods act applies. The acid test is what should a competent dog breeder have done prior to the sale in respect of the dog's health? It matters not whether the dog is meant as a pet or a working dog, it is goods, pure and simple. Find an expert. If the dog was sold under the auspices of the Kennel Club then that is where I would start.
commercial or not the breeder disclosed the fact that the dam wasn't scored (of if scored wasn't prepared to acknowledge the score) prior to the sale, the buyer bought the dog knowing this.
But even with the best will in the world the breeder could be totally inocent in this as they are not in control of the genetic mutation that could occur. Granted their response when confronted wasn't ideal, but to be fair if someone turned up on my doorstep unannounced accusing me of malpractice and wanting a refund for a pup 6+ months after purchase, I'm afraid I'd not be best pleased.....
Thw pup is insured, so the vast majority of these costs will be covered, yet you want more money from the breeder and to keep the dog, for something which you took a gamble on when you bought a dog which was untested. I'm sorry but I don't see this as a case of blaming the breeder.
 
S

Spaniel

Guest
#17
Hi Scott! I feel your pain. I had a similar situation, about 15 years ago, albeit with a Springer Spaniel. I was a field trial enthusiast and kennel club 'B' panel judge and fairly well thought of. I was made aware of a mating of a Ftch bitch and a Ftch dog. I was asked by this, what I thought at the time a reputable breeder and handler, and friend if I would like to be considered for a pup. I'd judged the bitch and couldn't wait to see if I was lucky enough to have a pup, once the litter was born.

I was contacted with the good news, and I duly picked my puppy bitch up. I took the puppy to the vets after a few weeks for its inoculations. I asked my vet to give her the once over. She had a weapy eye, which the vet picked up on. Further tests were conducted, and it was found to be entropia, an inherent eye problem in Springers. I went back to the breeder and made him aware of the problem. I was not seeking my money back for all the reasons made in the previous threads. My main aim was for the breeder, who I considered a friend, not to breed from the bitch again. And to inform the other owners from this mating the rogue gene was prevalent. I also during my discussion mentioned I would let the stud dog owner know of the problem. I couldn't believe the change in attitude and the threats and reprisals I would get in the field trial world should this get out.

I contacted the the kennel club, with the intention of them black listing any of these dogs off spring, as not to be registered. Not their problem was the response. After mentioning this to another friend in the spaniel world, I was informed the owner of the Ftch bitch had had the dog tested at a game fair were a vet had been doing free tests. He was gutted with the results. However with this knowledge he still carried on and bred from the bitch knowing he was exasibating an inherent fault.

So forget the morals, forget the kennel club and any retribution. The reason is "MONEY, MONEY, MONEY."

And as a foot note, once it became known of my crusade for what I thought was for the better of the breed. I was never asked to judge another trial.

Sorry to to hear you've had such a dilema, and the kids have had a bit of an upset. The good thing is, the dog has a good responsible owner. The thought of this breeder thinking you would just give the dog back says it all.

Spaniel
 

fordbank

Well-Known Member
#18
The breeder did NOT tell me his bitch hadn't been scored , he said his dogs score was good, I stupidly didn't check this. You don't expect to be mislead by someone who you know.
The pup is insured but I will be out of pocket to the tune of £ 600 (insurance excesses and referral fees) even if he pays me for the dog and I give it him back. Like I've said , it's not the money it's the principal, I do NOT blame the breeder it's the "couldn't give a f--k ",it's not my fault attitude that the breeder has. He would soon be knocking on my door if I'd sold him a 200 bird day and he didn't get his numbers due to nature( pi--ing it down).
 

8x57

Distinguished Member
#20
The problem here is emotional attachment to the dog, I know the situation because I've been in the same situation myself with a Labrador that had hip dysplasia. As it turned out the dog made the best pet ever and was loved by everyone who came across him because of his wonderful nature. I never worked him but he was the best dog I've ever had and he lived a very happy life until he was 12.

I think legally the breeder is probably doing the right thing by offering to take the dog back, but you can't have it both ways. You either have to decide to keep the dog or take the money. As they say you can't have your cake and eat it.

Just wondering did the dog come with the kennel club 6 month veterinary cover scheme that has been offered in the past?
 

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