Woman faces $10K in vet bills for Jacksonville Petland puppy

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jackie Schwartz’s puppy Thor was at death’s door days after she bought him from a Jacksonville Petland store.

“He was so cute. And when we held him, we both just fell in love with him,” Schwartz said.

She spent more than $2,200 to bring Thor home from the Petland store on Beach and Hodges boulevards.

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Schwartz said it quickly became obvious that Thor was very sick; he had diarrhea and was struggling to breathe.

The vet diagnosed him with a parasite called giardia, as well as pneumonia.

“I was told the first time that, well, if I return him, then they’ll reimburse me for his purchase price. At that point, I have no option to return because if I take him–I’ve fallen in love with him–and if I take him off of his treatment, he’s going to die,” Schwartz said.

The general manager at the Petland store where Schwartz bought Thor told Action News Jax he’s looking into possibly reimbursing Schwartz. He said he’s not aware of other cases of giardia at his store.

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“I’ve been in a season of paying off a lot of debt, and now I’m faced with $10,000 more in debt, just from these medical bills to treat this little puppy,” Schwartz said.

Earlier this month, Action News Jax reported on an outbreak of a different stomach bug, campylobacter, that sickened 67 people who had contact with Petland puppies across the country.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 14 of those cases were in Florida and one was in Georgia.

“I would never want someone else to go through this. To fall in love with a dog, have the cute puppy snuggles and kisses, and then to immediately have to deal with these health issues,” said Schwartz.

Petland sent Action News Jax a statement that reads in part:

"Our health warranty covers 14 days which is longer than typical incubation periods for illnesses.  If something happens within that time frame we help cover the cost. At times, things happen that are within the customers control. We are not at home with the customer to assist. It is up to the customer to make sure the puppy is eating properly and not doing something that could be dangerous to themselves.  
"As it relates to the little puppy Jenna was emailed about, "Thor": We are currently taking care of that claim and paying the customer.  It wasn't until late last night, the customer sent us the medical notes and invoices for us to even review.  Unfortunately, we have to have those items before we can even begin helping the customer.  Sometimes, things get mixed in translation from what the DVM said to what the customer then says the DVM said.  Even after speaking with the attending Vet, she indicated that even the customer stated the puppy showed no signs of illness and was very playful and happy at time of purchase.   It showed no symptoms or any indication to even the DVM that the dog was anything but healthy. Most respiratory issues have an incubation period, anywhere from 4-10 days until a puppy would show any symptoms, this is why we offer a 14-day warranty.

If you want to help Schwartz with Thor's medical bills, you can get more information here.

Thor, purchased at the pet shop at Beach and Atlantic, has a parasite called giardia ... and pneumonia. “I’m faced with $10,000 [debt] just from these medical bills to treat this little puppy."

Posted by Action News Jax on Thursday, November 30, 2017