I am looking for some help and guidance on what others feel I should do. Last year I purchased a breed of dog that is not common in Australia and costs a lot of money. I have always loved the breed and already own a non papered one. My non papered one is very healthy and happy, but was purchased from a BYB breeder. As I learnt more about the breed through different forums and got a better understanding of BYB and puppy farms I decided my next puppy would be purchased from a registered breeder.
I met the breeder through a popular purebred dog website. This website listed the health issues as heart, luxating patella and hearing. In contacting my breeder about their pups I questioned them about their testing and they assured me that the pups were from health tested parents and were clear of any problems. The only other email I got regarding the pups health was that they were all very healthy and given a clear from the vet.
Fast forward five months and my pup was diagnosed with a condition I had never heard of before. Upon investigating on the web I found out that this was actually a common problem in the breed and is listed on the inherited diseases database. I contacted the breeder and advised them that a specialist has said he needs to have an operation or this condition will worsen and shorten his life. He was also diagnosed at the time with a irregular heart beat, a small liver and chronic regurgitation. The breeder responded and said that they had heard of this but that it was just a characteristic of the breed and to let them know how he went.
After the op things did not go well for my poor puppy and he continued to have many health problems. He was then later in the year diagnosed with another genetically inherited condition. This was another condition not known to me. I have had a genetic expert look into his condition and they along with his specialist have advised me that both conditions are inherited and he was born with them so there was no outside influence to cause these. One is simple enough to avoid by xraying the parents to ensure they do not have the condition and pass it on to the pups.
So trying to keep a long story as short as possible, I again contacted the breeder and explained these two conditions and said I was happy to send all his reports to them. The breeder never responded to me so I tried again and this time asked if they could refund his purchase price as I hadn't bought a healthy puppy as was advised and I still had ongoing medical costs. This is where things went downhill fast
After several conversations the breeder has advised me that they will only refund me his purchase price if I return him and they will up him to sleep (and there is no way they will let me keep my pup if i get a refund as that is hardly fair as then i got a pup for free) and if I contact them any further it is harassment. They have also denied that these problems are in any way genetic and all dogs of this type have it. He also said it was my fault that my medical expenses were so high as I didn't take out insurance on my dog.
My husband and I don't have a lot of money, we saved to have enough to purchase the puppy and had a few thousand aside for vet emergencies that can happen with any dog and a credit card. Never did we think we would be up for $10000 in vet fees in six months.
Now putting aside the great emotional attachment I have with this puppy, and looking at it purely from a monetary value. How on earth would I be "winning" if I keep my puppy and get a refund, considering that his medical expenses have cost me triple what his purchase price has? Add in the emotional factor that I love this pup dearly despite all his medical conditions and have fought the last six months to ensure I can give him as healthy happy a life as possible, how could I hand him back and let him die.
So I am terrified that as the breeder refuses to accept any responsibility in this matter and his genetically inherited diseases and that they are already advertising plans for their next litter that another dog and owner may have to go through what I am going through. I can't afford to go through the legal system as I have no money left and am trying to refinance my house to clear my credit card. I can't even afford the $150 to complain to DogsNSW.
I feel like a fool in many ways, one trusting that a breeder is reputable as they are registered, two not going on the inherited disease database (which unfortunately I didn't even know about before my problems) assuming that the breed was healthy and robust due to my other dog of the same breed. Do I just walk away and pray that someone else doesn't have this happen to them, is there some way I can let people know about my story and name the breeder with evidence and not be liable for defamation? I am completely deflated in my experience of buying from a breeder . I have had several reactions from other breeders, some have just said chalk it up to experience and buyer beware and others have been very supportive and not at all happy with the reactions of this breeder. How do the general public know who is and who isn't a responsible breeder, even when you ask the right questions. And who makes these breeders responsible for at least advising their buyers of all possible known health problems in the breed and trying to take reasonable steps (such as an X-ray of the parents) to eliminate them from the breed.
Sorry for the long post but I just don't know where to go next.