Down South Havanese & Bichon Frise / do not trust this 'breeder'
I am currently in the market for a Havanese. I ran across the 'breeder' and the website Down South Havanese and Bichon Frise. I've been told to ask the seller to please take a current picture with the puppy I'm interested in buying along with a piece of paper that has my name on it, in order to show that the breeder has the pup in close proximity and to see that the pup advertised currently looks like the puppy pictured on the site. I called Melissa and Melissa acted annoyed at my request and said she doesn't do the whole "paper with the name thing" because scammers can take that picture and use it themselves to falsely advertise her dogs. If I'm interested in a puppy, and she sent me a current pic with my name on a piece of paper beside the dog, how is that any different than the pics she's already posted of the pup on her site?? I'd think that having a name on a piece of paper beside the pup would actually DETER someone from reusing the pups pic! She said I was talking to her on the phone and that I can watch the videos on YouTube of the pups and that should suffice.
She sounds southern, and the videos seem like the pups are in a nice home and that they play with her children, etc, however, several of her YouTube videos were also done outside and you can hear lots of dogs barking in the background...LOTS of dogs. I'm thinking she quit doing the videos outside because you can hear all the barking and it doesn't sound like just a small breeding facility... There's a lot of dogs.
After several red flags I decided to Google "havanese breeder in arkansas named melissa". Sure enough, I've seen several complaints about a Melissa Basinger, Melissa Barnes and a Harold Barnes. These 3 are all connected. They were formerly Posh Puppies and/or Posh Puppy Love. She has fb pages for Posh Puppies and Down South Havanese and Bichon Frise. Her Facebook page doesn't allow you to leave reviews (why not??), And the Down South Havanese and Bichon Frise fb page has only been open for a month or 2. Why is that if you've been doing this for so many years? Probably because the business name keeps changing as people make complaints! I saw that a few people have made complaints about bad dealings with Posh Puppies/Posh Puppy Love, so I'm assuming that's one of the reasons she has branched off into a different name which is Down South Havanese and Bichon Frise. Also, despite the fact that her business name is Down South Havanese and Bichon Frise, her email address contains 'posh puppies' in the address, no mention of Down South. I saw a report of a sick puppy that died and she hasn't replaced or refunded the customer... She keeps giving excuses for why she hasn't yet. I've seen a complaint of a puppy being sick upon arrival and after lots of meds, the dog got a little better but eventually ended up having seizures, etc. I've seen a report that one woman said the dog she'd purchased was supposed to be a West Highland Terrior but it didn't look like one, so they did testing on it and it wasn't a pure bred dog and Melissa got angry when the woman questioned her about it. I know that she has claimed to breed Havanese and Bichon Frise for years and years, and maybe that's true, but she's also selling Yorkies, West Highland Terriors amd different mixtures of poodles(poos), in addition to those. It certainly smells of a puppy mill to me! We bought a standard poodle 2 years ago and we were invited to the breeders home to see the dogs parents, and their environment. From my understanding, Melissa won't allow anyone to come to her house, nor does she ever allow you to see the parents of the pups. She doesn't even MENTION the parents of the pups on her listings or her website! Another complaint said to look up her address of her farm on Google maps, I haven't done that yet but I will...I believe she lives at 75 Barnes Dr in Center Ridge, Arkansas.
I genuinely love animals and I'm so thankful I googled her name and the state she's from so I could find complaints on her and avoid sending money to someone who clearly has a sketchy business. There were about 20 red flags too many for my comfort!!
Updated by Jecb, Dec 04, 2017
After looking further into this breeder and complaints coming from Center Ridge, Arkansas where Melissa is from, I found on a website called Bailing Out Benji the mention of a 'breeder' from Center Ridge selling dogs to a pet store in NY. The breeder that was selling to the pet store is David and Sandra Davenport and their business is called Elite Pedigree, and they live at [removed] in [removed]. Guess what??[removed] is right beside Melissa Barnes Basinger's address, which is [removed] You can throw a rock and hit Barnes Dr. from [removed]! This is a VERY rural area, but there's several houses clustered around this general address with huge long buildings which are probably used to store puppies. Elite Pedigree was found with 137 dogs, or either they'd sold 137 puppies to the pet store in NY- please look up Bailing Out Benji to see the exact details. No ethical breeder would sell puppies to a pet store. Dogs from pet stores come from puppy Mills!!! I don't think it's any coincidence that the Davenport family lives in the same vicinity as Melissa Barnes/Melissa Basinger because i could tell that something wasn't right when she wouldn't supply me with a current pic of the pup, and she got annoyed by my request. Do not give your money to these people. If we stop purchasing from puppy mills, they can't make a living off of these innocent pups.