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Down South Havanese & Bichon Frise / do not trust this 'breeder'

2 Center Ridge, Arkansas, United States Review updated:
Contact information:

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

    ***Update***
    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.

Je
Dec 4, 2017
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Comments

  • Co
      3rd of Jun, 2018
    0 Votes

    Oh my goodness... tomorrow, we are scheduled to drive 9 hours to pick up one of her Coton de Tulear dogs (breeder site: SouthernCharmCotons(dot)com. I thought I did my due diligence as she's registered with the AKC and had a perfect inspection in 2015. Then tonight, I find on Facebook that she has Wildwood Westies, Scotties, Cutie Poo Pups(dot)com, Missy's Havanese (looks like she stopped breeding those in 2011) and Posh Puppies (which the site is down but has an active FB page...on that page, she offers nearly a dozen different designer pups. I found other feedback on this breeder as she's also known as Missy or Melissa Basinger. Some people have stated that they received a different puppy than the agreed upon pup. A few had medical issues but most were very happy and healthy. The piece that makes me very nervous is that she doesn't supply information on who the parents are for the pup, doesn't provide DNA testing name (as many of the other reputable breeders do) and on her personal FB page, only references one of the breeding pages. Lastly, each of the locations of the breeding pages, shows they are near each other but she lists different towns. So strange... I have a pit in my stomach but feel it's too late.

  • Co
      18th of Jun, 2018
    0 Votes

    UPDATED REVIEW: MELISSA IS A REPUTABLE BREEDER THAT WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND! We drove out to Arkansas on 6/4/18 and Melissa met us the morning of 6/5/18 at a location of our choosing. Since she's made it obvious she will not allow anyone to her home, we choose a Starbucks near our hotel. I'll add that it's my opinion, after meeting her, that I wouldn't allow random strangers in to my home either. Some breeders do. Some don't. She's clear about her policy and if it makes you uneasy, don't purchase from her. For us having a child and living remotely like she does, we could understand her policy and so it was a nonissue. She delivered our puppy, Clair (now Sky) to us along with a sample of food and a folder of care instructions. The information contained therein was very informative and neatly organized. Our puppy was happy, healthy and super sweet. She still is. :) Melissa answered all of our questions (at the time, she has 10 adult Cotons that she breeds) and the reason it appears she has multiple sites/FB pages/breeds is that breeding is a family business and she assists them via management of their online profiles, etc. She took time to show me how to clip our puppy's nails and gave great advice of getting her home. I'm especially thankful she gave us a heads up about puppies being prone to motion sickness. When Sky vomited twice on our 12 hour drive home, there weren't any surprises. Within 48 of returning home, we brought Sky to the vet and the vet said that Sky is a well-socialized, healthy puppy. She also reviewed the breeder documents (bill of sale, etc) and said that Melissa's documents are norm for the industry. Overall, we recommend Southern Charm Cotons and Melissa Basinger Barnes.

    PROS: AKC-registered & approved breeder, Healthy & well-socialized pup, clear and concise contract, willing to meet us where we were, thorough meet-up and introduction to the puppy; very professional in person.

    Room for Improvement: Information of sire & dam should be on site for litters. Additionally, in my opinion, her curt email responses could be better communicated as I think that helps build credibility and gives comfort to the prospective buyer.
    That said, the lack of email communication was simply made up for in the person-person interaction we had with her. I never picked up the phone to call her and that was my preference so I place no fault there! She cares about her pups, she's a busy lady and will give you respect if you show respect.
    We recommend Melissa as a breeder and the fact she responds to these reviews speaks volumes of her character and how much she values her reputation in the breeding community.

  • Mi
      22nd of Jun, 2018
    +1 Votes

    Thank you Denise I appreciate your review and follow up. Blogs like this leave so much to the imagination and give way to drawing the wrong conclusions just like Denise did before she actually met me or recieved her new puppy. Rarely does the full truth or the whole story have the opportunity to be revealed. I would like to thank you for taking the time to write about your experience after you actually met me and received your puppy. I do want to address your "Room for improvement" just for clarification. I do not supply any registration information on my adult dogs prior to your puppy being spayed or neutered. The reason for this is that information can be stolen and misused. There are other canine registries other than AKC which allow misuse of registration numbers without verification. This misuse can lead to dogs being falsely registered. Once your puppy has been spayed or neutered and you provide me with a statement from your vet proofing such then I will send you the registration information you need in order to registered your puppy. This is the only way a breeder can control irresponsible breeding and line contamination. My dogs are AKC champion line dogs from show breeders all over the world. My dogs are healthy dogs free of genetic issues. This is something I have worked on for over 15 years. I have poured my heart and my soul into my dogs and I am not going to take the slightest chance. Photos are also stolen and misrepresented by other breeders. I have had my adult dogs photos taken from my website and used by other breeders. Therefore I am a little stingy in what I publicly share about my dogs. If you need information about the sire and dam I will gladly share that once we have established a client breeder relationship. I apologize if my emails come off as being curt. It is difficult to carry on a personal conversation via email. Email often sets the wrong tone or no tone at all. If you need a more personal way to communicate with me then I would suggest you take the time to pick up the phone and call me. I will answer any questions you have via email but if you are looking for a long conversation then call please. I am old school and text and email is not my thing. I still have the idea that if you want to communicate with someone you call and speak to them. If i do not answer when you call leave me a message that way I know you called and I can call you back.

  • Pu
      10th of Jul, 2018
    0 Votes

    I have one of the dogs she used to breed puppies it seems she was mistreated and very worn out from over breeding. I don't care how nice she seems to breed the crap out of a poor dog is down right horrible. When you buy one of these pups you are helping them to stay in business. I found their names in some of the records from my rescue dog. My dog has panic attacks. Not a good person in my books. I hope Arkansas gets laws real soon and I pray for these poor puppies they get shut down.

  • Pu
      10th of Jul, 2018
    0 Votes

    @Puppy Momma I guarantee you this she will never ever be mis-treated again. Oh and all but two of her teeth had to be pulled because they were rotten. In fact one had fell out and left a whole had to be stitched.

  • Pu
      10th of Jul, 2018
    0 Votes

    @Puppy Momma I looked up this Melissa person I thought my girl had been around horses and I see they have at least one horse. wow I hope my other fears aren't true.

  • Mi
      30th of Oct, 2018
    0 Votes

    The above comment regarding the rescued dog is a fabrication. A down right lie. This lady never received or rescued a dog from me nor did she receive a dog from rescue that directly came from me. I have no idea who this lady is. If she rescued a dog and somehow paper work traced backed to me as the breeder it does not mean the dog came from me directly. The dog could have ended up in any ones care prior to being sent to rescue. Just because paperwork said I was the breeder or I owned the dog at one time does not mean I was the one that gave the dog to rescue or that she was rescued while still in my care. The dog ended up in rescue either from the family that purchased it from me when it was a puppy or from some other way but this dog DID NOT come directly from me. I do my best to screen my clients when I sell them a puppy or an adult dog. I have an adoption application process and it is clearly states that I will take a dog back should a family find themselves in a position that they can no longer provide care for the dog. I like to think that most people would give me that opportunity but I am sure some do not and the dogs end up in the pound or in rescues. I have no idea what happened to this poor dog and it breaks my heart but whatever the true story is it has nothing to do with me. What in the world does she mean she sees we have at least one horse. This is a very odd to say the least. When you read these blogs please keep an open mind.

  • Rh
      2nd of Nov, 2018
    0 Votes

    The original complaint above from. ‘jecb’ is very upsetting. After reading it a second time, he or she is casting aspersions on a breeder she has not done business with. There is a lot of ‘coincidences’ and innuendo, but she made a phone call, and didn’t like the answer. Period. I have done business with DownSouth Havanese. I made the 7 hour drive a little over a month ago, paid for and received exactly the puppy I reserved. I met a man at the designated location who did the final transactions and spent quite a bit of time giving me instructions on how to safely get my little one home. All of the customers at the store where we met seemed to know the gentleman and were interested in the puppy. I didn’t get a negative vibe from anyone.

    The vet checked her the following Monday, and said she was very healthy and well adjusted. The vet asked if I had been able to see the parents; I told her as I tell you- I didn’t expect to be welcomed into this woman’s home because customers are not invited into mine. It’s simply safety in a crazy world.

    I cannot speak to the other claims, because I did not inspect the grounds, and neither did the complainer. I checked the Humane Society’s list of Arkansas puppy mills, and none of her business names are there or in her town. I got the original listing from the AKC marketplace. I am very happy with my beautiful puppy and have recommended Melissa to those who have asked where I got my Havanese. If you want a reasonably priced, gorgeous little Havanese, Melissa has them. It’s beautiful country with windy curvy roads. In my opinion, well worth the trip.

  • Rh
      2nd of Nov, 2018
    0 Votes

    @Rhoda Dixon As an addendum, I have played Melissa’s videos for my puppy. She lights up at Melissa’s voice with tail furiously wagging and tries to dig her way into the IPad. To me that’s not a sign of a puppy mistreated or raised in a mill. It’s a sign she was well treated and socialized in a home.

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