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North Richland Hills puppy dealer sued over multiple violations
03:27 PM CDT on Thursday, September 18, 2008
By CHRIS HAWES / WFAA-TV
Chris Hawes reports
September 17, 2008
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View larger E-mail Clip More Video Puppies are cute and big business.
But the Texas Attorney General's office is taking action against a puppy broker.
Investigators say the North Richland Hills business sometimes sold deathly ill, imported puppies.
Many customers of Epuppypro and LoBoPuppies say they believed they were buying healthy puppies, that grew up at the North Richland Hills home.
Now, the Texas Attorney General's office says, in many cases, that simply wasn't true.
Late last year, the Bell family decided they were ready for a new baby - a bulldog baby.
Piper arrived malnourished and without hip sockets. Valerie Bell searched the internet for local breeders and found a nice-looking face on LoBoPuppies.com.
"I found her picture first is what did it for me. She was a beautiful little puppy, " she said.
The Bells paid the $2, 000 selling price and took her home but when LoBoPuppies failed to deliver the certification papers, the couple began researching the company, along with its sister site - Epuppypro.com.
They discovered stories of puppies delivered near death, along with online memorials to puppies that didn't make it.
Piper, as one bulldog was known, arrived undernourished, infected and without hip sockets, her owner says.
"I think we're one of the lucky ones that got a healthy puppy, " said Bell.
This week, the Texas Attorney Generals' Office sued Epuppypro.com and LoBoPuppies, along with the people who run them.
According to the filing, the operators violated the deceptive trade practices act by, in some cases, failing to disclose health problems, failing to provide certification papers and failing to disclose the puppies were imported from Russia and other countries.
The Bells believed Maggie was raised in the United States until their vet discovered a tattoo.
"We asked him 'why would they tattoo her?' and he said 'she's imported' and we knew then she wasn't domestic that she was imported from somewhere outside the United States, " Todd Bell said.
"That is what has horrified me the most about this case is I feel like I've supported a puppy mill unknowingly, " said Valerie Bell.
The websites' operators did not return our calls for comment.
The Attorney General's office has asked a Tarrant County district judge to issue a restraining order against the websites and operators.
They've also asked the companies be forced to repay any damages for which they're responsible.