Pet store says complaints false, haven’t hurt business
Appeal Staff Writer
Demonstrators protesting outside Albert Franks’ store early this year wanted to know why he brought them coffee and doughnuts.
“No one knew about us before you showed up,” Franks told them.
Every store gets complaints, Franks said, and those against his store – accusations of selling sick puppies, raising the puppies in cruel conditions and giving the puppies medicine without a license – are false and haven’t hurt business, either.
“And won’t,” he said.
Lil’ Pups has received several complaints since it opened in November, most recently from a woman who filed a report with the Nevada State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and Carson City Animal Services because the store allegedly sold her a sick puppy.
According to Franks, who manages the store, Lil’ Pups has sold about 400 dogs since it opened and has provided good customer service. It wouldn’t make sense for the store to sell sick puppies, he said, because it would end up having to refund customers’ money.
A collage of the puppies the store has sold and two letters praising Lil’ Pups hang on the wall of the East Winnie Lane business.
In response to the most recent complaint, Franks dismissed it as someone “trying to stir up trouble.”
The woman, Kristy Fulton, has accused the store of selling her a sick dog on June 1 that had been given medicine by someone in the store who did not have a license. Fulton said she spent $500 to $600 on veterinarian bills to save the puppy.
“I want them out of business,” she said. “There’s a lot of people who’ve been screwed by these people, and it’s just wrong.”
Though a Nevada State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners representative said she couldn’t comment on any pending actions, she confirmed that the board has received one complaint about Lil’ Pups. The representative said the board has power to intervene if a business is performing veterinary practices without a license.
The Northern Nevada Better Business Bureau, which takes calls about Carson City businesses, lists no complaints for the store.
Pat Wiggins, animal services supervisor for the city, said he’s received eight to 10 complaints about the store since it opened in November. As the result of one of the complaints, a customer won restitution in court because Lil’ Pups failed to verify a puppy’s health examination.
The rest of the complaints didn’t go to court – not always because they weren’t true, Wiggins said, but because sometimes what the store supposedly did wasn’t against state law.
Under Nevada Revised Statute 574, cat and dog retailers must have their animals examined by a veterinarian and can’t sell one that is seriously ill. If it is, a customer has the right to take it back for a refund. Many people get attached and want to keep the animal, however, Wiggins said.
A retailer is allowed to sell an animal that has certain diseases, such as parasites, as long as it discloses that the animal is sick. Wiggins said he recommends “buyer beware.”
Also, some puppies get sick because of their age, he said, and this will happen even when they’re sold from animal shelters.
“You can buy a perfectly healthy, happy, jumping around, peeing-on-your-leg puppy and, you know, he can come down with many different things, even if he’s had vaccinations.”
Franks said puppies are like babies because they can get sick easily. He said the store has a 10-day guarantee on the dogs and has refunded money before.
• Contact reporter Dave Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.