Renton pet store criticized over payment systems and puppy mills
RENTON, Wash. - More people from the community are coming forward with concerns after Q13 News ran a story about Puppyland in Renton back in 2019, where a couple accused the company of an expensive and confusing puppy leasing agreement.
After the couple talked to Q13 News, Puppyland said they were not leasing puppies anymore.
However, other customers are coming forward with issues of their own.
Jasmin Espina said she bought German Shepard "Luna" from Puppyland in Renton on a payment system with an interest rate of almost 99%.
But Espina claims she was told by store employees that she shouldn’t have to worry about that.
Espina says she was told the high interest rate would only kick in after two years if she didn’t pay the $6,000 she owed for the puppy.
Soon after she left Puppyland with the pup, Espina says she checked with the financing lender and learned she didn’t have two years, but three months to pay off the puppy before the interest rate kicked in.
"How much information are they getting while they are in the store?" Ashly Dale asked. Dale is with Bailing Out Benji, a non-profit fighting against puppy mills.
She says besides aggressive and unfair payment systems, Dale’s biggest concern with Puppyland is that they allegedly get their puppies from puppy mills out of state.
"Puppyland has not necessarily broken the law," Dale said.
But Dale says stores should ethically not get puppies from mills because the parent dogs are being abused.
"Puppy mills are licensed and inspected occasionally but the conditions the animals are raised in are horrific. Dogs can legally be housed in cages that are 6 inches larger than their bodies. There are no breeding limits," Dale said.
Dale says her organization has also received a number of inquiries and complaints about Puppyland, that has branches in Renton and Puyallup.
"Ten to 15 who have reached out about issues with their puppy, like having a sickness or hereditary diseases," Dale said.
The company released a statement on Thursday saying owners Justin and Kayla Kerr were sorry to hear about the claims.
The statement reads in part:
"We pride ourselves in always doing the right thing for our customers and their pets.
We travel to find the highest quality breeders to provide our pet owners with the best experience and healthiest puppies possible.
In addition to our current guarantees, we are working on an even more inclusive 2-year health guarantee with our legal office with a date TBD. As a family-owned business, we value our customers, and we treat them like our own family.
We ask anyone who has had any issues with our puppies, contracts, or service to reach out to us directly. They can contact our Retail Pet store advocates, Paula or Albert Sardinas.
As for Espina, she says she had to get a lawyer to return the puppy a day later and get her money back.
The Renton family says they are heartbroken over the whole ordeal.
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