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Complaint against breeder

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have a question that I am hoping a breeder could maybe answer. As some of you know I lost my 6 month old ragdoll a few weeks ago. He had FIP and had to be put to sleep. It was a nightmare. The vet tells me that he had to have come into contact with the corona virus at the cattery as I have no other cats. He said that in a select few the corona virus mutates and that is how they get FIP. I called the breeder the same day. We cried on the phone together as she was very fond of my kitten also. She told me then that we she could not give me a refund but that we would work something out. The next day she sent me a lovely email about how sorry she was for our loss and that she would be willing to give me another kitten when her cats have another litter. I emailed back that she was such a wonderful person and had a great heart. We have a contract that is for one year genetic defects. I agreed with her that FIP is not genentic so I would take what ever kitten she would give me.

I paid $950.00 for our kitten plus $250.00 to have him shipped to our nearest airport. We only had him for two months and in that time he was nuetered. I have a fairly large vet bill from all the test that were done to diagnois his illness. The day he died was the day I had sent his registration papers in.
This was this breeders first litter. She is very well know in the show arena having had much success with her cats. That is one of the reasons why I chose to purchase from her(that and the fact that this spring my father was taken from us in a car accident and yes I went a little crazy spending that much money on an animal) Thats another story. Since my response to her about yes, I would like to have another kitten she has yet to email me back. I sent several emails. One of which was to see how her cats were doing since she was going to have them all tested for the corona virus.
When purchasing the kitten she got back to me the same day or next. Since I have not heard anything from her I am thinking she has perhaps changed her mind about a replacement kitten.
So my question is this. Because I only had the kitten for two months and he contacted a virus that could have only come from the cattery is there anything I can do? I know I can file a complaint with TICA and CFA I have also found a web site to report situations like this one. I have been told to also contact the Better Business Bureau. I am going to give the breeder just a little more time before I do this.
Am I wrong to think that a kitten should live longer than two months? I am not sure how a person could be so heartless as to promise one thing then do another. My 4 year old daughter is just heartbroken. My husband is beyond angry. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I do not want to list the breeders name as of yet. I am still holding out hope she will come through for us.
post #2 of 14
Have you tried telephoning the woman? If not, try it.

If she is not receptive to the deal you have worked out, thank her, and hang up. Then promptly contact your lawyer and sue her.
post #3 of 14
First, let me say how sorry I am you lost your kitten.

Please do not post the breeder's name on this public board as it could leave us all open to a lawsuit.

We have several wonderful, reliable breeders here at TCS who can probably give you some very good advice. If you have specific questions for any one breeder here, perhaps PM may be the best route to take.

I'm not a breeder so I have no idea what alternatives you have but just hang in there and our folks here with the knowledge and experience will be along to help you out.
post #4 of 14
Ok first of all do you have ANYTHING in writing about getting a replacement kitten? Email, etc.? If this was done verbal you may be out of luck for a replacement kitten UNLESS your contract stated something to the effect.

I had a similar experience with my first breeding rex kitten. I had bought an altered boy (shown to Grand Champion) from the breeder. About 2 yrs later, I contacted the breeder about getting into breeding rexes. She was a good person, we had no problems with her before this time. She had a lovely little calico she sold to us as a show/breeder (about double the price of the alter). She was at a nearby show and brought the kitten with her. The kitten at the time was about 3 months old. She was pretty tiny, but she was a female, so we didn't think much of it.

We had the kitten checked by our vet (as per contract). Everything was fine. We had her about a week and she stopped eating. Now I don't worry when a cat misses one or two meals, but we came home and found the kitten had died. We were shocked. I got on the phone immediately and told the breeder about this.

She thought I was kidding. She chewed us up one side and down the other about "don't you know when a rex stops eating to get it to the vet?" Well no, I never had the problem before. During the conversation she said she would "replace" the kitten.

A few months later we got a letter in the mail about a new kitten, BUT she wanted more money. We hadn't finished paying for the 1st one yet (planned to). Long story short, nothing was in writing about replacing the kitten, asking for more money (then the original kitten), etc.

So we wound up with no replacement kitten from her.

Bottom line is GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING. Don't take a "verbal" promise.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. The breeder sent me an email that I still have saying she would give me a new kitten. I still have the email. Not sure if that is proof enough or not.
post #6 of 14
Not a legal expert but if it is in writing I beleive it is binding legally
post #7 of 14
Some things come to mind:

1. Did you sign and get a copy of the original contract? And if so, there should be a health guarantee.

2. Did you get a post mortem report from the vet?

3. If you answer yes to the above, then, if you want to file a complaint to CFA you can.

As for filing with the Better Business Bureau, I personally think that you should wait a bit. If her cattery does/did have FIP then her cattery may have been devastated by the loss and shock and you would have to wait a while for a replacement cat.

I would suggest you start again by sending her an email saying that you are concerned about her and her cats and would appreciate an update. I understand that what you paid is a lot of money - sometimes you have to play a waiting game.

FIP is no laughing matter unfortunately and I am very sorry for your loss. However, if the FIP did start in her cattery, I can't imagine a worse fate than losing my entire cattery and having to start over again.
post #8 of 14
I'm so sorry you had to go through this. FIP is a horrible disease.

Please feel free to PM me if you need anything. I might be able to help.
post #9 of 14
I am so sorry for your loss and I know how difficult this is as I lost a kitten 4 years ago. Not only is it extremely emotional, but it can be very costly. In our case, it was both.

I hope that the breeder comes through on her word about replacing the kitten.

I now breed Devon Rex occasionally. When I bring a new cat into my home, I obtain a general health guarntee from the breeder in writing which guarantees for viral, bacterial and fungal infections for several days (say 5 days) and states how the situation is to be remedied should the cat/kitten turn out to be sick in some way. I then get a full physical and blood workup within the specified time period just to make sure. I provide the same guarantee to anyone buying a kitten from me.
post #10 of 14
So sorry for you loss

Originally Posted by Abymummy View Post
2. Did you get a post mortem report from the vet?
I agree with the above question, it's very important you have a report from your vet. In my contract it states I have to provide certain things from the vet, if one of my kittens dies within a certain time period.
post #11 of 14
I do think you need to give the breeder some more time to respond however I do believe if it comes down to legal action you can sue the breeder for the purchase price and vet costs.

FIP itself is not contagious but it is a mutated form of the coronavirus. If you have no other cats it wouldn't be hard to prove the kitten contracted the virus from the cattery. Very few catteries are corona virus free. It is a very common virus and most cats have been exposed to this in their life but few will develope the mutated FIP.
post #12 of 14
I'm sorry you are having to go through this.

You have gotten excellent advice from others, I just thought I'd put in a word about the BBB. I wouldn't bother with them. They're pretty worthless. The one time I had a problem with a retailer and filed a complaint with the BBB all they did was act as an intermediary for passing letters between me and the retailer. They took no active part in resolving the dispute.
post #13 of 14
Being a breeder myself I can tell you that raising a kitten that becomes ill and in worst cases die can put a breeder in shock. FIP is especially devastating since there are so many horror stories about this disease.

Give the breeder some time. Try calling her, sending her a "snail mail" instead of an e-mail. Maybe she's paralysed by shock, sorrow and fear. If she's given you her word on replacing the kitten, she probably will.

You're probably both in a griefing process right know and the breeder's probably afraid she'll lose more cats due to FIP. Don't rush into anything.
post #14 of 14
First off, I am very sorry for your loss. I went through a similiar experience earlier in the year. I purchased a kitten at a catshow, she seemed fine for the first couple of days then completely stopped eating. The breeder thought it was just because she'd been through a big change (she was 8 months old) and had just gone off her food, which isn't at all uncommon. That didn't turn out to be the case, I bought her on Saturday, she went back to the breeder on Monday evening and she died at the vet Wednesday morning. I was devastated, as was the breeder. She had a necropsy done and it turned out she had contracted a virus at the cat show.
Her breeder told me she had litters planned for later in the year and that I could either take a kitten one of her friends currently had available, one of her retired adults, have my money back, or wait on a kitten - I chose to wait for a kitten. I heard absolutely nothing from the breeder for months and started to worry because she had told me she would call me when the kittens were born. I sent an email and had no response for over a week. In the end she was just extremely busy with kittens and I'm picking up my baby November 23rd.
I would really just give it a bit of time before assuming the breeder doesn't intend to stick to her word, she is probably devastated over your kittens passing and is probably incredibly busy dealing with everything in the cattery.
Good luck!
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