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Sick Puppy Raises More Concerns About Oxford Kennel

BOSTON (CBS) -- A Boston couple is heartbroken and regretful after purchasing an 8-week-old Havanese from a kennel with a history of complaints.

Jaime Gaudet and her boyfriend, Mark Paolucci, brought "Coco" home from Laughlin Kennel of Oxford on January 22nd. Only five days later, Coco was seriously ill with the parvovirus.

"You love them [a new puppy] instantly and they love you," Gaudet told WBZ-TV through tears. "We just want her to come home. We just want her to get well."

She paid more than $1,500 for Coco, who was brought to the kennel from Missouri on January 20th. Gaudet's contract with Laughlin Kennel included a 14 day health guarantee but a caveat to that guarantee requires the puppy be returned to the kennel.

The first time pet owners don't want to return the dog, because they love Coco and fear she wouldn't survive the hour long ride back to Oxford from the Waltham emergency veterinary facility, Blue Pearl, where she is currently on a feeding tube and hooked up to IVs for intensive 24-hour treatment.

Coco purchased from Laughlin Kennels (Courtesy photo)

"To request us to present the dog to them is unreasonable and impossible because we want her to live," said Gaudet. "We honestly don't think if we brought her there that they would have the capability of caring for her nor would they maybe have the interest because the expense is so great."

Coco's vet bills are currently at $6,000. Laughlin Kennel tells WBZ-TV they do not euthanize puppies for financial reasons, that they have the capability to treat a sick dog, and are especially successful at treating respiratory infections.

A first call to Laughlin Kennel by WBZ-TV was met with a refusal to comment and a disconnected phone line. Later, an office manager called to inquire about where to send a written statement from owner Robert Fink.

"We very much regret that this, or any, puppy became ill. We do take efforts to avoid this unfortunate situation," Fink said in the statement, which also pointed to the appearance of a healthy puppy when Gaudet took her home and the unwillingness to bring the dog back to the kennel. Fink went on to say Coco passed a check with their own veterinarian the day she was sold and had the USDA required health certificate.

Fink says because of the significant veterinary bills for Coco, currently at $6,000, Laughlin Kennel issued a full refund. Gaudet disputes that the refund has been issued.

Complaints about the sale of sick puppies by Laughlin Kennel are nothing new for the business, which set up a Facebook page late last year to refute what they say are false allegations. A recent WBZ-TV I-Team investigation exposed deplorable conditions through undercover video of the facility.

"We feel super guilty at this moment because we just didn't know. Had we known, we wouldn't have wanted to invest with them," said Gaudet. "We don't want to support their business. It's not about the money. It's about the principle of it. If you're going to do this to animals, we don't want you to have our money."

Coco's prognosis is still about 50/50 due to her prolonged case. Monday night will mark her sixth night in the hospital, during which Gaudet can only watch through a glass window, rather than hold and comfort the dog she loves. A page has been setup to offset Coco's expensive vet bills and has received donations from others claiming to have purchased sick dogs.

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