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Woman Claims Humane Society Let Her Adopt Sick Dogs

FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - Imagine adopting two puppies, taking them home and discovering they're seriously ill. Then imagine the place where they were adopted from tells you there's no problem to return the puppies, but know they may be put down.

The scenario is something Haltom City resident Katy Spates doesn't have to imagine – she says it's happening to her.

Now Spates wants to know how it's possible the shelter didn't know the dogs were sick with a highly contagious canine respiratory disease and inflammation of the lungs.

It hasn't been two weeks since Spates adopted the puppies.

"When I walked back into the kennel it was the both of them and they were both very sweet and just loving dogs," she said.

Spates adopted the two Australian shepherd mixes from the Humane Society of North Texas. When she got them home both were ill, but the 4-month-old puppy she named Mia was especially sick.

"She started coughing up mucus and had a bad runny nose and sneezing a lot," recalled Spates.

The 23-year-old woman immediately took Mia to a veterinarian. It turns out the puppy had kennel cough and pneumonia.

As of Thursday, Mia remained at the animal emergency hospital and the other adopted puppy, Francis, has started showing symptoms of kennel cough.

Spates was told by the Humane Society that she could bring the puppies back, but if they were really that sick then they could be put euthanized.

"It's not merchandise. It's an animal," said Spates. "It's like adopting a child and finding out they are sick. Are you going to return them?"

A spokesperson with the Humane Society wouldn't go on camera with CBS 11 News but said the organization doesn't allow the adoption of animals that they know are sick. The person went on to say that animals could be fine one day and come down with an illness the next.

So far, Spates has spent about $1,000 on the two puppies.

"Having them sent home with me sick and all the complications… it's just unbelievable," she said.

Spates believes the Humane Society should refund her adoption fees and pay what pet insurance doesn't cover.

The Humane Society of North Texas spokesperson told CBS 11 that they send new pet owners home with a list of veterinarians. If the owner goes to one on the list within five days of adoption -- which Spates did -- the vet will waive the office visit fee. But they say the pet owner is responsible for all other costs.

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