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Thursday, April 05, 2012

Breeder Says Northern Puppies Business Transaction Problematic

Dog breeder Mary Kleber holds a photo of puppies 
she says she regrets selling through a Plattsburgh City pet shop.


"I don't want my puppies sick," Mary Kleber told me.

Heated controversy surrounding a Plattsburgh City pet shop continues with a morass of criticism, complaints, and counter-remarks.

As mentioned in a previous post Northern Puppies has been the focus of a public campaign to address what some perceive as serious issues with that business.   On one side is the owner of Northern Puppies, Tammy Staley, who says she cares about animals and that she's being unfairly treated by commenters online, especially at the Wake Up Northern Puppies! Facebook page.

On the other side are those who have dealt with the pet shop and have complaints about it.  One of these individuals, Mary Kleber (nee Loftus), contacted me via email to share her story about her problems with the shop.  The Plattsburgh City resident breeds Miniature Schnauzers and until recently she sold puppies through private sales.  During a sit-down interview conducted as a follow-up to her email, Kleber explained why she regretted entering into a business deal with the owner of Northern Puppies pet shop.

One of Kleber's friends had sold a dog to Northern Puppies and mentioned that things had gone well with the sale.  Kleber thought it would be easier to sell her last litter of Schnauzers through the same shop instead of pursuing individual sales.

She met with the owner of Northern Puppies, Tammy Staley.  Thinking Staley was a honest and trustworthy businessperson, Kleber says she entered into an oral agreement with Staley to sell four puppies on a consignment basis, $250 per pup.  Since it was on consignment, Kleber thought that she could take back her puppies at any time.

Unfortunately for Kleber, there is no written contract and that detail has made it hard for her to have two remaining puppies returned to her.  After a particular photo appeared on the Wake Up Northern Puppies! page, Kleber became worried about her pups.  The photo showed her puppies and others in a pen spotted with canine feces, left unattended overnight.  Kleber says that a serious infection, canine parvovirus, could spread under such conditions.  She had worked at another pet shop and was aware how unsanitary conditions could endanger puppies.

Kleber stated that she has only received two payments from Staley, the first in cash, the other by check.  Worried about her pups being infected with parvo, she wanted to take the last two back since she thought the agreement was on a consignment basis.

When the Northern Puppies owner wouldn't return the pups, Kleber said she contacted city police who visited the shop.  Kleber doesn't know what Staley said to the police or showed for proof but an officer told her that the owner stated all the pups had been paid in full.  She was advised to pursue the matter in small claims court.

Kleber said she prefers to have the puppies returned to her or at least to be paid the rest of the $1,000 for all four pups.  She added that she had problems with the NP owner regarding payment for the first couple of pups sold, having to press the matter of being paid.

I contacted Northern Puppies owner Tammy Staley via email and repeated the main points of Kleber's complaint, asking for Staley's response.

In her email reply Staley stated that she paid Kleber $250 when the four puppies were delivered to her shop.  Staley continued: "I then told her as they sold I would pay her unless other pups sold and in that case I would have the extra cash and pay her anyway cause I don't like owing any money."

Staley also wrote that Kleber picked up another $250 before St. Patrick's day.  According to Staley, Kleber said that she needed the money to drink because she [Kleber] was Irish and wanted to party.

In her email, Staley states: "Early last week I gave her the rest $500 which is a total of $1000. When she seen the pics [the Facebook photos of the dirty puppy pen] thought she could use that as an excuse to take them back."

Staley says that some people are so upset about the controversy surrounding her pet shop that they are quick to believe Kleber's story.  Staley says the whole complaint is "crap" and if she didn't have the proof that the puppies were paid for in full, then the police would have taken them.

During my interview Kleber told me that she was pursuing the matter through small claims court and had also filed a complaint via email to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

It was mentioned today on Facebook at both the Northern Puppies business page and the Wake Up Northern Puppies! group that someone from the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets visited the shop yesterday and it passed inspection.


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