Zeus’ Story

December 31, 2001
Luise & Ken Fortney

Joyce Stoltzfus
Puppy Love Kennel
267 Riverview Road
Peach Bottom PA 17563

Joyce Stoltzfus,

We purchased a Rottweiler/ mix Puppy from you on December 20th, 2001. The puppy was purchased as a surprise Christmas gift for my son who is five years old. He has wanted a puppy for Christmas for a while and has talked about it since this past summer. My sister cared for the puppy from the time of purchase until Christmas morning. On Christmas morning my mother brought the puppy to us and my son showed so much excitement it was incredible, for that we thank you. We also named him Zeus.

The events following our initial purchase were incredible as well. Unfortunately, incredibly disastrous. A summary of the events that bring us to today are summarized below:

December 21, 2001 – In the evening (~8:30 p.m.) my sister called to say Zeus had become very lethargic, was coughing and had green mucus expelling from his nose. We called you immediately to let you know and get your advice. We had an appointment scheduled with our vet the next morning. You advised us to keep the appointment and keep an eye on him. At that time we were concerned the symptoms were of canine distemper. You assured us it was probably just a cold, and suggested giving him Robitussin DM to relieve his congestion.

December 22, 2001 – Our appointment with the DVM (10:30 a.m.) at Fullerton Animal Hospital did not provide any specific conclusion as to what was wrong with the puppy since it was an initial visit. The following tests and recommended remedies were suggested:


  • Prescribed an antibiotic called Clavamox (62.5 mg) 1 1/5 tablets 2x daily for the nasal discharge;
  • Prescribed cough tablets ½ tablet every 8 hours as needed for dry cough;
  • Performed two types of tests for mange from scrapings on tail both of which were negative and prescribed Conofite Cream (2%) applied 2x daily for bare spots on his tail and back right foot;
  • Performed a test on stool sample that provided negative results.

Local DVM recommended contact the day after Christmas for status.

He reacted well, initially and was brought home to us. He seemed to be recovering, at least not as bad as he was on the 21st, but still had a dry cough (occurring less frequently) and a cloudy nasal discharge instead of green with no sneezing.

December 26, 2001 – Contacted local DVM for fleas found, what could we do to treat fleas, and general status of puppy. Could not get in contact with DVM. Left a message for return phone call the next day. No return phone call.

December 28, 2001 – On the 28th he started to become “finicky” with his food regular diet (Iams puppy chow for large dogs) and somewhat lethargic. With help we were able to get the puppy to eat two meals and at this point there was not trouble with water intake. Regular bowel movement was noted along with regular fluid elimination. Stools started somewhat firm but were ending soft with some mucus.

December 29, 2001 – Couldn’t get the puppy to eat and drinking was becoming a problem. Contacted the local DVM at 1:00 p.m. DVM suggested chicken broth or ground beef with rice for his diet, which we tried immediately and he ate one meal with some coaxing. This was recommended because the DVM was concerned that the antibiotic may have irritated the digestive tract. Meds were to be discontinued for a twenty-four hour period. Also, to get the puppy hydrated the DVM suggested Gatorade or ice cubes to get the puppy re-interested in fluid intake. We were able to get the puppy to drink his regular water with the hamburger and rice mixture. The last stool elimination was noted to be around 4:00p.m.

December 30, 2001 – The next morning he ate quarter to half of the rice/hamburger mixture but would not drink. We immediately tried ice cubes and later Gatorade and we were initially successful. Zeus was becoming more lethargic and would not eat after the initial try in the morning. We tried to keep fluids in him to keep him hydrated but close to evening he started vomiting initially hamburger and rice (very little) and some fluid. He also developed a “twitch” which worsened as the evening went on. We again called you, around the 9:00pm hour, explained the problems, which you insisted were an upper respiratory infection and the twitching could be from a number of different things. You claimed you could heal him of this illness and we agreed to bring him back as soon as possible. The earliest you wanted us to bring him was 10:am December 31, 2001. As the evening progress his symptoms worsened. He was twitching severely and the vomiting was getting worse at 10:00 – 10:30pm with repeated attempts (forcefully) at hydration. At this point we knew we could not wait until the next morning. We called you back and reached your answering machine. With a message left we anticipated a return call, but never received one. My mother-in-law also tried to contact you and left a detailed message stating that we wanted to bring the dog immediately. The twitching became constant between 11:00 – 11:30 p.m. and Zeus was near the point of physically injuring himself. With no further communication from you, we contacted an emergency animal facility, Falls Road Animal Hospital, 6314 Falls Rd, Baltimore MD 21209, 410-825-9100. Under their advice we took Zeus to them due to his behavior. The DVM recommended that we leave the puppy so that he could perform some testing but indicated that it didn’t look good since the initial injection of relaxant had little affect. We were to call at 7:00 a.m. the next morning to decide what to do.

December 31, 2001 – At 4:00 a.m. the on staff DVM indicated that he could not stop Zeus from seizing and the metabolic testing indicated no abnormalities. In his opinion, based on the dog’s actions and reaction to medication we were dealing with canine distemper and the puppy should be put down. We insisted that we should contact you first. We tried to contact you again at 6:30 a.m. to let you know that the veterinarian recommended euthanization soon and to find out what we needed to do with the body. We again received your voice mail upon which we left a detailed message and asked you to return our call or we would have the puppy put down by 7:00 a.m. At 7:00 we called the DVM to let him know we would follow his advice and asked if he could put his opinion in writing. By 9:30 a.m. we had not received a return call and had to call you again to let you know what was happening, what should be done with the body, and what kind of refund we were entitled to. You stated that you did not require the body but would require a copy of the DVM statement of death to obtain a refund of the initial cost of the puppy. We then inquired as to the balance of our bills for the extensive care provided in trying to help the puppy recover. You stated that you would consider these costs as part of the refund if we sent the documents to you.

My family has experienced great pain and suffering due to the actions leading to the demise of Zeus. We tried to improve his quality of life and promote healing. Unfortunately, it seems this puppy was too sick to be healed.

We would prefer to have back the puppy that we have become so attached to. Regretfully, since that is not possible, we are requesting full reimbursement of the purchase price as well as partial reimbursement for the veterinarian bills. We do not expect reimbursement for the first examination. However, we do request full reimbursement otherwise. If our request is not honored within 10 days of receipt we will pursue further legal action. A breakdown of the expenses that should be reimbursed by you is as follows:


Description Date Cost Refund Due Method of Payment Reference
>Initial Cost 12/20/2001 $291.50 $291.50 Visa Contract Seller has copy.
Initial DVM Visit 12/22/01 71.05 Discover Attachment A Buyer provided copy.
Initial Deposit Emergency Care 12/31/2001 250.00 250.00 Discover Attachment B Buyer provided copy.
Subsequent Payment for Emergency Care 12/31/2001 220.95 220.95 Discover Attachment C Buyer provided copy.
Mass Cremation 12/31/2001 65.00 65.00 Discover Attachment D Buyer provided copy.
DVM Opinion 12/31/2001 Attachment E Buyer provided copy.
TOTAL $827.45

We believe these moneys are due us because we should have never experienced this type of problem with the puppy (this is not normal care) over such a short time span. We hope that you will stand behind your product.

Luise M. Fortney

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