Ogden family warns about parvo after adopted puppy dies; rescue responds

OGDEN, Utah -- An Ogden family is warning others after a puppy they bought from a local rescue died days later from a virus. Now vets and animal advocates are echoing their concerns.

“I cried,” Samantha Newll of Ogden said. “It’s hard because you get your kids this dog, something they’ve never had before that they’ve always wanted, and within a week the dog is dead.”

It was the last Saturday in June when the Newell family welcomed Cocoa into their family. Filling out his adoption papers, looking over his vaccinations and paying the fee to Pack N' Pounce.

“My kids were obsessed with him,” Samantha said.

But after one day in their home the Newells realized something was wrong with Cocoa.

“Sunday he hadn’t eaten anything and he was throwing up Sunday night all over my house,” Newell said.

After a trip to the vet, Cocoa tested positive for Parvovirus.

Parvo is a deadly viral disease most commonly found in un-vaccinated dogs and is costly to treat. The Newell family tried multiple times to get a hold of Pack ‘N Pounce.

“They ignored our calls and refused we even bought the dog from them. That’s when we thought, that’s the tip of the iceberg; something else is going on,” Newell said.

The vet treating Cocoa told the Newell family she knew the rescue and was able to get in touch with the owner. Pack N' Pounce said they would pay $50 towards Cocoa's care, a small fraction of the cost.

“That's what we had at the time, you have to raise money before you spend it; we're a small rescue,” said Rebecca Cousineau, a volunteer at Pack 'N Pounce.

The Newell family still hadn't heard from the rescue and decided to go forward with the care, but the puppy died a few days later. The family took a closer look at the adoption papers and noticed Cocoa wasn't with the rescue at the time they claimed to vaccinate her.

“We do accept fault that she wrote down the wrong dates,” Cousineau said.

Veterinarians who did not want to be named contacted Fox 13, saying they have concerns with Pack N' Pounce. One said they've seen 13 dogs just this year come from the rescue that had Parvo. But Pack N' Pounce claims that's not true.

“We are in it for the animals, we dedicate our lives, we don't get paid," Cousineau said. "All the money we raise goes to helping the animals, not one dime goes into our pockets."

The rescue says it is looking at its policies and procedures. In Utah there are no "lemon laws" for pet adoptions, so it's buyer beware.

"It's best to have some type of contract where if there's something wrong with the pet they're willing to take it back or return it, and I know it can sound like a product but that's where it becomes a warranty," said DeAnn Shepherd of the Humane Society of Utah

It's a loss the Newell family doesn't want others to go through.

“My daughter said, 'Let’s go get Cocoa', and I said, 'He’s in heaven, we can’t go get him' and she said, 'Let’s go there, let’s go see him there,'” Newell said.

Pack N' Pounce did end up paying for the vet bills, which amounted to more than a thousand dollars, and they claim they tried to contact the family but the family says they never got the calls.

We also want viewers to know Parvo turns up in a lot of places and is a fairly common disease in puppies.