A U.S. Marine purchased an 8-week-old puppy last year at a La Mesa pet store, and when the dog became seriously ill, the Marine says the now out-of-business owner left him out to dry with the medical expenses.
Joshua McClintock served in Iraq in 2005 and returned with post-traumatic stress disorder. His medical team advised him to buy a dog to assist him in his recovery, and he purchased a puppy from Pet Works in the Grossmont Shopping Center.
Within weeks, the dog named Minnie Moo had white discharge coming from her eyes. McClintock treated the problem with eye drops.
“And then after that, it’s just been issue after issue after issue,” McClintock said following a Thursday press conference.
Owned by Richard Fuller, Pet Works went out of business in December after 13 years of operation.
Sydney Cicourel, campaign coordinator for Companion Animal Protection Society, believes Fuller's puppies came from puppy mills in the Midwest.
"My feeling is that they actually did," La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid said. "Of course, the owner Mr. Fuller has repeatedly denied it. But there's a history of the dogs from there getting sick. ...I really think Josh has been shabbily treated."
McClintock said that at the time of purchase, Fuller gave him a 15-day general guarantee, a six-month guarantee that would cover ailments such as broken limbs, and a one-year guarantee that would cover any genetic problems.
The dog has been diagnosed with hepatitis, pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary embolism. The bills have totaled over $2,300 and are expected to reach around $7,000.
When McClintock contacted Fuller, he said he received no help.
“He told me, pretty much, that I’m out of luck,” McClintock said. “His corporation is no longer in business, and he’s bankrupt and has nothing in his name.”
McClintock said he wants to show Fuller that “he isn’t high and mighty.”
“I want to bring him down,” he said. “It’s his responsibility to take care of anybody who has a sick dog from Pet Works. It’s a responsibility that you guaranteed that dog for a year. …Just man up and do what’s right.”
Madrid said he hopes someone can assist McClintock with his dog's bills.
Fuller could not be reached for comment.