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Woman takes fight to Action 9 after store-bought puppy becomes ill

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CASSELBERRY, Fla. - A Casselberry woman claims a state pet law didn't protect her after her puppy died five days after she bought it.

Joana Lau said she blames a local pet store chain where other customers have complained the store didn't honor its contracts.

Lau said she had to euthanize her sheltie mix puppy after buying him at the Puppy Stop.

"It was heartbreaking. I was crying, crying all day," said Lau.

According to Lau, the puppy suffered bad convulsions the second day she had it, so she took the dog to the store's vet for treatment, but it didn't help.

"His seizures got very violent, foaming at the mouth and shaking," she said.

Lau had her puppy treated at Banfield Animal Hospital, but she said the seizures became so intense that Banfield's vet said it was a congenital, untreatable condition and recommended euthanasia.

"It was something that was not curable and painful for the dog, and she had considered every option she could," said Lau.

Lau thought that under Florida's pet law she could at least get the purchase price back, which was more than $500, but she said the store refused, asked her why she killed her dog and said they would have treated him.

The Puppy Stop in Casselberry, along with a second store in Orlando, is owned by Charles Glatz.

"The animal dies within five days, and you're telling me she can't get her money back?" asked Action 9's Todd Ulrich.

"What we're telling you is there are rules she has to follow, just like we do," Glatz said.

The owner and manager said they offered vet care and more testing, and they said Lau needed results of an animal autopsy for a refund because the dog could have died from accidental poisoning or severe stress.

"Let our vet determine the diagnosis and then resolve the issue," said store manager Janice Gunther.

Puppy Stop stores have an F rating at the Better Business Bureau, which shows five complaints. Three customers even complained to the state.

Lau sent her complaint to Florida's Division of Consumer Services, which oversees the state's pet law.

"He was only 8 weeks old. It was very hard," said Lau.

The pet law covers illness for the first two weeks and congenital disease for the first year.