MCSO: Use caution when buying pets

SUZANNE ADAMS/Miner<br><br>
The MCSO urges residents to do their homework before purchasing a pedigreed pet.

SUZANNE ADAMS/Miner<br><br> The MCSO urges residents to do their homework before purchasing a pedigreed pet.

KINGMAN - How much is that doggie in the window?

According to the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, the answer may be, "more trouble than it's worth."

The MCSO is suggesting that residents educate themselves before buying a new pet, including cats, especially if that pet is a pedigreed animal.

First, research what kind of pedigreed pet you want and the different disorders or medical problems associated with the breed. A lot of pedigree dogs are susceptible to canine hip dysplasia.

Many breeders will advertise their dogs as PennHIP or OFA certified. PennHIP is a program run by the University of Pennsylvania veterinary school. OFA is another registration program run by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.

Both programs evaluate dogs for their susceptibility to hip dysplasia. OFA also tests dogs and other animals for other health problems.

Puppy purchasers can check the PennHIP Web site, or OFA's Web site at

Also, ask the kennel you are looking to purchase from for the pedigree name of the animal. Most pedigree animals will have two names, and one of them will be the name of the kennel where the animal was born. The MCSO also advises doing some research on the kennel to find if other pet owners been pleased with the animals they have purchased and if the pets have remained healthy.

Check to see which kennel clubs the animal is registered with. Most kennel operators advertise the fact that their dogs are registered with a specific kennel club. The three most popular dog kennel clubs are the United Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club and the Continental Kennel Club.

Some clubs are stricter then others about the qualifications for each breed they register, the MCSO notes. For example, AKC is used primarily by people who like to professionally show their dogs, while UKC is more concerned about if the dog can perform the purpose it was bred for.

All three clubs have Web sites where potential dog purchasers can search the clubs' databases for the registration of a dog. The AKC Web site also offers a DNA registry where dog purchasers can check to make sure the parents of their puppy are the ones specified by the breeder. Most registered dogs also have some sort of permanent marking, either a microchip or tattoo.

The AKC Web site is, the UKC Web site is and the CKC Web site is

MCSO detectives also suggest that pet purchasers thoroughly inspect the kennel they are looking to purchase from. Is the kennel clean? Do the animals look healthy? Do the animals have adequate food and water? Ask since the animal was born, has it received its shots or been seen by veterinarian for any other medical problems. Watch the animal to see if it seems healthy and able to move properly?

Ask specifically to see the parents of the pet you are thinking of purchasing. Most breeders are more than willing to show you the parents of the dog or cat you are buying. If the kennel owner seems reluctant, refuses or makes excuses, walk away. The acorn does not fall far from the tree and adult dogs or cats with medical or other problems can pass that on to their offspring.

Purchasing a pet with health problems, no matter how cute, can be extremely expensive. It also does not prevent a disreputable breeder from breeding more animals with the same problems.

There is no guarantee that a pet will never have any medical problems during its lifetime. However, Arizona does have a Puppy Lemon Law, which allows a pet purchaser to return an ill pet within 15 days with a statement from a veterinarian saying the animal had the condition before it was purchased.

If the animal qualifies, the store or kennel has one of three options. The store can:

• Offer a refund;

• Offer another animal, or:

• Reimburse the owner for the veterinary expenses up to original purchase price of the animal.

According to the Animal Defense League of Arizona, a pet owner must notify a store or kennel of a problem with the animal within five days of a veterinarian diagnosing the problem. The pet owner must offer the kennel or store the option to view the animal and any veterinarian records regarding the pet's medical problem.

If a cat or dog dies within 15 days of the purchase of the animal and a veterinarian can prove the death was due to a condition existing before the animal was purchased, a pet owner can request a replacement animal or reimbursement for the dead animal.

If you seek reimbursement for an animal, you must present an itemized list of medical costs from a veterinarian to the store or kennel.

A pet owner cannot seek reimbursement if a pet was abused or neglected after it was purchased. Parasites are also not a qualifying illness for compensation.