9 investigates claims of sick puppies being sold

by: Jenna Deery Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Mr. Jones is everything Lauren Rosenau ever wanted.

“We fell in love with him the moment we got him,” she said.

Jennifer and Justin Porterfield purchased little Layla to build their new family.
 
These two families have never met, but they share a similar story.
 
They purchased their puppies from a breeder they found online. They said it was Diana Beheler.
 
The families said Beheler gave them handwritten notes, promising to return their money if the puppies got sick within 30 days.
 
Both said the puppies did get sick.
 
“I felt like he was dying in my hands,” Rosenau said.
 
The Porterfields said their puppy died three weeks after they bought her.
 
“Neither one of us are very emotional but almost immediately we had a bond with her but she was part of our family,” Justin Porterfield said.
 
Rosenau said she took two weeks off work to take care of her dog.
 
“I'm spending hundreds of dollars to fix this dog and I have no idea what is happening,” Rosenau said.
 
The families turned their attention to Beheler and that health guarantee.
 
When they tried to get their money back, they said Beheler was unreachable.
 
Channel 9’s Jenna Deery called Beheler and asked to see a puppy she had for sale.
 
Beheler offered the same money-back guarantee.
 
“I'll do a health guarantee on that. For two weeks,” she said.
 
Beheler said the puppy was healthy and had its first shots. She said she used Foothills Animal Hospital in Forest City.
 
Channel 9 called the animal hospital and they said they had no record of seeing the puppy.

Tthe Humane Society of the United States told Channel 9 it has received eight complaints about Beheler.
 
“The complaints we are getting are sick puppies,” said Kim Alboum, the state director of the Humane Society.
 
Alboum said there's nothing authorities can do to stop Beheler, unless the dogs she sells show any signs of neglect or cruelty.
 
“We're seeing the emergence of more and more of these facilities because they can get away with it here,” Alboum said.
 
North Carolina has no laws to protect consumers from buying sick puppies or to regulate how puppies are sold.

The fight is left to consumers themselves. Rosenau took her dispute with Beheler to court.
 
“You have to go way out to some courthouse and hope that they rule in your favor. It's terrible,” she said.
 
A magistrate in Rutherford County ordered Beheler to pay vet costs for Rosenau and the Porterfields.
 
Despite those two judgments, Beheler is still selling puppies, and she’s still legally allowed to do so. Channel 9 found several new ads for her online.

Animal welfare advocates suggest people visit where the dog was raised and to see the puppy’s mother and father before buying the dog.
 
People who buy sick puppies can try to get their money back in small claims court.

Click here for more information on how to purchase puppies.