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Justice's Mom
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This thread is my opportunity to speak out for my wonderful doberman puppy, Justice! I bought Justice from Kerwin Abels in Winston, MO in March 2012. At the time of purchase I was told the puppy had seen a vet twice, had current vaccinations and would be AKC registered. Since the time I purchased her I have had to have her treated for a severe case of roundworms, hookworms and coccidia. My hometown vet believes her tail was illegally docked at about 6 weeks of age without vet care. There was not enough skin left to properly cover the cartilage. She still has a badly scarred tail that has not fully healed. I still have not received her shot records or registration papers. Worst of all last week she underwent emergency surgery to save her leg and her life as infected abscesses were taking over her leg and she was septic. The emergency room vets and surgeons believes this infection entered through her tail. After 5 days of rest, drainage tubes, 4 medications and 7 stitches she is beginning to heal. We are praying for a clean bill of health later this week. We have spent over $2,500 on medical bills and after speaking to the breeder I was told he had another litter coming and I could return Justice and get a new puppy. I am currently working with the county humane society to have his property checked out and see what condition his animals are being kept in. How can I get the word out to potential buyers and how can we shut breeders like this down? Any suggestions appreciated!
 

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There is a lemon puppy law. It is mentioned in another thread and can be found using the seach. Also if you have not received the proper akc paperwork you could contact them and see if they could be of some help. You could also have your vet write something about the tail being a home job at 6 weeks and see if the spca could get involved. Good luck.
 

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sufferin succotash
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Holier Than Now
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I hope your puppy recovers and there are no further heartbreaking health issues as the years go on.

Hopefully, with this hard lesson learned, you will now become an educator yourself, and help to pass on the vital message not to support and buy from unethical, improper breeders like this in future.
 

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Justice's Mom
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Questions

As I continue to learn about puppy mills and poor breeding practices, I'd love some feedback. When we were on our puppy search it was important we get a puppy as I have other small dogs and needed them to grow together and be used to one another. I looked at this website and others to find information on reputable breeders in my area. As I searched I only found one or two and upon further inspection I found negative reviews on those people as well. I also found negative feedback on Kerwin but those owners said they didn't like his setup but their pets had been healthy thus far. Due to this, we took the chance with him and regret that now. While I get that reputable breeders do all the testing and often show the parents to check for temperament issues, it didn't seem like that offered a much better success percentage than home breeders. While I 100% believe breeders like Kerwin Abels are slimy and only harming these dogs for the money, is it not possible for some at home breeders to be successful? I just wonder what the best approach is for educating people as I just went through this decision process recently. Please educate me so I can intelligently educate others.
 

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This thread is my opportunity to speak out for my wonderful doberman puppy, Justice! I bought Justice from Kerwin Abels in Winston, MO in March 2012. At the time of purchase I was told the puppy had seen a vet twice, had current vaccinations and would be AKC registered. Since the time I purchased her I have had to have her treated for a severe case of roundworms, hookworms and coccidia. My hometown vet believes her tail was illegally docked at about 6 weeks of age without vet care. There was not enough skin left to properly cover the cartilage. She still has a badly scarred tail that has not fully healed. I still have not received her shot records or registration papers. Worst of all last week she underwent emergency surgery to save her leg and her life as infected abscesses were taking over her leg and she was septic. The emergency room vets and surgeons believes this infection entered through her tail. After 5 days of rest, drainage tubes, 4 medications and 7 stitches she is beginning to heal. We are praying for a clean bill of health later this week. We have spent over $2,500 on medical bills and after speaking to the breeder I was told he had another litter coming and I could return Justice and get a new puppy. I am currently working with the county humane society to have his property checked out and see what condition his animals are being kept in. How can I get the word out to potential buyers and how can we shut breeders like this down? Any suggestions appreciated!
So, question... what made you buy from this person? Were there no red flags before you got this puppy? I am just curious as to what makes people buy from breeders like this. Because they have puppies readily available?

The problem is, these kind of people never seem to get shut down. As long as there are uneducated buyers who want a puppy right now, they will stay in business.

I hope your puppy continues to get better and that it stays healthy for life.
 

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Justice's Mom
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
StarlaineK9 - My reasons for initially buying from Kerwin were (1) puppy was available, I've now learned patience is important! (2) after researching reputable breeders I worried that even if I purchased a puppy from them I had no better chance of getting a healthy puppy and would spend more money from the get go (3) I researched Kerwin ahead of time and while I found people who called him a backyard breeder, I couldn't find anyone who had health issues with their puppy (4) I was told there was a health guarantee and even though I asked multiple times what that meant, he never fully answered (I was so excited and distracted by cute puppy faces I didn't push it), I now know his health guarantee required me having my pet cared for by his vet who is 3 hrs away from me and I don't know and at any time that he felt the price got to high, his health guarantee means I give my puppy back and he gives me a new one (5) While I was a little concerned the health guarantee was not what I wanted, I found it to be the same with reputable breeders (do some people really return unhealthy puppies after you've bonded with them?). I know now that many of these reasons are wrong but this is where my head was a couple months ago.
 

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Holier Than Now
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StarlaineK9 - My reasons for initially buying from Kerwin were (1) puppy was available, I've now learned patience is important! (2) after researching reputable breeders I worried that even if I purchased a puppy from them I had no better chance of getting a healthy puppy and would spend more money from the get go (3) I researched Kerwin ahead of time and while I found people who called him a backyard breeder, I couldn't find anyone who had health issues with their puppy (4) I was told there was a health guarantee and even though I asked multiple times what that meant, he never fully answered (I was so excited and distracted by cute puppy faces I didn't push it), I now know his health guarantee required me having my pet cared for by his vet who is 3 hrs away from me and I don't know and at any time that he felt the price got to high, his health guarantee means I give my puppy back and he gives me a new one (5) While I was a little concerned the health guarantee was not what I wanted, I found it to be the same with reputable breeders (do some people really return unhealthy puppies after you've bonded with them?). I know now that many of these reasons are wrong but this is where my head was a couple months ago.

Honestly, there's just really too much to cover, in one thread.

Stick around, read, laugh (and sometimes cry) with fellow Doberman folks, and especially read the puppy and health sections--and you will come to have a grasp of the larger picture.

Please do share pics of your pup as she grows, ask for tips when you encounter stumbling blocks.

Folks here WILL help you, with the best advice they can, because I can about guarantee you ol' Kerwin will not, and even if he did, most likely his advice wouldn't be worth what you find in the bottom of a spittoon.

THAT is one huge difference in buying from an ethical breeder--you'd have support and knowledge to fall back upon, when needed, for all of Justice's life, had she come from such a good breeder, rather than that dude.

Why not start a thread, with pics, in the puppy section? Folks will welcome your pup, even if they don't condone the breeder's practices.
 

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StarlaineK9 - My reasons for initially buying from Kerwin were (1) puppy was available, I've now learned patience is important! (2) after researching reputable breeders I worried that even if I purchased a puppy from them I had no better chance of getting a healthy puppy and would spend more money from the get go (3) I researched Kerwin ahead of time and while I found people who called him a backyard breeder, I couldn't find anyone who had health issues with their puppy (4) I was told there was a health guarantee and even though I asked multiple times what that meant, he never fully answered (I was so excited and distracted by cute puppy faces I didn't push it), I now know his health guarantee required me having my pet cared for by his vet who is 3 hrs away from me and I don't know and at any time that he felt the price got to high, his health guarantee means I give my puppy back and he gives me a new one (5) While I was a little concerned the health guarantee was not what I wanted, I found it to be the same with reputable breeders (do some people really return unhealthy puppies after you've bonded with them?). I know now that many of these reasons are wrong but this is where my head was a couple months ago.
That's about as honest and from the heart answer as one could ask for. RFR was right. Stick around. Make this place your Doberman home. You will get lots of support from people who have no ulterior motive other than to help you and your puppy.

I honestly wonder if most people know to research purchasing a dog of any breed before they buy. I think that sweet puppy face wins a lot of the time.

Any way, welcome. You have a big family of supporters now.
 

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While I was a little concerned the health guarantee was not what I wanted, I found it to be the same with reputable breeders (do some people really return unhealthy puppies after you've bonded with them?). I know now that many of these reasons are wrong but this is where my head was a couple months ago.

The difference with reputable breeders is that they have a lot of time, research, education and experience on their breed. They know the most common problems with their breed and do their best to breed away from those problems by expensive testing and researching their pedigrees. Not a single one will tell you their lines are free of any kind of genetic disease, because they realize that is impossible, but they are upfront and honest about it and tell you why they think the breeding was the best match for healthy, standard, well temperament dogs. This means that while things CAN happen, you have much less of a chance of something happening and IF it does, you have the support of that breeder for the rest of your dogs life. They realize that flukes do happen, afterall we are talking about living, breathing animals. They realize that most people don't want to return their puppy and that is the last thing they want. BYBers realize this also, and take advantage knowing that they now can obsolve themselves of all responsibility.

You learned the hard way, just like most of us on the forum. Your girl sounds much like my boxer baby who I adopted, but still had much of the same problems, nearly losing her to a severe roundworm infestation, on top of a horrible temperament and heart disease that we will deal with for the rest of her life. I adore her to pieces. I'd never trade her for the world, but I'm glad she was adopted and not purchased. Unfortunately, over half her liter was purchased with the same problems, 2 of them passing away and the others brought to rescue due to expensive health problems. Not much a bargan for them.
 

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sufferin succotash
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I just wanted to point out this post by a member who's dealing with some health issues with her older dobe. Her responsible breeder has been with her through this process both emotionally and with some financial help. Although not mentioned below, her breeder even gave her some of the medication Cooper needs.

Breeders like this are priceless and yes, they are out there. Good breeders aren't God. No one can guarantee life but they do everything possible to try and preserve the breed AND stand by their owners.

Coopers energy levels seemed to perked up a bit more today, and he was more quiet last night.
The breeder is sending us a swab test which she said she will pay for just to get more information on his litter. She has been in contact with Dr. Meurs and has been forwarding all of converstaions to me. If his test comes back negative, they are hoping to also get a blood sample for research purposes. If nothing else we will hopefully have a hand in moving research forward.

We also had a converstaion in regards to the breed and we were talking about Dobes and all of the health issues that they have and why breeders and owners love them so much in spite of this; Something she said really hit home: the Doberman has a humaness to them which many other breeds lack, we can connect with them on a deeper level.
 

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StarlaineK9 - My reasons for initially buying from Kerwin were (1) puppy was available, I've now learned patience is important! (2) after researching reputable breeders I worried that even if I purchased a puppy from them I had no better chance of getting a healthy puppy and would spend more money from the get go (3) I researched Kerwin ahead of time and while I found people who called him a backyard breeder, I couldn't find anyone who had health issues with their puppy (4) I was told there was a health guarantee and even though I asked multiple times what that meant, he never fully answered (I was so excited and distracted by cute puppy faces I didn't push it), I now know his health guarantee required me having my pet cared for by his vet who is 3 hrs away from me and I don't know and at any time that he felt the price got to high, his health guarantee means I give my puppy back and he gives me a new one (5) While I was a little concerned the health guarantee was not what I wanted, I found it to be the same with reputable breeders (do some people really return unhealthy puppies after you've bonded with them?). I know now that many of these reasons are wrong but this is where my head was a couple months ago.
Thank you for the honest reply. But until buyers stop wanting a puppy right now and are willing to wait and deal with a reputable breeder they will stay in business. It starts with JQP.
 

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Justice's Mom
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Wow what a thread!

sam&macksmom: I looked at the thread you referenced and my mouth fell open. I had found another thread about Kerwin before buying Justice but all it said was that he was a BYB but the owners dogs had been healthy. I truly didn't understand how bad BYB was until I've read so much on this site. I am so sad the thread you sent me to was closed because I literally took notes on what was said, they got off track for awhile and turned on each other but there was a lot of important crap on Kerwin! Since I can't comment there, I'll do it here!

Kerwin says he has a screening process. I called him inquiring on a different puppy I saw online and he asked if I had owned a doberman before, I said no so he proceeded to talk for 5 minutes about how I should have her trained to sit, stay, down and something else within the first 4 weeks! I'm a stay at home mom with older kids and have devoted my life to this puppy, we haven't gotten the stay yet! That was the extent of his screening, he asked nothing of me, just wanted to talk himself!

AKC registration: the ad I responded to said the puppy would be AKC registered. I bout justice in March 2012 and to this day have not received the papers. He said his wife filed them wrong which I don't get because it sounds like they are experts! He also told me in April it would be a limited registration. I have no plans on breeding, she is our baby only, but it is deceitful to change the registration after I've bought her.

I also saw on the thread that he had a litter in December, February and March. He has another one coming up soon. Do we really think he has that many females or has he already breed one? I don't know anything about breeding so this is truly a question!

I love that he said in the thread that someone lives on the property and that he is there himself almost everyday. I have an email from him where he admits he doesn't go to the property and that no one lives there, but some one does go to the property daily. Odd!

I read about a poorly docked tail and raging worms! Us too! Our tail was so badly done, it still hasn't healed and the worms were worse than my vet of 20+ years had ever seen. Kerwin later told me that my puppy had been to the vet and checked out and he wormed her too, he said the wormer he used must have been bad and he would change for the next litter! The badly done tail also lead to my puppy almost dying and/or losing her leg. Had we not been in an area with a 24 hour animal hospital and had $2,000 disposable income, she would have died. Within 3 days she saw 2 vet clinics and 4-5 vets/surgeons before finding out she was septic and literally dying in front of us. Praying she is almost through this now! Justice was also about 5 pounds underweight which is odd when in Kerwin's previous posts he comments on his dogs being overweight!

I also heard he doesn't answer questions. I find that partially true. He is like a really good politician: if you ask him 5 questions, he will pick 2 and only answer those! He never has answered some of the questions I initially asked!

Shot records: I never got them! He finally after a lot of bugging gave me a number from the shot bottle but my vet worries that with all the problems I've had with Kerwin, we can't trust that any of that ever got into my dog! He never provided an actual record showing Justice was given the shot.

Payment: I was told it was $300 down and $300 at pick up. If I decided between the time of down payment and pick up, I didn't want the dog, the $300 was non-refundable. He also said if I wanted the dog he sent me pictures of, I needed to pay him that night in Paypal or Wal-Mart money transfer. Guessing he needed money for something so he pushed me! Luckily, I paid $300 PayPal and $300 cash so I am currently disputing the PayPal charge. I had a hard time coming to that decision because I felt like I agreed to $600 for a dog and I did get that. However, after the $2,000 emergency surgery that was directly related to Kerwin's poor care, I felt ok with trying to get my $300 back.

Training: I am no expert, never will claim to be. However, I have a generous husband who has allowed me to bring in experts to teach me. We have had multiple at home training sessions to deal with her timidness, energy and aggression. We also have joined group classes and I work with her every single day with the methods the experts are teaching me. Everyone agrees she is "a little too much" at all times! This is after 2-3 3 mile walks a day!

I contacted Kerwin after each vet visit since March 2012. After each visit he told me that my vet was wrong and tried to tell me how to handle her medical issues. I refuse to listen to what Kerwin says!

Pictures: I actually saw a picture Kerwin posted in that thread that is also the same picture he said he took of my puppy that day, just for me! Odd!

Stop Kerwin: I have contacted the Davies County humane society and they referred me on. However, they also warned me that because there are so many puppy mills in MO, they are only able to address the most serious cases due to man power constraints. I am working with nextdaypets, the website I found Kerwin on to get him kicked off that site. I am also continuing on the process of working with the humane society leads but fear I may not get anywhere. I truly believe the best way to deal with Kerwin is to plaster his name everywhere so anytime someone searches, they will find all of the crap he has done. That would have deterred me because I am OCD about reviews! I also think it is vital to educate people on BYB. I thought it was someone who bred dogs but didn't show them, nothing sounded wrong to me about that. I have already learned a ton that I didn't know 2 months ago!

Thanks for this website, it is a great place to learn and is vital for us as we go about raising our ornery but lovable dobe!
 

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Holier Than Now
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Poor pitiful girl.

Thanks for everything you are doing for her, not just the health stuff, but all the training and reading you are doing.

Three books I think no new Doberman owner should be without--and they are all relatively inexpensive, but worth their weight in gold, plus two are very easy, fast reads:

The Power of Positive Dog Training, Pat Miller

On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals, Turid Rugaas

Plenty in Life is Free..., Kathy Sdao

The Sdao book is a bit more in depth, reflections on years of dog training, but it's her "SMARTX50" philosophy/method you can skim ahead to, and use daily, that will really build your relationship and focus with Justice.

Hope she recovers with flying colors, and hope Divine Karma has now taken note of Mr. Abels.
 

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I would give this man a serious talk about the tail thing
cause it sounds like your area too overloaded for the authorities to do anything
what an a$$hole
seriously=
you could warn the vets in the area also -=because they refer breeders
good luck with your dog=hope it gets better--sorry you are going through this
 

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My reasons for initially buying from Kerwin were (1) puppy was available, I've now learned patience is important! (2) after researching reputable breeders I worried that even if I purchased a puppy from them I had no better chance of getting a healthy puppy and would spend more money from the get go[\quote]

Sometimes the hardest lessons we learn are those we make through our mistakes. While reputable breeders can and do have some problems the difference is reputable - that means they stand behind their dogs and would never send a puppy out that young. But if you truly believe he docked the puppy himself in that manner then I would take pictures and report him. NO reputable breeder would ever treat a puppy like that and then send it to a home.

Reputable means the breeder is available from day one to day 10,0001 if you have a question, concern or need help. It amazes me that these guys always seem to have a puppy available and for those that want instant gratification it can get them into trouble.

But above all I would think regardless today people would want a signed contract that spells out exactly what is going to happen and when. Shot records should come with the puppy at the time you pick up the puppy. That is critical as most people are going to take the puppy to their own vet for a check and they require shot records.

I hope your puppy heals and does fine from now on.
 

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Is it true that on occassion a puppy's tail can be RE-docked if required WHEN ears are done? Isn't that usually at 7-8 weeks?
 

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Justice's Mom
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Because I am in such shock I have to share! 9 days ago I gave Kerwin Abels my address so he could finally send me my AC papers. Today I got this e-mail from him:
It really sounds like this puppy is in an unhealthy enviroment.
Are your little dogs you have housebroken.
So many times little dogs are hard to house break creating an unhealthy living quarters.
Is it no wonder the puppy had an infected tail from filthy living conditions.

This man has lost his mind and is grasping at straws while I continue to file complaint after complaint with anyone I can to shut him down. I am working on a lead now and will share with other Kerwin owners as soon as I verify it. Thanks for everyone's support.
 
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