REWEY, WISCONSIN -- I would like to share my experience with Belkennels.
I bought a Goldendoodle puppy from Dan in October of 2009. Upon arriving, Dan met us with my puppy and we didn't move from his driveway. I noticed other puppies that he was breeding were walking around in an inch or two of mud. I wanted to see the siblings of my puppy, but he informed us they were all sold even though I looked online a couple days later and there was still one for sale.
The morning after we picked her up she sneezed up a worm. It's normal when puppies have worms to poop them out, but when worms are coming out of the puppies mouth that isn't good. This is my first puppy so I freaked out and called Dan. He informed me to just go to Farm and Fleet and get a pill. I did that but she was pooping out so many worms I was concerned. The next day (two days after picking her up) I went to the vet. They informed me that she had a severe case of worms and was underweight. The vet gave my puppy a stronger pill then the ones you buy from Farm and Fleet. I was so disappointed and upset I wrote Dan explaining what happened and if we would refund my vet bill because I didn't expect having my puppy for two days and running her to the vet. Dan did send me a check for $25, but that didn't even cover half of the vet bill.
This last Saturday morning, my puppy started pooping worms again. I was shocked. We had been to the vet three weeks ago and they had checked her poop for the worms and she was clear. I called the vet immediately and made an appointment for later in the morning. The vet said that usually puppies get rid of the worms right away but since she had worms so severe that's probably why she got the worms again.
I love my puppy to death. This was my first puppy and dealing with the worms have not been a pleasant experience. My puppy is still underweight because of the worms. It is heartbreaking to know that she has worms inside her and they are taking her nutrients. I wrote this review to let people know what to expect if they decide to buy a puppy from Belkennels. If I would have read a review like this before I was considering buying a puppy from him, I would have passed it by.
FT. WORTH, TEXAS -- I have structured this review simply to tell my story about an experience with Belkay kennels.
When I looked at the web investigating this kennel and breeder, even the second time I bought an animal from her, I never found any untoward writings. Hence, I believed my experience would be positive (in combination with my first experience in 1997). However, that was not the case. I feel certain other individuals have also had bad experiences but I can find no record of those detailed on the web. Only today on a web search, I did find public record of a court decision where Ms. [name removed] was fined $14,800 for selling animals without an Animal Welfare license. That particular document can be found at the following URL as a PDF file:
Here is our story:
I purchased my first Brussels griffon from BelKay kennels in 1996 for $400. At that time, I found Ms. [name removed] to be pleasant, knowledgeable, helpful and attentive. She bred only Brussels griffons (or so I was told by her), and I was required to go through a phone interview before I was even told her address to view the puppies. I have been very happy with my first Brussels, hence, when I wanted to get my daughter a griff for her birthday, I went to the same breeder: Belkay kennels, Ms. Belinda [name removed], in Ft. Worth, TX.
On the second go-round, even from the start, I found her behavior a little odd. She was not interested at all in the fact that I'd previously purchased a puppy from her. She didn't ask me the parent's names or show any interest in our previous transaction, which is odd behavior for a breeder. When I went to pick out my puppy and leave a $300 deposit, I saw several other breeds of puppies on the premises, including about 7 other griffs and a pen of yorkees. When my husband and I went to Ft. Worth about 3 weeks later to get the puppy, we came with another check for the $700 balance. We noticed a grayish discharge on the puppy's nose and two patches where the puppy's hair had been shaved. Ms. [name removed] told me he had a "slight skin infection" but she treated it with antimicrobial cream and "it's better see the new hair is growing in." She stated he'd just been bathed and some of the bathing supplies left the nose discolored. We accepted this explanation and went directly to a veterinarian in Dallas, who is an outstanding DVM.
He examined the puppy and did note the discoloration on the nose and the skin lesions; he looked for ringworm with a black light but because of the recent scrubbing, there were no scales to fluoresce under the light. We opted to wait on a skin culture, seeing what the skin would do. He gave us an antibiotic for the rhinitis, noting it was probably viral but he didn't want the puppy to get pneumonia.
Within 24 hours, the puppy began to cough, and our world hasn't been the same since. To make a 3 month story short, the puppy developed pneumonia and has required referral to a veterinary internist who specializes in canine pulmonary disease. This has cost us > $2000 in medical bills for the puppy, not including the original cost of the animal. When we had to make a second veterinary appointment within 72 hours of obtaining the dog, I called Ms. [name removed] from the veterinarian's office detailing the situation. From the beginning of our conversation, she was hostile and aggressive, talking over me and continually referring to her "handouts" which are given to new owners; she asked if I was using vaporizer treatments. She informed me that the dog developed pneumonia because I didn't use the vaporizer as instructed when he began to cough. My perspective was that I paid $1000 for the animal: I shouldn't have to use even a suction bulb. I might have even said as much, but because of her aggressive demeanor (talking over me every time I tried to speak), I hardly got a word in edgewise. She exhibited no concern for the animal and said only that the veterinarian and his antibiotics would not help us as the puppy has a virus and "antibiotics don't work against viruses." It was only at this time that I informed her I am an infectious diseases physician, and I know about the use of antimicrobials. She then stated, verbatim, "well then you should know the difference between bacteria and viruses. And if you're trying to impress me, I am not impressed that you are a physician. Your kind let my husband die right in front of my eyes and all the while telling me that everything was OK. If you're going to return the dog, you'd better do it before he's dead." (Of note, I was not involved with her husband's care in any way. I am an Asst. Professor at a medical school in Louisiana; she lives in Texas.) Then she hung up the phone before I could respond. I stood in the veterinary office absolutely speechless. She never contacted me again to see how the puppy fared.
We had the option to return the dog within 72 hours to the breeder should he be ill. I decided I would not return the dog to her, as I was concerned she would only use vaporizer treatments and not give him the needed antimicrobials for the secondary bacterial pneumonia he suffered after his initial respiratory infection (which no doubt resulted from over-crowding at the breeding facility), and he would surely die. Additionally, he was far too sick to be transported back to Ft. Worth from Louisiana late on a Sunday evening. We decided to focus our attention on the dog and worry about the breeder later. The contract I signed said the breeder was not responsible for any medical bills under any circumstances. I assumed this was a standard contract. She does allow for refund of an animal who develops a congenital defect within the first 3 years of its life.
Fortunately, the puppy bounced back and has done well, although he remains on antibiotics now, even 12 weeks later. He gets chest radiographs every few weeks. We are not out of the woods, though, in that if he doesn't resolve the pulmonary infiltrates or begins coughing again, he will need bronchoscopy, another $1000. His course has been complicated by coccidia (an intestinal protozoa) and ringworm, both of which he came with from the breeder. (Of note, my first dog also was infected with coccidia in 1996.) Treating both of these other infections included additional expense, especially the ringworm. And we didn't get it treated before everybody in my home got infected with ringworm: my daughter, me, my husband, my daughter's schoolmates, my babysitter and her son, and my dad. As I write this, I still have a lesion on my shoulder, even though the dog is now well.
Fortunately my husband and I have the resources to care for this animal, although it has not been easy. I worry about the people who put all their money into the purchase price of one of Ms. [name removed]'s animals, then have nothing left to care for a very sick puppy, to which they've begun to love.
I decided to write this review while I was sitting in the vet internists office reading through a dog magazine, and I saw several ads for various puppies through BelKay kennels (Brussels griffons, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Yorkees). This morning, I saw another ad on the web for shih-tzu's. I don't want anyone to have the experience we did, and ALL of these infectious complications could have been prevented through hygienic breeding behaviors.
I can not in good conscience not tell our story. I am willing to accept some responsibility: when I saw the warning signs, I didn't run the other way. I was too overzealous to get a puppy from a breeder who was close in proximity. I didn't want to order a dog by mail. I thought I might "get a sick dog". There are many good breeders out there. If you're reading my review, then you're savvy with the web. Stick to the advice about how to pick a breeder, and run away if the breeders don't behave as expected.
Under no circumstances can I recommend BelKay Kennels or Ms. [name removed] for any animal.
My best wishes for all of you who are searching for a new puppy for your home.
FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- I too have had a bad experience with BelKay kennels. My daughter spent hard earned money at BelKay kennels for what we believed was a full blooded papillon that she wanted to learn to show and do agility with. I asked to see the puppy's parents and were shown two full grown and full blooded papillons. I read the parents names on the contract of the puppy we were buying and called them by that name. They did not respond. Ms. Atherton's son also called them by those names and they did not come. I did not think much of it at the time. He also stated to us that if the puppy is sick that he wants the puppy back and the contract is void if we do not follow the instructions to the letter. One of the instructions was to feed our new puppy buttermilk every other hour (which the vet said "no" too). We asked to see where they kept the puppy, and we were shown a nice room indoors; however, upon leaving, my daughter saw through a gate that there were many crates with many dogs in them. While she was looking through the gate, Ms. Atherton's son got between her and the gate as he tried to escort us off the property. Two days later, our puppy became ill with kennel cough. This was very frightening and costly. As the puppy did not get better after taking medicine and had to return to the vet for chest x-rays and a different round of stronger medicine. Of course, my daughter was attached to her new puppy, and we were not about to give it back for fear of what might happen to it. Now that our "puppy" is a year old, she is obviously not a full blood papillon. She is mixed with another breed. She has the opposite of papillon attributes - she is way too tall, short stringy hair, and her normal weight is 19 pounds. We love our new dog, but felt like BelKay kennels mislead us in telling my daughter that the puppy was full blooded (which the vet and our eyes know otherwise.) She was also sick from being in crowded and unsanitary conditions. Please do not purchase a puppy from this breeder. I know pound puppies are wonderful pets, and next time we are ready for another puppy that is where we will look.
I just returned from the vet with my beautiful Brussels Griffon female that I purchased from Bel-Kay in 1998. She has had several health issues over the past ten years - from coccidia (which all the other reviewers noted) to disc problems and arthritis. The newest issue is an enlarged heart - She has truly been the best dog I ever and when I purchased her I had no idea of what Bel-Kay really was. Now I have to live with the fact that I am going to have to slowly watch my dog die because of the kennels unethical practices and complete disregard for the health and safety of the breeds that they sell!!
Do not buy from this kennel period.