(WJBK) - A woman says she was duped by a pet store chain and was sold a very sick dog.
To walk into Petland at 12 Oaks Mall you might not realize anything is wrong. It's after you spend thousands of dollars with a pet and fall in love with it, that the problems begin.
"Every time I'm in 12 Oaks and I walk past there it is full with people just like me who have no idea that these dogs are sick," said Ashlee Weisbarth.
You can't help but be lured by these adorable puppies. It's what happened to Ashlee Weisbarth and her husband.
She was looking for a Labrador Retriever when she found Bigby, a sale sign on his cage Novi Petland.
"(I said) I'm not leaving without that dog or I'm calling the police and they are going to take that dog because I wasn't comfortable with him being crammed in that crate," Weisbarth said.
They paid $1,800 for him and he quickly became like a child to the newlyweds. It wasn't until several months later an employee at Bigby's doggy daycare noticed something was wrong.
"They said he's just really lethargic, you might want to take him to the vet, he is not doing well," Weisbarth said.
"my husband picked him up and they said he's lethargic you might want to take him in."
They rushed him to the vet where they found he had a congenital disorder in his kidneys. And within 24 hours Bigby had to be put down.
"It was like we lost a member of our family," she said. "It was horrible."
The Petland Warranty Department told Ashlee she could have a quote "replacement dog" she declined and called attorney Jennifer Measel, known for taking on pet operations.
"I just became known in the puppy circles as the person to go to, if there was no one else," Measel said.
More than a dozen people are now suing Novi Petland with similar horror stories - animals suffering from congenital disorders that cut their lives short.
"Congenital meaning this happened because of inbreeding and overbreeding at the source of where the dogs are coming from," Measel said.
Measel said Petland gets their dogs from brokers in states like Kansas, Missouri and Ohio. She calls it the puppy mill belt.
"What is being sold to the public as a pedigreed champion bloodline dog is a dog being bread in warehouse-like conditions," Measel said.
Measel says she wants to get Petland and other places like it shut down.
FOX 2 was not able to get in contact with the owner of Petland but we are told he plans to fight this lawsuit.
"You pull back the curtain," Measel said. "And it's an abysmal nightmare for these animals that are bread over and over again."
Measel is looking for more customers who may have had issues with pets sold at Petland. She can be reached at (248) 702-6550.