Designer Puppies with Defects

PHOTO: FOX 17 News

If you pay $1,700 for a pet dog, you expect it to be healthy, close to perfect. However, some dog owners have contacted Fox 17 News saying their dogs have congenital birth defects and are sick. Now, a Franklin alderwoman is taking steps to stop the sale of sick puppies.

Zeppelin, the German Shepherd, is about to turn two. Owner Daniella Mangiagli says he had continuous diarrhea explaining, “He stuck his butt up and went around in a circle. It was sunken into the floor, in his kennel, in his bowl. It was on the walls. It was horrible.”

Her vet's diagnosis? Mangiagli rattles off a long list and shows us her vet’s letter adding, “He had giardia, coccidia, hookworks, tapeworms, he was anemic and severely under weight. We were told he had been seen by a vet 2 days a week at the store, but I guess they didn't catch any of that so.”

Then, she noticed Zeppelin limping and the vet diagnosed him with hip dysplasia and he’s not even two. Mangiagli adds, “It's congenital. He was born with it.”

She paid $17 hundred dollars for Zeppelin at the Pawfect Puppy Boutique in Franklin and estimates another $3 thousand to keep him alive. Crying, she explains the hardship, “We didn't have money to start with.”

I contacted the owners, who only wanted to release this statement through their attorney. "Since 2016, the Pawfect Puppy has sold hundreds of happy and healthy puppies to families throughout Middle Tennessee. We have always stood behind our store health and congenital birth defect warranty and will continue to do so. We look forward to continuing to operate our family owned business in Williamson County."

Zeppelin's owner says the store owner did offer to replace the dog and re sell him, but she was worried he'd eventually be euthanized because of his defects. Mangiagli explains, “I don't think anybody can take care of him like we can. There was a time we didn't think we could do it anymore. It was affecting our marriage. We had absolutely no money

The store's website reads "We Support Responsible Breeders Only!" However, our Fox 17 News investigation shows at least three of the breeders who supply the Pawfect Puppy have been in trouble with the USDA. First, the Haags in Minnesota which the USDA visited and took these inspection pictures showing breeding conditions and a dog with a noticeable limp available for breeding. Richard Wagler whom the USDA had dogs with eye issues available for breeding and Brennan Kennels in South Dakota. This is the breeder who supplied Maybelline to the Pawfect Puppy---

On Maybelline's Facebook page, you see her seizing up and stumbling. Owners post they've spent at least $13 thousand dollars trying to fix her from a hereditary defect. The USDA at one point cited Brennan Kennels for expired vaccines, expired medicine, and food and bedding storage issues.

Franklin Alderwoman Beverly Burger says, “That is what has been verified to me as well.”

Burger is introducing an ordinance banning pet stores from selling animals from puppy mills. They'd have to come from shelters. Metro Nashville just passed a similar ordinance. Burger explains, “It very well might shut an operation down if it's existing here today, but they also may change their business model to something else.”

Zeppelin's owner plans to push for this ordinance saying just thinking about what they’ve been through with their puppy makes her feel sick.

Burger's ordinance is up for discussion at next Tuesday's Franklin board meeting. She says you can still get the designer puppy you want by going straight to the breeder and seeing the conditions yourself.

If you have any information you’d like to share regarding designer dogs with defects, contact Stacy Case at

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