Last week a woman told me she adopted a dog from Scalawaggles Pet Rescue that had kennelcough and tapeworm.
She’s the second person who told me she adopted a sick dog from this rescue.
The other was Kayla Hanus. She told me she adopted a puppy with bronchopneumonia from Scalawaggles. The rescue eventually reimbursed her for roughly half of the $1400 she spent on vet care that saved his life.
The woman who contacted me recently said she and her husband adopted a cute 2-year-old mutt named Benny from Scalawaggles last December. According to her, Benny was “very skinny, reeked of urine, and was shedding pretty badly” at the adoption event.
BENNY HAD KENNEL COUGH AND TAPEWORM
As she and her husband left with Benny, Scalawaggles founder Sherry Halfon told her, “oh he might have been exposed to kennel cough, so we gave him a bordetella vaccine to be safe but he doesn’t have any symptoms.”
No reputable dog rescue would ever adopt out a dog that could have kennel cough. It would wait until it was sure the dog was healthy.
Within two hours of arriving at his new home, Benny “was hacking terribly, almost non stop.” Since the incubation period for kennel cough is about a week, Halfon most likely knew he had it when the couple adopted him.
A couple of days later the woman noticed white eggs in Benny’s stool. A vet exam showed that Benny had “an advanced case of tapeworm.” Benny was also infested with fleas.
BENNY INFECTED BEFORE ADOPTION
The incubation period for tapeworm after a dog ingests an infected flea is about 2-4 weeks. The vet also said he had an advanced case of tapeworm.
This means Benny could not have been infected after his adoption. It also means Scalawaggles probably never took him in for a vet check in Washington before the couple adopted him.
Benny also infected their other dog with kennel cough. They paid over $500 for a vet to treat the dog and monitor it for pneumonia.
BENNY NOT HOUSEBROKEN, HAD ANXIETY PROBLEMS
Benny had other problems that Halfon didn’t reveal to the adopters. She told them Benny was “90% housebroken” and only had “1-2” accidents in the 6 weeks the rescue had him.
But Benny was not housebroken. Not even close. He repeatedly peed on their carpet, rugs, and bed.
Eventually the couple had to leash him in the house or put him in his crate to prevent him from peeing everywhere.
Benny’s adopter also said he suffered from extreme anxiety:
“…I don’t believe for a second that this dog was inside a house while he was in their care for that 6 weeks. He was terrified of walking in or out of the kennel. He refused to go through any doorway regardless if it was inside or outside. We’d have to pick him up and carry him from room to room or nudge him through the doorways. (He eventually figured it out and started going through on his own). He was unable to walk on a leash. He was afraid of every noise in the house, everything from the dishwasher, to water running in the sink, to the vacuum going. This seems highly unusual if he’d spent the last 6 weeks inside a house, where these are everyday sounds.”
Benny’s uncontrollable urination and extreme anxiety eventually took a toll on his adopters. After about 6 weeks they returned him to Scalawaggles.
ADOPTERS TAKE FINANCIAL HIT
Benny ended up costing his adopters much more than his $400 adoption fee. They spent about $800 in medical bills for Benny and their dog that he infected. They spent another $250 to remove the urine stains/smell in their house.
Scalawaggles eventually gave them a $400 reimbursement, so they ended up losing $1000.
Adopting out sick dogs isn’t a new problem for Scalawaggles. I first heard about it in this email I received last June:
“There have been reports of Scalawaggles Pet Rescue adopting out sick pets. They have been known to have adopted out puppies with parvo in the past. They had an adoption event at the Benson Pet Pros in Renton 2 weeks ago and there have been pups that tested positive for kennel cough. One pup ended up with pneumonia. Sherry Halfon is the Founder and Director of this organization. There’s a rumor that she is running more of a puppy mill than a rescue.”
Ironically, the daughter of Benny’s adopters also got a sick dog from Scalawaggles:
“My daughter adopted a young dog a few months ago from there. The dog was extremely skinny,
reeked of urine, her hair was falling out, and she had kennel cough, who in turn gave it to my daughter’s other dog. I didn’t realize this had happened with my daughter’s dogs, until after we adopted a dog from there, about 6 weeks ago and I mentioned it to her.”
SCALAWAGLES RESCUE MUST STOP SELLING SICK DOGS
Most shady rescues with this problem bring in dogs from other states and adopt them quickly without medical exams or behavior assessments.
These dogs usually travel to Washington either together in crates or in close proximity to each other. One sick dog can infect all the other dogs on a transport, so the potential problems they cause can increase exponentially.
These dogs suffer needlessly from untreated health/behavior problems. Other dogs suffer when they contract contagious pathogens from these sick dogs. Adopters suffer financially by paying thousands of dollars for vet care Scalawaggles didn’t provide. They suffer emotionally because they must address the dog’s unexpected health and/or behavior problems and, in some cases, make the tough decision of returning the dog to a rescue.
The day after Benny’s adopters returned him to Scalawaggles, Halfon brought him to an adoption event to sell to another unsuspecting person. He’s still listed on their website with no mention of his anxiety and peeing problems.
Halfon and McGriff must stop recklessly bringing sick dogs into Washington and selling them to unsuspecting adopters. If they don’t, adopters will continue to rack up thousands of dollars in vet bills for treating the sick dogs they adopt. Their dogs will also continue to infect other dogs and needlessly suffer from untreated health problems.