At least a half dozen puppies purchased from a booth at the Nappanee Apple Festival two weeks ago have died.
Veterinarians confirm that five of the six have died from Parvovirus.
“I don’t know how many of these puppies were sold outside of our immediate vicinity, but we’d like for people to be aware of it and if they bought a puppy at the Apple Festival that they take the dog to their veterinarian to get it checked out,” said Nappanee Police Chief Julie Dijksma.
The list of victims includes a white “Snorkie” named Pixie, who Nappanee resident Andrea Palenchar instantly fell in love with.
"We ended up taking the puppy right then and there," Palenchar said in a phone interview. "And, we took it home, everything was perfectly fine. She was a good puppy."
But, after a few days, Pixie wasn't able to keep any food or liquid down.
"I gave her a couple pieces of her food cut up," Palenchar said. "She ate it and immediately vomited it up."
After taking Pixie to the vet, the family discovered she had Parvo and Pixie's chances of survival were slim.
"We thought the more humane thing to do was put her down," Palenchar said.
Nappanee resident Rita Bergman was also faced with that tough decision.
She and her husband also bought a "Snorkie" from the booth that resembled their old dog.
"My daughters loved her," Bergman said. "We took her everywhere we went. And, she became part of our family pretty quick."
But, Gidget also became very ill with Parvo.
Bergman's family decided to do what they could to keep her alive, so an IV port was put in her leg.
"Three times a day we had to give her a saline solution with something with a little bit of sugar in it to give her energy," Bergman said.
But, it wasn't enough to save Gidget's life.
She and Pixie are among at least half a dozen cases of Parvo that have resulted in death.
In one case, Chief Dijksma says a new puppy infected the longtime family dog and both animals ended up dying.
“The advice that we’re giving out is if people want to file a complaint that they file a complaint through the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Complaint Division. You can either do that on line or by phone and they will assist you in trying to get your money back. People have not only lost their initial investment of $400 for the puppy, but in many cases, have very costly veterinarian bills as well,” said Chief Dijksma.
The seller was a breeder from Missouri doing business as
Diamond Puppy Palace.
The outfit won’t be welcomed back to the festival next year. In fact, a Facebook posting indicates that the Apple Festival will only allow licensed rescue and adoption groups in the future.
Palenchar says she's made several calls to the breeder, but hasn't received any calls back.
Bergman, on the other hand, says her husband has had several conversations with the breeder who sold them Gidget.
The Missouri woman agreed to refund the couple the $400 they paid for the dog by Friday, but so far they haven't seen any of the money.
Bergman says if they aren't reimbursed, her family will file a civil suit against the breeder.
Anne Rice with the Elkhart County Humane Society today told News Center 16 that when her organization holds a public adoption event, it does not include any dogs under the age of six months.
The Parvovirus vaccine is administered in a series of shots, and that’s how long it takes to ensure that a dog is protected.