Rimbey area dog breeders shocked by puppy abuse story

  • Feb. 16, 2010 8:00 p.m.


A chance reading of an Edmonton-based daily newspaper has left a Rimbey area couple with plenty of questions following the news that one of their Doberman puppies had been abused and abandoned at a Calgary veterinary hospital.

“We advertise them for sale and the buyer read the ad. We met them in Red Deer and they bought two puppies from us,” said Paul Johnson who breeds Dobermans with his wife Elaine. “I picked up a paper from Edmonton and showed my wife the story and it was within the timeline that we had sold the dog.”

Mr. Johnson immediately called the DAISY Foundation, a shelter in Calgary that cares for abused and abandoned animals, and the Calgary Humane Society. As a result, an officer called back and a short time later visited the Johnsons’ and took DNA samples from both of the abused puppy’s parents. However through the process of elimination, the couple already knew exactly who was responsible.

“We’ve been very lucky doing this. This is the first incident that we’ve had and anybody who has bought these Dobermans are usually pretty good people,” said Mrs. Johnson when asked if the new buyers had been screened. “We did observe them with other dogs. When they came to pick the pups up, they had four other dogs with them and all the dogs were in really good shape and were all socialized with humans. They reacted well with humans and didn’t show any fear and you kind of go by that. You kind of think that these people must be ok because of the way that they’re treating these other dogs, and we took that into consideration.”

Since taking the DNA samples on Jan. 11, the investigating officer has since sent the samples to a laboratory in California, the only lab in western North America capable of testing animal DNA.

As for the puppy itself, it is expected to make a full physical recovery however it still has a long way to go.

“The puppy is in a foster home and as far as we know, the puppy is doing good,” said Mr. Johnson.

“It’s doing well but it is traumatized,” added his wife. “They don’t know whether or not the puppy is going to be totally rehabilitated. His physical injuries will heal, but the trauma was significant.”

Despite the setback, the Johnson’s said they’ll continue to breed Dobermans periodically and will be much more thorough when dealing with prospective buyers.

“When we sell a dog now the buyer will need references and we do a lot more of a background check,” Mrs. Johnson said. “We’re a lot more careful now but we were careful before. When we met these people, their dogs were all healthy, they were all well groomed and well socialized and you think that this is going to be okay. Usually, we’re fairly good judges of character but we really messed up on this one and we feel that way because it obviously went wrong.”

With a selling price of $600, the Johnsons’ were at a loss for words trying to deduce why someone would pay such a fee for an animal simply to abuse and abandon it.

“It just boggles my mind as to why someone would put that money out. If I’m going to buy something, I’m going to take care of it. I don’t understand it,” wondered Mrs. Johnson. “What can you say? You read the story; you look at the timeline and right away suspect that this could be your dog.

“When you raise an animal you are always hopeful that it will do well and you check back with people and every other dog has a good home, is doing well and everyone’s happy with them and people are referring others to us for a puppy. So to have this happen, it makes you question what you’re doing, but there are so many other positives out there that you keep going. But this one is just beyond comprehension.”

The DAISY Foundation was formed in Oct. of 2006 following the horrific case of animal abuse imposed on a dog by the name of Daisy Duke, which was severely beaten and dragged behind a truck. Due to the traumatic injuries the dog incurred, it was immediately euthanized by a veterinarian.

In that case, Daniel Charles Haskett, who was 19 years of age at the time, and a 17-year-old youth were charged under the Criminal Code with injuring or endangering an animal and causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, as well as obstructing police.

Daisy Duke was the family pet of the Haskett family of Didsbury.