LONG ISLAND — The Golden Retriever puppies advertised by Long Island breeder Doreen Kehoe cost up to $1,800 dollars. For that price you’d expect a healthy dog.
That’s what Veronica Theodorakis and her husband thought they were getting last year when they went to Kehoe’s Locust Valley, Long Island home. They picked out a puppy they named Mick, after Mickey Mantle.
“But after a day or two, the dog stopped eating and then started walking in circles," Theodorakis said.
Mick had a seizure at home, and six more at the animal hospital.
“They determined he had to be put down" Theodorakis said. "He had lesions in his brain. He was severely damaged.”
The breeder promised she would return the $1,600 purchase price, but she never did.
Veronica took her to court and won a judgment for the purchase price, plus the cost of the vet bills. But nine months later, she’s still waiting for payment. She sent the Nassau County Sheriff to Kehoe’s home to collect.
“He said she answered the door and said Doreen didn’t live there," Theodorakis said.
Kathy David had a similar experience last year when she saw Kehoe’s ad in Newsday. She bought a Golden Retriever puppy she named Gracie. However, just like Mick, Gracie became very sick very quickly. She too was diagnosed with a neurological disease and suffered from seizures.
David got in touch with Kehoe, who claimed the vet had overmedicated the dog.
“She said 'I’m not taking the dog back. Don’t bring that dog here,'" David recalled.
Gracie was put down after only three weeks and Kehoe refused to refund the $1,800 purchase price or any of the $3,000 in vet bills.
“She told me not to contact her anymore,"David said.
She plans to sue Kehoe.
On Goldenretrieverforum.com, there are other complaints from people who say Kehoe, who also uses the name Rebecca McCabe, sold them dogs that turned out to be sick. The president of Long Island Golden Retriever Rescue says Kehoe is an “irresponsible breeder," who should not be allowed to sell dogs.
However, Kehoe does not need a breeder’s license. The New York State licensing law exempts breeders who raise and sell fewer than 25 dogs a year from their home.
We confronted Kehoe at an animal clinic in Bayville, Long island where she boards some of her puppies. She would not address the allegations against her of selling sick dogs, except to say “everything is hearsay."
How about the numerous unpaid court judgments against her? She had no comment.
If you’ve got a story for me, send an email to email@example.com.