JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Donna Ciomcia owns several pets, but her latest has left her speechless.
In December of 2012 Ciomcia purchased Kennedy, a Cock-a-poo for about $1,000.
"All the paperwork said she was a female," said Ciomcia. "The vet I brought her to said she was a female."
Ciomcia said she was concerned about a kennel cough until she discovered another problem.
"I shaved her down for the summer and I noticed something that looked a little odd in her private parts," she said.
Ciomcia took Kennedy to the vet and was told that her female puppy was a Hermaphrodite.
"She had testicle where her ovaries should have been," she said.
Stunned and overwhelmed she began asking, what are my rights? Who is responsible?
"It was overlooked by the pet store, it was overlooked by the breeder it was overlooked by me," she said.
Dr. Kelly Farrell with First Coast No More Homeless Pets examined Kennedy before she had corrective surgery.
"It is very unusual, a very rare condition that we find," said Farrell.
Dr. Farrell said this kind of abnormality has a direct link to the breeding conditions.
"Usually it is from inbreeding," said Farrell. "An auto recessive gene in the parents."
She said sometimes this kind of defect is not easily detected.
"It is not possible to just look at a puppy and see these defects right on the first exam," she said.
Ciomcia found out under Florida's Pet Lemon law the seller is liable for congenital defects, but has a warning for other consumers.
"Definitely do your research on the breeder before you buy," she said.
How do you check?
Contact the Fla. department of Agriculture:
1-800-435-7352 or www.800helpfla.com
Contact the USDA to find out if the breeder is licensed.
www.aphis.usda.gov or 1-301-851-3751
What is the history with the USDA?
When possible always visit the breeder and inspect the conditions.
Florida's Pet Lemon law,which only covers dogs and cats, reads if a veterinarian certifies the animal unfit for purchase due to a congenital or hereditary disorder within one year of the purchase;
- The consumer has the right to a refund
- The consumer can exchange pet
- The seller has to pay the medical expense for corrective surgery
First Coast News