Troubleshooter: Puppy Problems

DURHAM "When you pick up little puppies, it's like an instant attachment. It's like holding a little baby," she said.

Cutts says the breeder told her the dog was a purebred and promised to send the papers in the mail.

"I've gotten no papers and I was assured she was a registered Yorkie that I would have papers," said Cutts.

Then, at just three months old, the dog's health started going downhill. After several tests, surgeries and hospitalizations, the dog was diagnosed with a liver shunt. That's an abnormal vessel that allows blood to bypass the liver. As a result, the blood is not cleansed properly by the liver and toxins build up in the dog's system.

"Mollie's surgery and vet bills have totaled up to over $4,500 and we're not done," said Cutts.

Cutts contacted breeder Dorothy Goode.

"I sent e-mails and she didn't acknowledge. I sent letters. She didn't respond. I thought I was getting a healthy dog. I thought I was getting a registered dog. I have not gotten either," Cutts claimed.

Cutts eventually talked with Goode, and she said Goode told her to return the dog. But, that's not an option for Paula.

"People ask 'Why didn't you just take her back instead of spending the money?' and I say 'You wouldn't take a baby back and to me she's a baby,'" Cutts explained.

According to the veterinarian who treated the dog, liver shunts are common in Yorkies. The vet said while there is no genetic test right now to test the breeding pair, the puppies can be tested for the disease itself and in her opinion she would not breed dogs that are producing puppies with liver shunts. And that's why Paula's speaking out in hopes of helping other dog lovers.

"The biggest thing for me is that someone else doesn't have to go through the heartache that Mollie and I have had to go through, sleepless nights, not knowing or not if you're baby is going to die," she said.

The breeder Dorothy Goode told Eyewitness News that she has not had any problems involving liver shunts with the other puppies from her previous litters and she doesn't know if she will breed the dog's parents again. She said she has not had them tested to see if they have the disease.

As for the registration papers, Goode said she has them, but since Cutts has harassed her and reported her to several different agencies, she is not willing to send her the papers.

She told us she would send the papers to Eyewitness News, but we have not received them.

Pet experts say it's key to know your breeder and ask lots of questions before buying a purebred Yorkie. You can also have the puppy tested early on to determine if the pup has the disease.

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