Wimauma couple bought sick puppy at facility where over 300 dogs seized

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Wimauma couple who bought their puppy from a pet resort where over 300 dogs were seized this week is grateful their dog is okay, despite the fact she was sold to them when she was ill.

Debbie and Dennis Schroedter bought “Abby,” who is allegedly a Malti-Poo, at Trish’s All Breed Grooming in February.

They were looking for a companion puppy for their 13-year-old Maltese after losing another dog.

The couple saw the breeder in a newspaper and went to check it out.

“As we pulled in, I had told my wife, ‘you go in and see if we even want to go in and look at any dogs.’ And she came back out and said, ‘well why don’t you come in and see what you think,’” said Dennis. “I came in. And it was not a real pleasant place to be in. Tons of dogs in cages and little puppies in cages that looked like they were on their last leg and so forth.”

Despite the conditions, they laid eyes on Abby and decided to buy her.

The couple was working with a woman who introduced herself to them as “Trish,” but others at the facility told them her name was Alice.

An Alice Holt was named as an associate of the facility’s owner, Robert Royers, in a court order this week. 8 On Your Side has not been able to confirm if the couple was speaking to the same Alice.

Alice told the Schroedters they could pick up the dog the next day after a facility veterinarian checked her out.

Debbie and Dennis still took Abby to their own vet.

“Basically, he found that she had ear mites and parasites in her feces and also dry eye. And we said, ‘well, is she savable?’ At that point. And he said, ‘well, you do have paperwork that you could take her back,’” explained Dennis. “And we said, ‘we won’t take her back there. If it’s that bad, we’ll just have to put her down.’ ‘Cause it just was not a place…that we would recommend to any of our friends.”

Abby also had kennel cough and the vet bills piled up. Debbie believes they spent between $500 and $600 getting the dog better.

“It took about a month or two. We had to keep bringing her back and had to give her medicine. She was on antibiotics and she was on something for the eyes and the ear mites and she got several shots and she got to be a very expensive pound puppy!” Debbie said.

The couple also alleged Alice told them she did not have the dogs checked out by a vet until they were purchased.

“She said they didn’t get released for sale until somebody actually came in and bought them and then the vet would come because of the expense,” Debbie said.

The couple saw the reports this week that 340 dogs were seized from the location at 2501 East Diana Street.

“I was shocked when I saw it on TV. We were watching the news and I said ‘oh my god that’s it, that’s the place we got her,'” said Debbie. “We would not have recommended the place to anyone else after what we saw. But all the dogs she had in the back we never saw. We only saw the few she had in the cages inside. So we didn’t know that she had hundreds of dogs back there.”

The Schroedters have some advice for others who may be a little suspicious of who or where they are buying their dogs from.

“You know, once you go in and like I say as soon as we saw her, you’re not going to leave without her, one way or the other,” said Dennis. “I’d recommend that if you drive up to a place and it looks like this place looked, don’t even go in, ‘cause again, your heart’s going to lead you to taking the dog just to take the dog out of there if nothing else.”

The couple is not 100 percent sure Abby is a Malti-Poo, but they’re happy with whatever she is.

A court order issued this week bans the business owner, Robert Royers, from owning pets in Hillsborough County.

The 340 seized dogs were taken to the Pet Resource Center, but are currently not on display to the public for at least 30 days while Royers has a chance to appeal to a judge.

The Pet Resource Center is asking folks to consider adopting the dogs they have in the shelter now, as they are above capacity, or to consider making a donation.

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