Thursday, July 15, 2004

My Letter to the Editor is in today's Chronicle Herald!

So they did publish the letter! Here's the link - and since the Herald only keeps the links up for a couple days I made a pdf file of the page (Adobe Acrobat) so you can enjoy it forever. It's at

Here's the text of the original article about Snookums that was in the Chronicle Herald on July 10th, 2004:


Holly Murphy thought she was buying her children a puppy as a grading gift - what they got was a tough life lesson about death.

"This was a family who wanted to love a puppy ... I can't let this puppy die in vain," a tearful Ms. Murphy said.

When Ms. Murphy decided to buy a new Chihuahua for her family, she started her search on the Internet.

She found, an attractive site operated by a Charlottetown pet store, advertising itself as having the largest selection of puppies and kittens in Atlantic Canada.

They also advertise daily in this newspaper.

She paid $775.86 for a puppy and a bag of dog food, plus $35 for delivery.

Late in the evening of July 5, she and her children, along with a few other local families, met Bud Wheatley in a drug store parking lot to pick up their puppies.

Inside the delivery van was about 40 dog cages of various sizes, many containing small dogs, Ms. Murphy said.

She got her dog and signed a contract stating that she was receiving a healthy puppy.

She says Mr. Wheatley warned her that dogs sometimes contract kennel cough during transport.

That night, she slept with the tiny 2.6-pound puppy, which her children named Trooper, on her chest.

"He was so restless and kind of heaving. I couldn't get him to eat anything or try to drink anything."

That was the only night the puppy spent in the Murphys' home.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Ms. Murphy took Trooper to the vet.

The veterinarian told Ms. Murphy that the little Chihuahua was severely dehydrated and very ill.

Wednesday night, she took the puppy to the emergency animal hospital in Burnside where he received a total of three plasma transfusions.

"We were trying to buy him enough time so that his own immune system would kick in," Ms. Murphy said.

During the day, he was treated at Ms. Murphy's vet's clinic. At night, he went to the emergency animal clinic in Burnside.

Ms. Murphy and her children ferried the little dog back and forth until he died.

On Friday morning at 7 a.m., she picked Trooper up at the Burnside clinic and drove him to Eastern Passage Village Veterinary Clinic.

"I just knew he wasn't going to make it and then the vet called me around 9:30 a.m."

The vet wanted permission to put Trooper down - he was oozing fluid from his nose and was in pain.

"It was like he hung on long enough to see us this morning," she said, her voice breaking.

"We went into his treatment in hopes that we could save him," said Trooper's vet, Dr. Lesley Steele.

Forensic work is now being done by an independent veterinary clinic in the area to determine the exact cause of Trooper's death, Dr. Steele said.

However, because of the small dog's symptoms, Dr. Steele believes Trooper died from a virus, likely parvo or korona, both of which are highly contagious in canines.

She also suspects his condition may have been complicated by kennel cough, another highly contagious dog disease.

Ms. Murphy says she spoke with Mr. Weatley several times about Trooper's illness. He suggested she have the dog put down.

"At what point are you going to be practical and stop letting your emotions rule you?," she says he asked her.

She said at one point he offered to pay for the dog's care up to the sum she paid for him.

When reached Friday night, Mr. Wheatley said he wasn't willing to hand over any money without proof the puppy got sick at Snookums.

"We sold a healthy puppy, it became sick and we don't know why," he said.

"All the other puppies are doing fine," he added, referring to the other pets he delivered that evening.

When asked if he's had similar experiences with other puppies he's sold, Mr. Wheatley responded with a question of his own.

"How many puppies do you think we sell in a year?" he asked.

"Thousands. So obviously some of those puppies are going to get sick and some are going to die."

He said it was "unfortunate" that the puppy had to be put down but he still insists it wasn't his fault.

Trooper was the family's second Chihuahua. They also have 1 1/2year-old Mika, purchased from a local pet store.

Although Mika was also sick when Ms. Murphy bought her, the store paid for the dog's medicine and the puppy got better.

As of Friday, Ms. Murphy had paid about $1,000 in veterinarian bills for the Snookumspets puppy.

She'd like Mr. Wheatley to return the money she paid for Trooper and to pay the cost of his care.

Trooper's sad tale is of little surprise to Judith Gass, president of the Nova Scotia SPCA.

"Quite frankly, any time you buy from an organization that has a number of animals, there is a possibility that they can come down with parvo or any other virus," Ms. Gass said.

Pet stores and Internet pet retail businesses only add to the over-population of pets and support puppy mills and disreputable backyard breeders, she said.

She would rather people get their pets from shelters and rescue operations and pointed out that Nova Scotia has a Chihuahua rescue network.

People who want to buy a specific breed of puppy should find a reputable breeder, Ms. Gass said.

In Ms. Murphy's case, she vows Trooper was the last dog she'll ever buy from a pet store.

Meanwhile, the Better Business Bureau Web site reports that Mr. Wheatley's operation has a satisfactory record with them.

The head of The Chronicle Herald's advertising department says the paper does not endorse Mr. Wheatley's pet operation.

"We can't be expected to endorse or warrant every product that runs in our newspaper," Mike Foran said.

"We take all ads in good faith, but if a business is knowingly defrauding the public, we are not going to run their ads."


  1. Anonymous1:58 PM

    It is my recollection that Mr. Wheatley indeed sells sick aninmals..usually has kennel cough or provo disease..he wont return any m oney to anyone..He also says some of his breeds r purebreed when they arent. REcently a dog was purchased going to capre breton, the dog was taken to a local vet and treated for provo virus..almost died..but did make it with veternarian care. when contacted he said it was just stress, and that the vet didnt know what they were talking about. Buyers beware of Bud Wheatley of Snookums Pets...get your pet from a reputable breeder, make sure it is vacinated against disease..Pet stores kennels r crawling with provo virus and kennel cough..

  2. Anonymous4:16 AM

    I just bought a dog from Bud a couple weeks ago. She is part goldenretriever/party chocolate lab. We were so excited because she is our first dog. My five year old brother named her SammyJ. When we bought SammyJ we had no idea who Bud was. We didnt know he used to own Snookums which was shutdown since their animals began dying. As soon as we brought SammyJ home she was not right. Everytime she used the bathroom, her poop was really runny.. and it was also bloody. Right away after we found out who Bud was we took her to the vet. She said SammyJ had coccidia. A infection in her bowels. He had taken her to a vet a couple of times before we got her, and mustve known that she was sick. But he didnt tell us. She is only 3months old and I hate having to give her the pills everyday. He should not be able to sell animals. He disgusts me and should be shutdown.

  3. Anonymous1:27 AM

    He has lawyer's that prevent the local SPCA from doing ther job and they have passed the problem to the "board of aggriculture". They standards are low, but even so... the fact that his brother is on the board..... helps him be a the biggest puppy mill in eastern Canada. He pays low income families in NS,PE,NB and NFLD to do the "back yard breeding and then takes the puppies WAY TO EARLY to the shop and ships them out from there!

  4. Anonymous11:02 AM

    My parents purchased a 5 month old sheltie we called Maggie from Bud Wheatley, running his business as Puppies Across Canada and when we recieved her she we noticed right away that was having lose poops and bleeding out her rectum. Maggie was also throwing up after some of her meals. I took her to our vet. I called Mr. Wheatley and he told me the dog might have Giardia Parasie, also known as Beaver Fever. I asked him how my puppy would have gotten that, since he sold my parents a healthy dog. He told me it could be from my own water supply. I live in a big town and our water comes from the towns water treatment plan, so this did not seem possable. He then told me to go to the farm supply store and my medication that they gave to cows. My vet put the puppy on medication and we had to put the dog on a Canine Nutrition Supplement. I called Mr. Wheatly and told him that I had about $700 in vet bills and the dog had only been in my home 1 month and he told me he would not help me pay for them, because I used my vet to treat Maggie and did not give my puppy the cow medication he wanted me too. My parents also called and he told them too bad for them and me. Maggie still is not one hundred percent and she is 10 months and she still has days where she is sick for no reason and my vet said she will probable always be like this because her digestive track was damaged as suck a young age. I was glad to hear that the Department of Agriculture took his animals away from him last week October 2009 and they are investigating him. This is not going to help me with my medical cost or anyone else, but at least he has been stopped.

  5. Anonymous7:53 PM

    OMG! I just verily seen all this stuff about Mr. Bud Wheatley... I bought a little dog, and he insisted that she eat corn syrup once in the morning and once at night, just to keep her from dying because he insisted that her sugars would go low if we didn't... sure enough one morning I woke up and the poor little thing was covered in her own pee seizuring on the floor... I immediately called him and he said he nursed her back to health, and he seemed awful worried.. obviously this is a common thing for all the people who bought puppies for this man! Someone STOP HIM! Animal creulty is all it is... he cannot defend himself! What a crooked man? Can't he do something else for a living than live off of poor little puppies that he sells for quite cheap prices.. and LIFETIME EMERGENCY care?

  6. Anonymous6:38 PM

    I use to work there, and it is true. His brother and the lax standards are the reason he gets away with it. All the Golden Ret. puppies he had where sick with parvo. His phone was ringing off the hook and he told us not to answer it. He also kept the dead bodies of puppies and kittens in a freezer in the basement so he could "bring them back to the breeder" for a refund. But his "foreman" got drunk and told me it was his job to get rid of em.