Michael wrote us in about his experience trying to buy an expensive, pure-bred bulldog pup from Sharon and Mitchell Hipsley of Bulldogs of Ft. Mountain. When he approached the breeders for a small male bulldog pup, he was quoted a price of $1650 per pup. But when Michael tried to close the deal, the breeders claimed that they’d been hit by a financial emergency relating to the death of one of the breeder’s mother and so they were only going to be able to sell him the pup for $2500. Michael is wondering what he can do to get the pup at the original price.
We’re going to give our opinion before the email: why not save your $2500 and go to the pound and get a puppy for free? We don’t want to appear flip, but we do have a hard time putting the purchase of a $2500 or even $1650 purebred in perspective when there are thousands of puppies out there waiting to be loved, who cost nothing and who are facing euthanization.
As for Bulldogs of Ft. Mountain, granted, it’s extremely crappy of them to raise the price on you after a verbal agreement has been struck, and you probably do have legal recourse. But our impression of the email they sent you was that it had the rambling, awkward quality of someone who was telling the truth and really was hard-up for cash due to personal misfortune. That doesn’t excuse a breached deal, of course, but we’d leave legal action out of it and content ourselves with not giving them our business.
Perhaps we’re off base here, perhaps we don’t understand the world of dog breeding or the types of people who want to own incredibly expensive pure-bred when a mutt will be just as devoted and lavish you with just as much love. We’re not making a judgment call… we just don’t get it. But when the solution is to get a dog for free and simply not to bother suing a couple of people who appear to have had a rough few months, we think that’s the path to take.
Michael’s email after the jump:
Dog Breeders go from the range of Salt of the Earth to Horrible Bastards from hell.
The Horrible Bastard end of the spectrum is filled up with people who run puppy mills. Puppy mills churn out animals with little care for their health or breeding. Many pet stores are supplied from these abhorrent places.
Sharon and Mitchell Hipsley aren’t in that horrible group, but the fact they appear to treat their dogs well does not excuse their appaling business practices.
On March 27th, my Fiancee and I started communicating with them via email about their new litter. They wrote back (apologies for the formatting, that is theirs):
“Dear Alexa. I’ve attached Pictures of the Pups. 5 Females and 4 Males and one of the whole litter. The Prices are $1500.00 for the Females and $1650.00 for the Males. These prices are only for the People who contacted us before the Pups were born. Advertising costs drive up the prices if we have to sell them through our Web Site. You are 2nd on our list, but first come first served. These Pups are so fat. Nemo sure took her time to make sure they were well done before she had
them. It was a very long weekend, because she was due on the 23rd. Sincerely. Mitchell & Sharon Bulldogs of Ft. Mountain. “
We discussed getting the smallest male from them (over the phone). We offered to give them a deposit, to which they said “None is necessary”. We emailed and called them repeatedly on the weekend of the 27th of April (the puppies were due to be ready to go home the 6th of May). They repeatedly did not pick up, and did not answer email.
On Monday, I called them from a different number and Mitchell picked up. He told me about their wonderful puppies for sale, and then I explained to him that I was the fiance of the woman he’d been speaking to. He then quickly got quiet, and then said “My wife deals with all the internet stuff, and is asleep. She’ll call you back by tonight”.
She didn’t. The following day, I emailed her about which puppy I wanted. (Listed on the website, (http://www.bulldogsofftmountain.com/) as Spike. She then wrote back to me.
“Dear Alexa. You told me that you wanted the smallest Male Pup. Well that Pup died. I wish that the Pup had lived and you would have a Pup. Sharon’s Mother was diagnosed with Malignant Lymphoma, We had to Pay Uncle Sam, We had 2 Bulldogs that needed Surgery. So in other words if we don’t get what prices we put on our Bulldogs we will no longer be Breeding Bulldogs. All I can say is I’m sorry and that this is the first time this has happened to us. I will give you a Discount on any Female Pup, but the Males I have to get what we’re asking for them. If you will get in touch with Karla Lowe at Ridgetop Bulldogs,. I’m sure she will have a Pup in your price range. Her E-mail is Pupluv@catt.com. We have used some of her Males for Stud Service at our Kennel. She has 30 Bulldogs and she taught me how to Breed Bulldogs. She’s a really great Breeder. She is only about 30 minutes North of our Kennel. If you are willing to pay the $2500.00 we have on Spike we’ll sell him to you. Some time things happen that we have no control over. And this is one of those times. We make our Living Breeding Bulldog and Chinese Sharpeis. I will give you the Pick of the Litter on Gordy’s Litter. Bubba will be the Sire of the Litter. Our Chinese Sharpeis are priced from $900.00 to $1500.00 and Sharpeis take care of their own Pups. No 24/7 Care No Artificial Inseminations, No C-Sections, No Feeding the Pups every 3 hours for a Month Then every 4 hours after 4 weeks old. We sold 3 of our Adult Bulldogs last year and bought 3 more Chinese Sharpeis and eventually we are going to get out of Bulldog Breeding. The Male Pups are of Stud Quality, because of Bubba’s Pedogree.We get $500.00 for Stud Service on Bubba and Dozier and Spike will also get $500.00 a Breeding. We live from Litter to Litter with the Bulldogs. One Litter pays for the next Litter. You can Stud a Bulldog out at 14 months old. I’m trying to open some doors for you. Most any other Bulldog Breeders wouldn’t even try to help no matter what the situation. They sell their Pups to who ever they choose. That’s the best we can do for you at this time. Sharon and I are so very sorry , but this litter will either make us or break us. And Sharon doesn’t need any more pressure put in her a this time when her Mother is battling for her life. She’s 79 years old. Again we are so sorry. Mitchell & Sharon.”
What recourse do I have? I’m not sure it’s wise to spend an extra $850 on an already expensive dog, especially when we have an offer in writing to sell us “2nd pick of the litter”. Especially when their reasonings goes: We knew the risks, then decided to attempt to raise the price on you when one of the risks happened, even though we didn’t state we’d do that if the risk happened, and besides, we don’t even LIKE doing this.
Are they contractually home free as they didn’t take any deposit?
Other than warn others about their untrustworthyness, what can I do?
What do you guys think? Any advice for Michael?
UPDATE: On 4/3/07, Mitchell Hipsley of Bulldogs of Ft. Mountain writes:
I’m the owner of Bulldogs of Ft. Mountain. I was very offended that your Web Site would allow someone to place a complaint against our Kennel without even knowing the circumstances of the complaint. Weather you know it or not is your Company can be sued by me for publishing this story without checking the validity of the compliant with me. I checked it out with my Lawyer who happens to own two of my English Bulldogs. Seems Michael is still fuming over the loss of getting one of our Pups. What I told him was the truth. He stated that he wanted the smallest Female Bulldog out of the Litter and that “Female” was the runt and it died. That’s not all that unusual with any runt in Purebred Canines. When I told Mike that the Pup had died he wanted me to sell him a “MALE ENGLISH BULLDOG” for the $1650.00 that I had quoted him. The Male Pup was $2500.00. He harassed me so much that I finally had had enough of his squalling. When he cursed my Wife over the Phone that was the straw that broke the camels back. If Mike would have received one of our Pups he’d be singing the praises of the Healthy AKC English Bulldog that he got from our Kennel. I wish this guy would just grow up, but to me it seems like he’s been spoiled and didn’t get his way. That’s what a Child does. Not a Mature Adult. Anybody who has never Bred English Bulldogs should just research the breed before making any uneducated suggestions to any Bulldog Breeder. If you would read in the article I reffered him to another Bulldog Breeder to see if she had any Female Pups at the price he was looking for. Any Bulldog Breeder knows that this is the most difficult Canine to Breed. The cost of just having a Litter is enormous. Mike had never been to our Kennel. My Kennel is in good standings with the AKC and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. You can check it out yourself. I tried to help Mike out but he blew his chance of ever getting one of our Bulldogs. I’m the one who makes the decision on who gets one of our Pups or who doesn’t. That’s what all Professional Breeders do. In fact some Breeders make you fill out an application to get one of their English Bulldog Pups. My Kennel is very well known because of all the Bulldog Pups that we have sold all over the United States. Our Canines receive the absolute best care. I’ve placed Pups with clients in The Government, but I won’t and can’t mention their names. It seems that some of the People who gave their opinion where on my side. So let Mikey cry all by himself. I hold no animosities with your company, you were just plain lied to. I just wish that you would have taken the time to research the compliant with me and heard the real truth. I always sell every one of my Pups and as far as my Mother in Law goes, she’s fighting for her life. She’s not dead as Mike said. I would appreciate you posting my side of the story. You just can’t please every body no matter how hard you try. I’m a small business Man and I’m proud of our Kennel and our Canines. I hope that Mike gets his turn at Breeding English Bulldogs. Then he will realize that he was spitting into the wind. I’m a devoted Animal Lover and anyone who wrote a suggestion on that article is free to visit our Kennel anytime. So I’ve wasted my time to dealing with a Child instead of an Adult. Sincerely. Mitchell Hipsley, Bulldogs of Ft. Mountain.