Riley Peterson and Wesley Goldwater are a College Station couple who recently lost their beloved puppy, Kona, only six weeks after they bought her from Puppy Station at Post Oak Mall. They are pictured in this cover photo.
Riley stated in a public Facebook post, "my puppy Kona was 12 weeks old. She had coccidia, where the vet said she probably got from the breeder. We treated it (after a $900 vet bill), and no more than 2 weeks later we were back today. The vet said she had distemper virus. Kona was about to have her last round of shots. The vet said she got it from the puppy station, and there has [sic] been multiple outbreaks within the past month, of different puppies being diagnosed with distemper."
We at the Odyssey at Texas A&M offer our most sincere condolences to Riley and Wesley for their loss.
Personally, I am not content to let the matter rest and felt I had to use my platform to speak out against Puppy Station.
As a freshman, I was told by upperclassmen that visiting Puppy Station is for sure a bucket list item in College Station. "For $0.25, you can hold a puppy for as long as you want!" they gushed. It sounded like a blast, so I rounded up a group of people I met at Impact, my New Student Conference, and History 105, and we hopped on Bus 27 out to the mall. The puppies were adorable, but my stomach felt a little queasy when I looked around. The puppies were clearly exhausted and anxious from being manhandled all day. There was only one inattentive employee collecting quarters and the cages were so very small, not that any puppies occupied them at the moment because they were all being held. I never went back because I didn't feel right about it.
Since reading Riley and Wesley's story, and those of others, I have come to believe strongly that no one should go back to Puppy Station.
1. Puppy Station is accused of sedating its puppies in order to profit from them.
Says u/sunclays on Reddit, "I won't be supporting puppy station at Post Oak mall anymore...I used to love going there and petting puppies, but last time I went, we were petting a cocker spaniel. He was really excited and energetic, and he was biting my hand but it didn't hurt, he was just playing. They asked us to borrow him back for a minute, and they took him for a few minutes and came back and there was blood on the back of his neck, and he was much calmer. I think they use sedatives on the dogs. It was really weird and I was wondering if anyone else has had this experience? I can't support pay-to-pet shelters if that's how they treat their animals." *Emphasis added by me.*
How sickening is it to inject an innocent puppy with some gross medication in order to make it woozy and docile enough to be exploited for profit?
2. Puppy Station is accused of lying to new owners about where puppies came from.
In this screenshot, someone called the "breeders" of a particular puppy and found that they are not, nor have they ever been, puppy breeders. What the owner of Puppy Station did was buy a puppy under unknown circumstances, find a random name and phone number, and then lie and say the random name was the breeder; rather than admit he had no idea where the puppy came from.
3. Puppy Station is totally unhygienic and dirty.
The photo depicts a cramped office space with shredded newspaper, garbage, and dirt on the floor.
Here are real photos posted by Riley Peterson in a local Facebook group. In her post, she says, "I am going to post pictures that I have received (from a former employee) of the conditions of this store. This is REAL PICTURES AND VIDEOS." I can only show one per item in this article, but you can see the rest here without having to join the Facebook group.
4. The owner is accused of being a liar.
KBTX, a local news station, did a story on Puppy Station featuring Riley, Wesley, and Kona. In their attempt to be fair to the owner, Thomas Lindsey, they unwittingly gave him an opportunity to dig himself in deeper. The article states, "Lindsey says this is the first time since they opened in 2013 there's been an outbreak like this."
But the locals say he's lying. Says a group member on Riley's post in Texas A&M Free and For Sale, "That news thing where he said they've never had an outbreak like this is BS because they were CLOSED for a parvovirus incident 3.5 years ago".
5. Puppy Station is accused of obtaining puppies in sketchy transactions that literally resemble drug deals.
This is totally unethical and if true, means that supporting Puppy Station equals supporting the sleazy practice of backyard breeding.
*Note: The Puppy Store is the previous iteration of Puppy Station. My understanding is that they have the same management and basically just changed the name.*
Puppy Station is accused of not providing the puppies with proper medical care.
Says one former employee in a private message to Riley, which Riley shared in a Facebook group, "...for a short period of time i [sic] worked at puppy station...what i [sic] saw while working there was absolutely horrific. they [sic] have puppies kept in cages in the back...they keep them back there because they haven't had their shots yet, but there was as many to i [sic] wanna say 6-8 puppies in a cage. all of the cages are [dusty]...they feed all of the puppies the same chowder and they mix hot water with it to make it "wet food." the employees give the puppies shots themselves regardless of them not being trained to do so...when you adopt the puppy they make you sign a lengthy contract stating that if the puppy is sick it's YOUR fault and not theirs. most [sic] of the puppies are so hungry throughout the day that they eat each others [sic] feces. i [sic] saw a lot of really gross things...i [sic] never met [the owner], ever. all of the air vents are filled with dust and nothing is ever clean. it's literally disgusting and those poor puppies are living in absolute filth." (Emphasis mine)
7. Puppy Station is accused, by a lot of people, of selling sick puppies.
If my neighbors here in College Station are to be believed, Riley and Wesley are not the only ones who were sold a sick puppy by Puppy Station.
Here are the stories of some people who purchased from and/or worked at Puppy Station that were sent to Riley and that she posted in a Facebook group:
"I bought my blue heeler puppy from Puppy Station in July of 2016 and he had tapeworms and fleas. The vet said it was from being consistently confined in such close quarters with several other puppies. It was easily treated, but I think this still shows the conditions they live in."
"...my husband noticed one pit bull puppy...we ended up taking him home and within a few days noticed something was off, every time he ate his neck would swell up on one side and he would have trouble breathing and puke his food up. So we took him to the vet. Our vet said he had a congenital disease called mega esophagus [sic] which caused the muscles that makeup [sic] his esophagus to relax instead of contract when eating which allowed his food to get trapped in his throat...I immediately contacted puppy station because our "contract" said if there were any health concerns we had the option of...bringing him back to them to be seen by their vet and they would cover the cost. Well, apparently they don't stand by that...the manager...said they wouldn't be doing anything because he 'already lost too much money on THAT dog.'...the manager there refused to treat him."
"I bought a GSD pup while I was working there this last time it reopened and became the Puppy Station...this pup supposedly had "kennel anxiety" and wouldn't eat. I paid $650 for him with my discount just to try and save him. He passed one week later from distemper after taking him to the vet every single day for the one week I had him...He eventually had to be euthanized on day 7. They didn't want to refund me or even offer a discount on a new pup...the next day...I opened a Clorox box and found 2 Chi puppies dead and decaying that they didn't want to pay to cremate...multiple times they sent me to Petco trying to find a cheap dewormer to avoid vet trips for ill pups...that were showing signs of PARVO and DISTEMPER."
"Hi Riley, my friend just sent me your Facebook post about the puppy station. The puppy I got from there also died of distemper...We spent 4,000 trying to save our puppy..."
"I also adopted one of the Saint Bernard lab mixes from puppy station...who also did not survive after being diagnosed with distemper."
"8 years ago...I bought a baby chihuahua from the puppy store. The day we brought her home she suffered a seizure. We rushed her to TAMU vet school where we found out she had a very very server [sic] case of phenomena...Through the hard work of the vet school they saved her life."
"I saw your post about the puppy station...We bought an Australian cattle dog 3 weeks ago-ish [sic] and she died this past week from distemper."
"This place is terrible. Everyone that i [sic] know that has gotten a puppy from them, the puppy has not lived...They do not have ANY medical care while there."
If these stories make you angry and you want to take action, there are a few things you can do.
First, you can share this article and Riley's posts far and wide, on your own social media and in groups and GroupMe's.
Second, you can join Riley's Facebook group, SHUT DOWN PUPPY STATION NOW. In that group, there is an ongoing petition, which you should sign (I understand a petition is what forced The Puppy Store to close down and become Puppy Station) and plans for a silent protest which will take place at an unspecified date in the future. All the updates will be in that group.
Third, you can leave a negative review for Puppy Station on Google.
Fourth, you can email the manager of Post Oak Mall and ask him to stop renting to Puppy Station as soon as their lease is up. I am not going to put his email address in my article, but it is very easy to find in the Facebook group. Many people have been doing this and have reported that he seems very sympathetic to our position.
Finally, you can join me in no longer patronizing Puppy Station or shopping at Post Oak Mall until Puppy Station is permanently closed.
I told Riley that we are going to pull together as a town to ensure that Kona's death was not in vain. Will you join us?