Do Not Adopt from Cozy’s Refuge, West Virginia
I have created this page for two primary reasons: (1) to raise awareness of a rescue in West Virgina that has shown to be negligent in their care of animals and (2) to potentially raise funds to help offset the hospital bill for my new puppy Strider, who is fighting for his life against Parvovirus as a result of this negligence. If you can help with either of the two purposes above, in whatever way, we would be extremely grateful.
I traveled from New York to West Virginia to adopt my 7 1/2 week old puppy from Cozy’s Refuge, AKA Kathy Sturgill, AKA Kathy D Kozee (http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/WV102.html) on Saturday, December 3rd. I also picked up another puppy, also 7 1/2 weeks, for a friend back in New York. Both of us were told that the puppies were in good health. Our understanding was that our adoption fee was to support standard puppy care and prevention while they were in her facility. Kathy insisted on meeting us at a shopping mall, so we unfortunately could not view her facilities, perhaps for a reason. The puppies traveled on a child’s lap in her car, and needed a bath when she presented them to us. While our interactions with Kathy both before and after the meeting had raised certain flags, I wanted to believe that at the core she was running a safe rescue, and that maybe she had more benevolent reasons for meeting us at the shopping mall, that maybe a lack of a bath wasn’t an indicator of a more serious underlying issue. She loved animals, I thought, and was running a rescue; maybe she was tending to more life-threatening issues.
On Sunday, December 4th, I came back to New York and gave the other puppy to its new owners, who were ecstatic to meet him. The next day, their dog wasn’t eating much and had some vomiting. Strider seemed generally healthy; his appetite wasn’t huge, but he was only 5 pounds. By Wednesday, the other puppy was gravely ill, with diarrhea and fever, and needed to be hospitalized for Parvovirus. Their Vet confirmed that the dog had the virus in his system for 10 days. Both dogs by this point were confirmed with fleas, and the other dog had a bad case of worms. Worming should already have been performed on these puppies at 3 weeks and 6 weeks of age.
On Thursday, December 8th, Strider was confirmed with a severe case of worms. While it was likely he too was exposed to the Parvovirus while in the care of Cozy’s Rescue, he was not yet vomiting or with diarrhea. Meanwhile, the other puppy made it through the night, but was very weak.
On Friday, December 9th, I learned that the other dog had passed away. His owners were obviously very upset, having only had the dog a few days. They were unable to reach Kathy by phone, and her email response to their message was insensitive and accusatory; she refused to take any responsibility for the dog’s health, despite making us aware that she never took them to the Vet and that she self-administered the vaccines after purchasing them online. Regarding the worming, “I took the best care of him i could, possibly missed worming once if there are more than one and they look the same and your in a hurry, it is possible …”
That night, Strider began to vomit and became completely lethargic. He was limp in my arms. I took him to the hospital, they confirmed that he had Parvovirus, and began treatment. He made it through the night, and they began tube feeding him on Saturday. Unfortunately, he started vomiting more Saturday night, and they can not tube feed him until his vomiting is under control so he is being fed by IV. They are now having trouble keeping his heart rate down and his protein count is low, so he will need a blood transfusion. They will also treat his worms today.
Kathy has continued to deny any responsibility in the health of these two innocent puppies and has even questioned the death of my friend’s dog. Dogs that develop the disease show symptoms within 5 to 10 days, which traces their initial infection back to her facility where her lack of proper care for these puppies began. Other dogs in her rescue are in danger as well.
I spent the last week getting to know and love Strider and am now doing my best to ensure that he has the best chance to make it through this. He is at one of the best Vet Hospitals in New York. While each day he is there costs over 1000.00, I do not feel that I have any other choice but to give him this chance. Even with the best care, Parvovirus can kill. He has been there two nights now; tonight will be night 3 and we continue to hope for the best. Kathy refuses to take any financial responsibility in this matter. If you find yourself in a position to donate, any amount would be greatly appreciated. More importantly, if you know of anyone who might benefit from this information, or if you can just spread the word about the unsafe conditions of this rescue, I am hoping that someone else might be spared the emotional and financial drain that could have otherwise been prevented for both me and my friends who unfortunately lost their puppy. Any positive thoughts or prayers that you have for Strider, and for my friends who are dealing with their loss, are greatly appreciated.