Kim Baldonado and Sue Monroe
Brigette Hecht says her King Charles Spaniel, Truffle, became seriously ill within days of her buying it from Monique Matthews, who runs the website Breeder.net. LA Sheriff’s officials searched the Norco woman’s home Wednesday prompted by an online campaign that accused Matthews of selling sick puppies. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News at 11pm on July 11, 2012
You wouldn't know it looking at her now, but Truffle, Brigette Hecht's cavalier King Charles Spaniel, had a rough start.
"She had Giardia, which is a gastro-intestinal disease, a parasite," Hecht said, "She had a really bad ear infection. They found fluid in her lungs and she was close to getting pneumonia."
Those health problems set in during the first two days Hecht owned Truffle, who was put on medication for nearly nine months.
"But that's when her knees started giving out," Hecht said. "Her knee caps pop out of joint. She'll be running and her rear legs collapse."
Hecht bought her dog from Monique Matthews, who runs the website Breeder.net.
"She's very charismatic and very sweet and when you see her, she's a beautiful woman – long blonde hair – but the minute you get the dog, she disappears," Hecht said.
An online search of Matthews' name reveals a host of complaints from people who say Matthews sold them puppies that were so ill, some died shortly after the purchase.
A search warrant was served on Matthews' Norco home Wednesday by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.
"That's the best news I've heard in a year and a half," Hecht said. "People felt like nothing was being done, even though police reports had been filed and animal control called and gone out."
"The puppies are so cute, you'd never think in a million years you're being duped or that somebody could be so cruel," Hecht said.
Despite the ongoing investigation, Hecht says she and others who bought sick puppies will keep up the online campaign.
"What I want to do is make sure people find out about this woman and she stops selling dogs forever and she's behind bars," Hecht said.
Her advice to anyone considering buying a pet online?
"Just make sure you do the research and go with your gut because most of the people I've talked to say they felt her energy was a little awkward," Hecht said. "But they all say the same thing, they wanted a dog."