Local News

Customer says Wilson breeding operation sold him sick puppy

Posted August 24, 2012 5:40 p.m. EDT

— A Raleigh man said Friday that he wasn't surprised by a Thursday raid on a Wilson dog-breeding operation, saying that the breeders sold him a puppy that was sick and wouldn't give him a refund.

Wilson County deputies removed 28 Great Danes, Mastiffs and Dobermans from outdoor kennels behind a mobile home on Evansdale Road, with the assistance of the Humane Society of the U.S., the SPCA of Wake County and the Great Dane Rescue Alliance.

Kim Alboum, state director of the Humane Society, said the animals were malnourished and many had infections.

Breeders Cyndi and Joe Williams were each charged with one count of animal cruelty, and authorities said more charges are possible. Their court date was set for Oct. 8.

Kenny Brown said he and his wife bought a Great Dane puppy from Cyndi Williams for $1,000 several months ago after finding out online that she had a litter for sale.

As soon as the Browns brought the puppy, named Benson, home, they knew something wasn't right.

"We got him a little bed, and he'd just go into his bed and curl up in a ball," Kenny Brown said. "He wasn't drinking water. He wasn't eating anything."

When they took the dog to the veterinarian the next day, it weighed less than 8 pounds – half of what it should have weighed.

Brown said they spent $400 in two days trying to figure out what was wrong with Benson.

"The vet said, 'You need to take it to the 24-hour emergency service now,'" he said. "We just got this dog. I mean, that's thousands and thousands of dollars to do that. We hadn't even had a chance to have dog insurance yet."

The Browns then called Cyndi Williams and told her he wanted to return the puppy immediately. She told them not to, he said, but they went anyway.

"I'm not going to have a dog die on my living room floor," he said. "We took him back, and Cyndi still wouldn't meet us. So, she had her caretaker meet us at this abandoned mobile home. It was really sketchy."

Brown said Williams wouldn't give him a refund but promised she would replace the puppy. That hasn't happened yet.

He said he's since talked to others who also have had problems with dogs bought from the Williamses. Cyndi Williams later told him Benson survived and had another home, he said.

"She's really, like, a real Christian-type lady churchgoer. It seems like she always talks about it," he said. "I just feel like, you know, the right thing to do would probably be just give us our money back and let us go our separate way."

Will Farris, Cyndi Williams' attorney, declined to comment on Brown's accusations. Farris said that Williams plans to fight the animal cruelty charge.

Sixteen of the seized dogs were sent to the SPCA of Wake County and the other 12 to the Great Dane Rescue Alliance. None of the dogs will be put up for adoption until the court cases against the Williamses are resolved, officials said.