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Longmont man loses new puppy to illness, seeks change in laws

Posted at 8:25 PM, Feb 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-09 22:34:20-05

LONGMONT, Colo. — Ben James was excited to bring his first puppy, a black lab, into his life.

"He was pretty happy, wagging his tail and had a smile. But just as we brought him home, not even 24 hours later, he had some really bad symptoms of diarrhea he was throwing up," James said.

James and his girlfriend, Keri, took 8-week old Jackson to the emergency vet, where he was diagnosed with canine parvovirus. That's a highly contagious viral disease that affects the dog's digestive system.

"The chances of living through it is 50/50. So, I know it is pretty serious," James said.

Jackson stayed in the hospital for five days.

"He ended up dying Tuesday morning," he added.

Jackson came from a shelter in New Mexico to the Longmont Humane Society.

"The dog came to us, and it had been treated or vaccinated for parvo, and it came to us with a health certificate," Longmont Humane Society CEO Liz Smokowski said.

James hopes to see changes in the system to prevent this from happening.

"I don't want any other family to go through this, and we would like to hopefully change the process of the holding time in between when they get a shipment in from the dogs so they can monitor these dogs," James said.

But Smokowski disagrees.

"Best practices is to actually have an animal stay in the shelter as little time as possible," she said.

Both agree the situation is tragic. James just wishes he still had Jackson.

James and his girlfriend say they spent about $10,000 on vet bills. They did have insurance on the dog. That claim is still being evaluated.