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UPDATE: 'Skinny puppy' back on the market

Posted at 5:59 PM, Feb 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 22:15:41-05
UPDATE: Rudy is now 17 pounds, and is listed for sale again on Petland's website. Store employees say he is healthy. We will continue to follow this story.
 
ORIGINAL STORY:
 
A 3-month-old Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy at a Henderson pet store weighing in at 13 pounds is still drawing criticism and commentary from people across the valley.
 
It is making people so angry, Henderson Petland said they have been receiving threats.
 
As of Monday, Rudy is no longer for sale. Petland said he's been taken out of the cages and is no longer available for sale until he gains weight.
 
Action News traced his history back to Arkansas where he was born. The breeder, Elisa Brandvik, was completely shocked when we showed her the pictures of how he looks now.
 
She said he looked like he hadn't been fed for some time. Brandvik kept one of his sisters and showed us a picture of her, in which she looks heavier than Rudy.
 
Brandvik said Rudy was in perfect health when she sold him to the distributor, and that if that were not the case, they would not have bought him.
 
Action News called Pinnacle Pet, the distributor out of Missouri. They said the vet at their facility deemed him healthy enough for travel. His paperwork from Pinnacle Pet (obtained by Nevada Voters for Animals) says on Feb. 8, Rudy was about nine weeks old weighing almost 15 pounds.
 
He had a hernia surgery before he left. They say the stress of the surgery and travel could contribute to the weight loss.
 
Rudy went from almost 15 pounds in Missouri to 13 pounds at Henderson Petland last Friday. Petland and Henderson Animal Control still maintain Rudy is healthy.
 
Although they say he is underweight, they said there is no cause for concern. The vet for Petland and Animal Control are the same person: Dr. Randy Winn.
 
We spoke with Winn, who said Rudy is skinny but not emaciated.
 
We contacted some breed experts at the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States. One member said, she was "appalled at the emaciated condition" of the puppy. Three different board members said 13 pounds is very underweight and that a three-month-old should weigh 20 to 30 pounds.
 
Another member said he has been breeding Rhodesian Ridgebacks for nearly four decades and said "the puppy in question is not a normal healthy puppy."
 
Petland's corporate office sent Action News the following statement:
 
"This week we were made aware of concerns online and directly about a puppy, in our care, which was posted on social media sites.
 
On Tuesday, our store in Henderson, Nevada received a puppy named Rudy, a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Upon arrival, as standard protocol for all our puppies, Rudy was examined by our expert attending veterinarian.
 
The puppy was eating well and exhibited no health issues other than being on the low-end of the ideal weight range for his age and breed. On Friday, the store owner brought the puppy back to the vet for an exam to ensure he was properly gaining weight. After examination, the vet provided a clean bill of health and also provided official documentation.
 
This week, Animal control also visited the store, and found no health issues with the puppy. The Animal Control officer, a veterinary technician, stated the puppy was a little underweight but healthy and fit to being socialized.
 
The the past four days, the puppy has been examined by our kennel management, and three times by a veterinarian and vet tech. No issues or concerns were found.
 
Rudy is eating well, playing and exhibiting no signs of illness. Like all our puppies, aside from getting love and care from our staff, Rudy’s feeding schedule and intake is being monitored by specific kennel staff and our attending veterinarian.
 
We appreciate our loyal customers and those who have expressed interest in Rudy. As always, we will do our best to find him a forever home with a loving family.
 
Sadly, our store has been inundated with threats and disruptive behavior by activists. We are disappointed that online sites and a local media outlet did not offer an opportunity for us to respond before airing their story, which contains inaccurate information and false accusations.
 
Petland puts the health and well-being of its pets first, that is why every store has a consulting veterinarian that examines every puppy the moment they arrive at our store, and before they are allowed to socialize with customers and other puppies. Additionally, every puppy must have a valid health certificate before arriving at any Petland location. To learn more about our animal care and where we get our puppies, please visit PetlandCares.com."