My husband and I purchased a 10-12 week old Netherland Dwarf bunny on August 10, 2017 at your 16 Kennedy Road South location in Brampton, Ontario. I had called the store earlier that morning to ask if they had any bunnies at that location, as we were looking to purchase one for our daughters. An employee of the company notified me that they did in fact have bunnies at that location. My husband and I arrived at Big Al’s that same day, around 10:05am to find out that they only had one rabbit left. I was hesitant to purchase him, as I was hoping for a female bunny. The employee had advised me that it would be a lot safer to purchase from Big Al’s as they have a 7 day warranty policy in place. After watching my husbands heart melt while holding this Netherland Dwarf bunny and the big grin beginning to form on his face, I agreed that we would take him home.
My Stepdaughters were over joyed to see the new addition to our family. My husband and two stepdaughters worked very hard to create a beautiful home for our newest family member, Milo. Although it has only been a short 5 days, Milo has become a part of our family. He often follows the girls wherever they walk by hopping shortly behind them, he sits on my husbands lap while we are watching television and he curls up on the sofa with our cats. Milo is an extraordinary bunny and I am truly glad that we have chosen him for our family.
On August 14, 2017 at 9:00 pm, I noticed that Milo had diarrhea. This would have been the first time this week that I had seen his feces liquid rather than a somewhat solid texture that they usually were. I knew that I was going to take him in to see a veterinarian the next day, as that is what any good pet owner would do with an ill pet. The next morning, I found clear jelly like discharge in his cage. I researched online and found out that this can be a sign that the rabbit is very ill and likely will not make it if not treated right away. I immediately picked up the phone to find a vet who would see Milo. Who knew that it would be surprisingly difficult to find a veterinarian in Brampton who specializes in bunnies! After many calls, I was finally able to find one.
It is a horrible feeling for the entire family to find out that one of our pets is ill, but an even worse feeling to think that I could have possibly done something to cause Milo’s illness. After speaking to the vet and answering the many questions he had about the type and amount of food I am feeding him, litter type, food brands, bedding material, vitamin drops and how often I change his water, he assured me that I have been doing everything correctly. Milo may have a bacterial infection and has been given shots from the vet, along with antibiotics to take home. He is unsure if this is for sure what is wrong with Milo, as he has found a lump in his abdomen, which could be cancerous. Although cancer in such young bunnies is very rare, Milo could be the exception. After much discomfort for Milo and a bill of $218.66, Milo was able to return home with me.
I decided to go in and speak to the manager at the Big Al’s location at Queen and Kennedy regarding my 7 day warranty. I explained to the store manager that I had purchased Milo 5 days ago from this location and had the receipt to prove it as he seemed unsure, as if he wasn’t aware that they sold rabbits. I advised the manager that Milo had become sick, only 4 days after receiving him and that the vet said he most likely had the bacterial infection before we had purchased him from Big Al’s, as bacterial infections can take sometimes days to surface. The store manager explained to me that I should not have brought my bunny to the vet, but instead had called Big Al’s and exchanged Milo for another bunny. I think that is the most ridiculous and absurd thing I have ever heard! When one of your family members is sick, do you simply exchange them for another? Would this have been a good message to give my 11 and 7 year old stepdaughters? I asked the store manager where Milo would go if I had brought him back to the store. He stated that Milo would then go back to the breeder. When asked what the breeder would do with Milo, he said he wasn’t sure if the breeder would kill him or not. I guess the shock and disgust in my facial expression was evident as he quickly changed his response to, Milo would most likely go to the breeders vet. I continued to question the store manager of Big Al’s about the breeders vet, as I would be willing to have the breeders vet see Milo for a second opinion. Not surprisingly, he did not have any contact information for the breeder, his vet or anyone I can speak to about obtaining such information for Milo. He became defensive and began blaming me for Milo’s illness. He explained that it wasn’t possible for Milo to have become ill at his store, as no other bunnies were ill. Milo was the only bunny in the cage when we purchased him and correct me if I am wrong, just because one bunny is sick, it doesn’t necessarily mean all will fall ill, especially if they did not cohabitate for very long.
After making numerous calls to other store managers, he came back and stated that everyone he had spoken to agreed with him, thus he would not attempt to assist me in resolving the issue. He continued to insist that I bring Milo back to the store and switch him for another bunny. I again explained to the manager at Big Al’s that I did not feel comfortable leaving Milo at the store, as I was unsure as to where he would go or if he would receive medical care from a veterinarian. I would like Big Al’s to reimburse me for Milo’s vet bill, as it is within their 7 day warranty. I think it would be inhumane and neglectful of me to give Milo back to Big Al’s, not knowing if he would receive care from a vet or if he would simply be discarded of. It is extremely disappointing that the manager at Big Al’s attempted to make me feel as if I did the wrong thing by taking my pet to the vet. On August 10th, we were celebrating a new addition to our family and a few days later, we are saddened that our newest addition may not make it due to a possible bacterial infection that could have been diagnosed sooner if proper steps were taken by Big Al’s. I have never purchased an animal from Big Al’s previously and I assure you that I will not be a returning costumer. The lack of costumer service that I experienced was disheartening and unacceptable. I hope that no other costumers present and or future would have to experience what my family is experiencing right now.