Steer Clear of Amanda Miller of MHF Basset Hounds – And, Here’s Why….
The beginning of this story should start with my first email to the breeder of MHF Basset Hounds, Amanda Miller (public record show her currently at 115 Charlet DrGreen Mountain NC 28740-9308).
The subject matter from my initial email was ‘Dilemma about buying a basset.’ Through those 5 little words, I’ve learned a huge lesson about dealing with ‘breeders’ and Amanda of MHF Basset Hounds in particular.
As background, I’ve been a fan of rescued dogs since I was young and took that first trip to the animal shelter. So, when our Australian Shepherd, Killian, died and left a hole in our pack of 3, we knew we wanted a young basset this time around. Since we couldn’t find any basset younger than 3 on local rescue boards, we went ahead with our plan to purchase a younger dog. John and I were both interested in raising our own basset so I contacted Amanda of MHF Basset Hounds with that first email.
Amanda emailed me back that, although the puppies were spoken for, she had a 10 month old female, Gabby (we renamed her to ‘Jazz’ for the months we had her) that she would let go.
I asked why Gabby, at 10 months was still with the breeder. Amanda mentioned that this particular dog was going to be her next breed stock (backyard breeders frequently increase the number of their breeding bitches to produce more puppies per year). However, Gabby/Jazz had a bad leg on her back right – it was bowing out so Amanda was willing to let her go for the bargain price of $400.
Not much of a bargain, as the tale unfolds, especially considering that Gabby was not socialized nor was she even CLOSE to housebroken, leading me to believe that she was kept outdoors, as backyard breeders frequently do with their breeding stock dogs.
Regardless, a friend and I drove 9 hour to Cherokee, NC to meet Gabby. When the breeder pulled up, Gabby was cowering in the back of her SUV in a flexible crate. My guess is that this dog had rarely been in a car and even more rarely in a crate.
After Amanda managed to get her out of the crate and put her on the ground, all of Gabby’s signals were that she was scared crazy. Her tail was between her legs, her ears were back, her eyes kind of wild. I should have walked away then but, alas, I didn’t (just add one more learning experience to the tale).
Long story short (too late), I brought Gabby/Jazz to our home in MD to meet my fiance. Now, yes, he should have come along to meet the dog with me but he was working and left it to me to make the decision about the dog.
Upon John walking into the house, MHF Basset Hounds Gabby just freaked out! I have never seen such dismay or fear exhibited. It was so intense that she lost her bladder – and, this was just from John walking into the house. This basset was certainly damaged good on many levels. She just would have nothing at all to do with John. Nothing! In testing her with other men, she had the same exact response.
What kind of 10 month old Basset has THAT reaction unless something had happened in her past? A basset, for those who don’t know, is a very social, generally easy-going dog. Now this one! No way, Jose.
I contacted Amanda again to ask if Gabby had had any bad experiences with men – Amanda had mentioned to me that she was recently divorced so I was guessing there might have been some yelling going on in the house when this basset was young.
The breeder insisted that she was fine, yet, in further communications, it came out that this basset had ever seen ONE man in her entire 10 months of life and that was the vet. No wonder she was freaking out!
John and I both decided that this dog really was a rescue as there was no way anyone else would want/could handle her so we made plans to keep her. To that end, we had her spayed and microchipped (she is still registered to me on the microchip). We even had to have one tooth scaled because there was so much tartar on it. How does a 10 month old tooth collect tartar? Must have been the food she was given.
We also had her leg x-rayed to see what was causing the bowing. It turns out that her leg had been broken sometime in puppyhood. The vet asked me if the breeder had mentioned anything about this little dog being in pain earlier (she would have been limping and in pretty intense pain considering she was walking on a broken leg that had not received the appropriate attention). Amanda again said no, nothing like that had happened.
I mentioned that the surgery to repair her leg would run between 4 and 5K up here. Amanda mentioned that the surgery would be around 2K down in Cherokee, NC. In looking back, I’m curious now how she would have known that? Did she, indeed, have this dog seen and decided to let her go, well knowing of the expense down the road? I think the answer to that question is a resounding ‘yes.’ Or, even worse, had she bred a dog with this exact condition prior and was familiar with the surgery needed? I would not put it past her – never.
Regardless, we tried hard to make Gabby love us through training, treats, long walks through the woods, and love; we continued on in our lives for about 2 months with Gabby mostly cowering. We took her to my canine behaviorist who said that she was definitely not a dog he would have picked (coincidentally, my vet said the exact same thing). We took her to basic obedience training but she was too shy to even move. There really wasn’t much we could do to help this dog. It was beyond sad.
So with a heavy heart, I contacted the backyard breeder, Amanda, with the sad news that we’d be returning Jazz. After many very rude emails from Amanda, it appeared to us and to others that this backyard breeder was not really interested in taking her back. She wouldn’t set up a time or place to meet, she even, in an email, threatened me!
Regardless, it was determined that I would pay a friend to drive her the 9 hours back – against Amanda’s prior utterance that she would ‘hop in her car and drive anywhere to come get her,’ she wouldn’t even meet us halfway. In fact, on this particular day when the exchange was to be done, Amanda was having ‘surgery’ and was having one of her friends meet my friends. Fine, I didn’t really care until my friend asked for a signature on a letter stating that we were returning the dog – per Amanda’s own purchase contract, we had to legally return Gabby to her instead of rehoming her.
Amanda’s friend wouldn’t sign the letter. Not only that, but she called Amanda and got the official word not to sign. So, for someone in surgery that morning, at 9 am, Amanda was answering the phone. I’m doubting whether her migraine headaches (yet another excuse for not meeting us halfway) were also a ruse.
Technically, I am still the owner of Jazz. To that end, I’ve reported her as missing to the microchip folks so, if she’s ever scanned, my name will come up. I will never allow her to be rehomed or resold.
The story ends with this fact: Amanda’s MHF Basset Hounds are truly beautiful puppies. They are some of the prettiest basset hounds around. So, if you’re into buying a puppy for a hefty price, go for it. It would probably be fine, considering she releases them on the day they’re 8 weeks old and you get to train it up.
However, don’t take her word for it; take that puppy immediately to the vet for evaluation!
But, if you’re offered an older dog from MHF Basset Hounds, please pass him or her up. You’ll only be in for heartbreak and some very very rude emails and texts from this backyard breeder, Mandy Miller.
After recovering from the Jazz fiasco, we once again took to the internet – this time to basset rescue groups. We had decided that we would never purchase a dog, let alone from a backyard breeder like M.H.F. Basset Hounds. And, this time, we struck pay dirt!
Introducing the 10 week old puppy we found through a rescue – Dash! Dash The Basset is the Gabby antithesis – that link will take you to his very own basset internet site.
This puppy is full of life and curiousity, has never met a human he didn’t love immediately, and is acing his obedience class lessons.
Continuation #2: Amanda Miller has written her ‘account’ of the episode and it is wrought with lies. Beware of MHF Bassets. There are many other accredited breeders out there or, for information about adoption, BROOD is an excellent organization. I would, however, ask any adopting agency where the dog came from (if they even know).
If MHF Bassets is on their record, get the heck out of there! You can (and will) do better. Dash is living proof!