Digging Deeper: Large protest organized after puppy bought in Ja - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Digging Deeper: Large protest organized after puppy bought in Janesville dies from parvovirus

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JANESVILLE (WKOW)-- A group of pet lovers is preparing to peacefully protest outside Janesville Mall this weekend. This demonstration comes after at least two puppies died from the parvovirus. Owners say the puppies were purchased from Furry Babies inside the mall.

"Staying up with him night after night, every half hour and having to push medicine down his throat, it's not easy," Brittany Thompson says about the sleepless nights she and her friends, Dakota Smith and LeRoy Heider, endured while treating their new puppy Chevy.

Thompson says the puppy was purchased on December 22nd from the Furry Babies store in Janesville. Four days later the puppy started vomiting and was experiencing severe diarrhea and dehydration.

They brought the puppy to a local vet hospital in Janesville that came recommended by Furry Babies. Thompson and her friend LeRoy Heider tell 27 News the dog spent a few nights at the vet hospital, but ultimately died New Year's Day.

"The amount of time it took all of us to get attached to that dog was unreal. It was, as soon as we went to pick him up you couldn't put him down," Heider explains.

27 News was contacted by another couple who recently purchased a puppy from the same company. They say their puppy also died from the parvovirus. Owners say their puppy died on December 1st only a week after they bought it.

These recent cases have inspired a massive following on Facebook. Within a few days a peaceful protest was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon outside the mall. Organizers have invited more than 1,300 people.

"The amount of people we had that had shared our stuff on social media and stuff, I guess it just took that to see how serious a situation like that really is and how it can really impact someone's life," Heider explains.

27 News contacted the company's flag ship store in Rockford, but managers there said each of their five shops are independently franchised. We left messages for the manager at the Janesville location, but we haven't received a response.

A simple internet search reveals several prior complaints and lawsuits against the company. WKOW's sister station WREX in Rockford Illinois first led a news investigation into the company back in 2009.

27 News has also reached out to the vet hospital that worked on this latest case. We haven't received a response. Heider says managers at Furry Babies have told him they're willing to cover their medical bills. He says it's not about the money, but the emotional roller coaster the company put he and his friends through.

"I was more mad than I was sad," Heider explains. "It was definitely rough."

Health experts say parvovirus is extremely contagious and can live in the environment for months after the initial contact. The virus is commonly spread in dirty conditions where several dogs are in close proximity to one another.

UPDATE:  Furry Babies did return our email with a statement on Tuesday, regarding the incident and our story.  Here is their full statement.

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