GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A family who adopted puppies just weeks before police shut down a Norton Shores rescue have dealt with sick dogs and expensive vet bills.
Police seized 78 dogs from a Norton Shores home on Jan. 30.
Tierney and Seth Nykamp, who adopted their puppies after meeting them at a PetSmart, were shocked and saddened to hear about the arrest of Cober’s Canines operator Lisa Cober.
The family knew the puppies came from a rough background because they were rescued.
“Hindsight, we could see those red flags there, but we just thought, ‘OK, they need more love than we expected,’” Tierney Nykamp said. “When seeing the dogs, we could tell that they were covered in feces, covered in dirt. They were all looking very thin.”
But Cober’s Canines had documentation and assured them the puppies were being taken care of. And Tierney Nykamp’s parent had adopted a dog through the rescue that has not had health issues.
“We thought, well, we’ve always wanted a dog. Maybe one of her puppies would be a good opportunity to keep the family together,” Tierney Nykamp said.
The Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office has charged Lisa Cober with felony-level animal abuse charges. One of the puppies seized died of pneumonia days later.
“I was heartbroken. It’s just really sad to see that,” Seth Nykamp said.
One of the Nykamps’ puppies, Star, had no health problems. Two others did: Shae had kennel cough and Melanie had pneumonia.
The family had paid nearly $1,200 in adoption fees.
“When we got our vet bill back for the ER visit, it was $2,500, so it was definitely a big slap in the face. We really weren’t expecting to have to pay that much money just to get her (Melanie) back to base health where we felt maybe she should have been when we adopted her,” Tierney Nykamp said.
The puppies saw a veterinarian Wednesday who said their health has improved. Melanie, the puppy with pneumonia, finished her antibiotics Tuesday.
“We came really close to losing Mel here and it was pretty dire. Her temperature really spiked and they had to pump all the fluid out of her system and then just put her on air so she could breathe because she really couldn’t get the air that she needed just from breathing normally,” Seth Nykamp said.
The family says they hope justice will be served and are not planning to seek restitution.
“We’ll let the court system handle it and we’ll take care of our new family members,” Tierney Nykamp said.
Cober is scheduled to return to court Feb. 14.