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Expensive 'Diabetic Alert Dogs' Lacked Basic Pet Training, Lawsuit Claims

By Molly Zilli, Esq. on May 16, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Imagine you payed thousands of dollars for a heart monitor that could detect when you were about to have a heart attack. Except, instead of doing that, it peed on your expensive sofa and chewed through your new shoes. That's similar to what a lawsuit claims some consumers experienced when they purchased what they thought were "diabetic alert dogs." Now, the company that sold those dogs is being sued by the state's attorney general.

Detecting Life-Threatening Blood Sugar Levels

According to the lawsuit, the company, Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers (SDWR), touted their diabetic alert dogs as having life-saving skills like detecting high and low blood sugar, retrieving medication, and even dialing 911 on a special device. The current cost for one of these remarkable dogs is nearly $25,000, a price some people were willing to pay for their health and peace of mind.

'Little More than Expensive Pets

However, according to the lawsuit filed by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, some of the dogs were simply poorly-trained puppies that chewed on things, didn't respond when called, and weren't housebroken. Even customers who received older dogs reported that they were untrained. And not only did the dogs fail to detect blood sugar levels, but they barked frequently, jumped on people, and seemed terrified of loud noises.

"[T]hese hopeful and vulnerable consumers receive poorly trained, ill-behaved dogs that are not equipped to help them manage a life-threatening disability and are little more than very expensive pets," the lawsuit reads. For their part, SDWR calls the allegations "ridiculous," and denies that they "set out to mislead, cheat or defraud" their "many happy clients." Who knows, maybe peeing on the carpet is how the diabetic alert dogs communicate about acceptable blood sugar levels. Yeah, probably not.

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