Durant students want restitution for $1,000 gift puppy that died unexpectedly

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DURANT, OK -- It was a heart-warming moment.

It was an effort by students, parents and alumni of the Durant High School Marching band. The community came together to raise $1,000 to buy their well-loved band director, Chris Gregg, a bulldog puppy as a thank you for his service.

"Oh my gosh, he's like a second father to us. Mr. And Mrs. Gregg are like parents," said senior Jacey McWilliams.

The band presented Gregg with the puppy last Christmas.

Kiersten Burkhalter, Durant junior, helped get the ball rolling on the grass-roots project.

"He was so happy," Burkhalter said.

But 45 days later things got ugly for little Petunia, the new bulldog puppy.

"At first it was just what seemed like a cold kind of. But then it got really really bad quickly," Burkhalter said.

Petunia had a genetic heart condition. And after hundreds of dollars in medical bills for the Greggs, she had to be put down.

"It didn't just affect a few of us. It was like the whole band was .... because of Mr. And Mrs. Gregg. They were depressed about it," said junior Taylor Parrott.

Veterinarians at VCA Animal Care Hospital in Plano told the group the dog breeder likely knew about the condition. The students said they went back to the breeder - Peggy Hamlin, out of Stringtown - where they bought Petunia.

"And it's always her saying 'oh, sorry.' And that's it," Burkhalter said.

News 12 reached out to Hamlin and asked her for her side to the story. She hung up on us.

"It's really quite upsetting. Because the whole community pitched in to give this gift to these really awesome people," McWilliams said.

The group just want Hamlin to work with them to make the situation right, Burkhalter said.

"It's really disappointing, because it's like they've made no effort to even help to make the Greggs feel any better about the situation," she said.

The groups said when they confronted Hamlin about it she told them her veterinarian could prove Petunia had a clean bill of health at the time of the sale.

But so far she hasn't put them in contact with her vet, they said.

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