WASHINGTON, DC—Citing centuries of quality- control issues that have resulted in chronic unreliability, cascading system failures, and even total unit shutdown, the American Pug Breeders Association announced a recall Monday of all pugs produced between February 2006 and the present day.
"We apologize wholeheartedly to any and all owners of the 2007 pug," APBA director Betty McAndrews said at a press conference, standing before a table where 10 defective pugs were displayed. "While pug owners are accustomed to dog malfunction, the latest animals are prone to more problems than just the usual joint failures, overheating, seizures, chronic respiratory defects, and inability to breed without assistance. The latest model pug is simply not in any way a viable dog."
According to the APBA's online recall notice, pugs produced in the specified period are at "moderate to high risk" for convulsive respiratory failure, soft palate suppuration, corneal ulcers leading to sudden deliquescence of the eyeballs, catastrophic lung collapse, ingrown ribs, diabetes, patellar luxation, encephalitis, Lou Gehrig's pug's disease, impacted hips, neck dysplasia, tracheal fissures, morbid obesity, cranial arthritis, and leakage of the anal sacs. In addition, due to strong allergic reactions to almost all medications, 97 percent of pugs are untreatable.[slideshow:61936]
This week, the APBA has begun to send out recall information and cardboard mailing boxes to registered pug owners, who are asked to place their '07 pug inside the box, seal it, and, if they wish, punch air holes in the top and sides. Owners must then put the box inside an airtight heavy-duty plastic bag, affix a postage-paid mailing label, and drop it off at any U.S. post office.
In order to ensure that all '07 pugs are taken out of circulation, the organization is also providing a complimentary on-site disposal service to pug owners who are otherwise unable to participate in the recall.
"We'd prefer to destroy all units here at our headquarters—we already have the chimneys going day and night," McAndrews said. "But the very young and the very old seem rather reluctant to send in their pugs, despite all of their well-documented flaws. To protect our reputation as pug breeders, we're going to spend the next month visiting individual homes and putting these dogs out of everyone's misery."
For Mason City, IA pug owner Lee Kraus, the APBA's announcement comes as a complete vindication after years of contending with defective pugs. In the past five years alone, Kraus has attempted to return three of the dogs to his local breeder, and each time has been denied either a refund or an exchange for a more reliable make, such as a Shih Tzu.
"I'm glad to see the APBA is finally taking responsibility for this disaster," Kraus said. "Governor Fattpants gave me insomnia with his constant snorting, and Boiler ruined my bedroom set when he went into total renal shutdown."
Cindy Anderson of the Sarasota, FL–based Pug Owners Group shares Kraus's frustration with the highly developed breed.
"After trying and failing to nurse Princess Kevin through hemorrhagic lupus and Boatsley through a hysterical tubal pregnancy, I don't know if I'll ever own another pug," Anderson said. "It's not worth the hassle."
"Oh, who am I kidding? They're just so cute!" she added. "I love their adorable snorting and their funny little waddle. We're going to call our next one Lopez."