Kate McGettigan lives next door to Petland in Largo.
She's been here a handful of times to buy her cats food but stopped going there after she says the puppies looked "sick."
"It's just so dirty," she said. "How could they ... I don't know, it's just disgusting."
That's why this investigation by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that found laboratory evidence that puppies sold at certain Petland stores across the U.S. are a likely source of the Campylobacter infection outbreak. didn't surprise McGettigan.
"I had a gut feeling that it wasn't the right place to be. Now after this that really turns me off."
Since Oct. 3, the CDC has reported 55 people have been found to have the Campylobacter infection or symptoms related. It's spread over 12 states including Florida with 13 hospitalizations.
Campylobacter can spread through contact with dog feces,
The CDC says that 35 people that got ill had either recently been here to Petland, just purchased a puppy from here or visited a friend or relative that bought one, and went to their home. Fourteen were Petland employees.)
Petland fired back, saying in a statement: "The CDC's expanded investigation resulted in cases found in humans in Utah, Wyoming, New Hampshire and Maryland. These are states where Petland has no store locations."
Doctors at Tampa General Hospital say they can't even remember the last time they've treated someone here with that bacterial disease. They want me to reiterate that as long as you wash your hands you should be OK.
"I don't think there is a major concern for being in a panic state," says Dr. Seetha Lakshmi, "but just always --always wash your hands."
A 2009 investigation by the American Humane Society found several stores were cited for issues including having small cages, buying underage puppies, buying from unlicensed breeders, having sick puppies and having incorrect medications.
At the time, Petland said it was making changes in light of all of this.
Officials from Petland said since the initial contact with the CDC, they have been reinforcing education to staff and customers about proper hand sanitization.
it's important to note that regardless of where they are from, any puppies and dogs can carry Campylobacter germs.
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