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Owner's death need not leave pet without caretaker

I have a small, very spoiled little dog and would like to make provision for her in my will. I saw a program on television recently about a place that, in the event of your death, will keep your pet until they find it a good home. Of course, they require a deposit in advance.

Could you please get me more information about this organization?

M.M.

Response: It is not unheard of for someone to agree to take care of a pet in exchange for money when the pet's owner dies _ and then keep the pet in a cage for the rest of its life.

There has got to be a better way to make provisions for your pet than paying money to strangers and relying on their good will once you are gone.

For example:

Make arrangements beforehand with a trusted friend to adopt your pet or find a good home for it. If the friend cannot find a suitable home, she could have the option of having your pet put to sleep.

How well do you know your veterinarian? Might he or she be willing to take on this responsibility?

If you got the dog originally from the SPCA or Humane Society and it is still young, they may take it back and try to have it readopted. Often, though, there is an age limit.

Keep in mind that older pets may have difficulty adjusting to a new home. They are more likely to run away in an effort to find their old homes.

Some agencies (the Humane Society of North Pinellas is one of them) do make provisions to take in a pet upon its owner's death. Make sure your attorney or executor knows about this arrangement and sees to it that the agency gets enough money to cover its costs.

If all these efforts fail, you might consider euthanasia. That may be the kindest fate for an old, spoiled and unadoptable pet.

Company may be back in business

I ordered a pair of jeans from Boston Proper catalog in July 1991. My check for $40.94 was cashed July 30, but I have not received any correspondence or my merchandise. A letter to the company was not answered.

I tried the 800 number. The first time I got a message saying everything had been sold out in the catalog, and the company was not taking any new orders. If I had questions about a prior order, I was to hold the line and someone would pick up. After waiting 20 minutes, nobody picked up.

Next time I called, the 800 number had been disconnected.

I would appreciate learning anything you can find out about this company.

I.G.

Response: You wrote that letter to Action a year ago. We tried writing Boston Proper, but our letters were returned. The company had moved from New Rochelle, N.Y., and left no forwarding address.

Then last month you called to say you had received a catalog from Boston Proper.

We dug out your file and wrote the company at its new address in Boca Raton. Here is the answer we received from Melissa Hanfield, customer service:

The original company declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in late 1991. Early in 1992 Mark, Fore & Strike bought the rights to use "the Boston Proper and Enticements names and mailing lists from their lender, the Saudi International Bank."

Because they bought the names and mailing lists they have no legal obligation to honor claims from prior customers for merchandise not received, returned or damaged, says Ms. Hanfield.

As a goodwill gesture, however, the company will give you a credit of $40.94 toward future merchandise. Just make your selection from the new catalog and call (800) 234-4300 with your order.

Let us know if you have any problems.

Action Alert

Reader Richard Brown Jr. in New Port Richey tells us he recently got an early morning phone call from someone who said he owed a telephone service bill of $800 on his phone calling card.

Brown explained that he had never used this card and had, in fact, destroyed it three years earlier. The caller insisted he dig up the number of that card and call back. Brown hung up on him.

Brown suggests, and we agree, that not everybody is awake enough at 5:30 a.m. to have the presence of mind not to give out a phone calling card number. No doubt this was a scam.

If you really owed money on your calling card, the phone company definitely would have your number.

Action solves problems and gets answers for you. If you have a question, or your own attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write: Times Action, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or call your Action number, 893-8171, to leave a recorded request for Action.

Requests will be accepted only by mail or on our voice mail system; calls cannot be returned. We will not be responsible for personal documents, so please send only photocopies. If your complaint concerns merchandise ordered by mail, we need copies of both sides of your canceled check.

We may require additional information or prefer to reply by mail; therefore, readers must provide a full mailing address, including ZIP code. Upon request, names will not be published.

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