Blue Cross has issued a warning to those wanting to add a puppy to the family this Christmas after two young dogs bought from disappearing sellers desperately needed our help.
Less than 24 hours after puppy Rocky was picked up by his new owners, he was flat, floppy and very sick.
The couple had seen him promoted for sale on a popular classified advertising website and he was handed over to them in a car park.
Amanda Marrington, Blue Cross Animal Welfare Officer, said: “Rocky was at death’s door when he arrived in our care. He was weak, emaciated and suffering from parvovirus and we didn’t think he would survive the night.”
Parvovirus is a highly infectious disease that can kill puppies quickly. It is entirely preventable with a simple vaccination, and all the evidence we’ve seen suggests that Rocky’s mother was not protected against the disease. Sadly, the other puppies in Rocky’s litter are likely to have suffered a similar fate.
Amanda, from the team at our Victoria animal hospital where Rocky is being treated, added: “Rocky’s owners tried to contact the seller when they realised he was sick, but they would not answer the phone.”
The advertising of puppies online, before completing the sale at a public location, is an increasingly worrying trend, and more and more dangerously ill pets who have been bought in this way are being treated by Blue Cross vets.
Beagle puppy Blue was also bought from a seller who refused to return his owners’ calls when a problem arose.
Blue’s owners asked Blue Cross to find him a new home, but when we tried to check his microchip details we found that not only was there no record of any previous owner, but that the chip was not registered anywhere in the world.
Since April this year, dog breeders have been legally required to ensure puppies they sell are microchipped and registered before they go to their new homes. Without any information linked to the chip, Blue simply had a useless, tiny computer chip under his skin. The only clue we had to go on was that his microchip was manufactured in Spain.
Because we had no proof that Blue was born in the UK and could not get in contact with the seller or the breeder, we had no choice but to assume he was illegally imported into the UK and notify the authorities. This meant placing him in quarantine kennels at a cost of £900 to our charity, in a less-than ideal environment for a young puppy to spend his early life.
Blue Cross is caring for puppies Rocky and Blue and will soon begin the search to find them loving new homes.
Amanda added: “We always recommend getting your new pet from a rehoming charity like Blue Cross, but if you’ve got your heart set on buying a puppy from a breeder, please do your research and only get one from a breeder who has dogs’ health and welfare at heart.
“If a seller won’t let you meet the puppy with their mother and siblings in a happy environment where they have been brought up, walk away.”
If you’d like to add a pup to your family, visit our rehoming pages and read our advice about buying a puppy.