Scottish SPCA issues warning of low-welfare puppy dealers in Scotland after sick puppy bought online dies

The Scottish SPCA has issued a stark warning to the public after a puppy bought on Gumtree passed away when bogus dealers tricked buyers using the pandemic as an excuse for not seeing the puppy before payment.

Milo died just weeks after being purchased by the owners due to being prematurely ripped away from his mum (photo: SPCA).
Milo died just weeks after being purchased by the owners due to being prematurely ripped away from his mum (photo: SPCA).

Scotland’s animal welfare charity was contacted by the owner last week after their puppy, Milo, was admitted to Lanark Small Animal Hospital less than 24-hours after welcoming him in to their home.

The owner paid £920 for Milo who was advertised as an eight-week-old Jack Russell.

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The buyer asked to meet Milo’s mother and was told that it wasn’t possible due to Covid restrictions.

The seller then turned up at the buyer’s house in Lanarkshire, just 45 minutes after the call, with Milo.

Although the owners could immediately see that something was not right with Milo, they feared what would happen to him if they refused to purchase him.

Milo was taken to the vets the following morning and hospitalised the same day.

He was there for nearly a week and then returned home before again being hospitalised a few days later.

It has been revealed that Milo was in fact a four-week-old border collie and his illness was due to being taken from his mother too young.

The SSPCA has reported that they have seen a ‘huge spike’ in low-welfare puppy dealers during lockdown and these bogus dealers are increasingly using the pandemic as an excuse for the public not the meet puppies with their mothers.

Milo’s owner said, “Milo was a gift for my 12-year-old granddaughter who is absolutely heartbroken.”

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"We were told we couldn’t meet Milo with his mother due to the restrictions around coronavirus. The seller went into detail about safety measures and we were completely fooled.

“He came across as a polite gentleman who was dressed smartly. He even brought a pouch of dog food and told us to call him in a few weeks. The number he gave us did not work and we are told it was from a burner phone.

“It was obvious that Milo wasn’t a Jack Russell and was clear he wasn’t being looked after. We didn’t have the heart to send him back.

“The vet first thought he had parvovirus and he was sent to the hospital. It turns out he was riddled with worms from not being weaned and put straight on dog food. He was so young he should still have been being fed by his mother, so his stomach was in bits."

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “The public needs to remember that these low-welfare breeders are master manipulators and are skilled at deceiving people.

“No matter how plausible the excuse, do not accept it.

“You must see pup with mum, that is the bottom line.”

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“We are saddened to hear of Milo’s passing and our thoughts are with his owner who did everything possible to save him.

“Unfortunately puppy dealers are using the pandemic restrictions to trick the public.”

A Gumtree spokesperson said: “It’s distressing to hear of Milo’s story and we know how upsetting this must have been for his owners.

“We take animal welfare very seriously at Gumtree and we work closely with law enforcement and animal welfare organisations to investigate and block offending users.”

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