Scotland’s animal welfare charity was alerted when a woman from Dalgety Bay bought a lhaso apso puppy for £475 on 8 November after it was advertised on Gumtree.
Tragically, the puppy died just days later after being diagnosed with various canine infections.
An undercover officer said, “The woman called the seller, who was listed as Kirkcaldy based under the name James, after seeing the advert online. The seller then arranged to bring the puppy to her home address.
“The female who attended was described as around 60 years old, of heavy build, with a full head of grey hair and a local accent.
“She was driving a large white coloured 4x4 and was accompanied by two children, a girl and boy aged around eight to ten years old, who she said were her grandchildren.
“The seller took £475 in cash for the pup and left, with no receipt or Kennel Club documentation offered.
“Sadly the pup had to be taken into veterinary care the next day due to health issues linked with poor welfare conditions. The pup tragically died three days later, leaving the owner heartbroken and with a substantial veterinary bill.
“The seller is no longer answering the number listed online and anyone with information about her identity is urged to contact us.
“We would urge people to be wary of purchasing puppies from free websites. Our advice to anyone considering buying a puppy is to always go to the breeder or seller’s home or kennels and insist on seeing the dog’s mother.
“People should never allow the dog to be delivered to their home or buy the animal in a public place, no matter what excuse the breeder provides.
“Buyers should also always ask for a receipt, complete with all the seller’s contact details.”
Anyone with information is being urged to contact the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.