A family left devastated after spending more than £7,000 on a 10-week-old puppy who then died have called for greater breeding regulation.
Jo – who doesn’t wish to disclose her last name – has blamed the shock death on the inexperience of her pet’s breeder.
She came across an advert online for a litter of Cockapoo puppies on May 6 – with the breeder asking for nearly £2,000 in return for one of the pups.
The then family picked up little Nala two days later and fell in love with the new addition to their family.
But just a few days later, the dog came down with sickness and diarrhoea and was diagnosed with parvovirus – a highly contagious virus that is a common cause of young puppies dying.
And then, on May 17, after spending over £5,000 on vets bills, the family had to make the heartbreaking decision to put Nala to sleep after vets had tried all possible resources.
Jo, 43, explained: “There isn’t a country wide policy when it comes to breeding dogs – you don’t need a license but in some areas you do and the breeder that we got our puppy from, should have had a license but he didn’t.
“The advert we found looked very professional and we fell in love with Nala as soon as we saw the picture of her.
“My daughter video called him before we put the deposit down and his house and garden looked really clean and the puppies all looked healthy.
“After picking her up, I realised the breeder didn’t even know my name. If I was selling puppies, I would want to do a full home check and verify who they were rather than just give them to anyone.
“She was fine for the first three days but then she began going downhill and that’s when we rushed her to the vet.
“There were several puppies in this litter and we know for definite that four of them have passed away from this virus; it’s likely they all had it and none of them had been health checked.
“All of Nala’s veterinary costs have gone onto a credit card which we will probably be paying back for the next three years but we had to try everything to save Nala’s life.
“There needs to be more laws around who can breed and more regulations.
“We are all absolutely heartbroken – as soon as I held her I felt like she was my family and we only got to have her in our house for three days before she was taken to the vets”.
Jo, from Southampton, decided to get another pup after looking for a companion for her four-year-old Cavapoo.
But with prices increasing throughout the pandemic, Jo ended up spending nearly £2,000 on little Nala.
She said: “The demand for dogs has gone up massively and that’s why we struggled to get a rescue dog.
“People have seen an opportunity to make money in the pandemic and they’ve gone with it which is why there is so much irresponsible breeding going on and it’s dangerous.
“If I wanted to breed a dog to make some extra cash, I could but I shouldn’t be able to”.
Jo claims the breeder she bought Nala from was unlicensed – despite allegedly needing a license to breed animals in his area.
But despite this, Jo said there were “no red flags” when picking Nala up from the home just two days after finding the advert online.
She added: “The family were very nice and there were no red flags.
“I felt comfortable with the entire thing.
“As soon as we held her, we all fell in love with her.
“She had had her first vaccine so we had her second vaccine scheduled; he told us she was eight-weeks-old but according to her vaccination card, she was ten-weeks-old.
“On Monday night we noticed she was quite lethargic but we put that down to the change of environment but the next morning, she was having diarrhoea and vomiting.
“I text the breeder and he recommended we take her to the vets where we eventually found out she had parvo virus – the mortality rate is 91%.
“We had insurance but it doesn’t take effect for 14 days so it cost us £5,500 all together to put her in critical care.
“If the breeder would have had insurance, we would have been covered.
“Her body was so frail and when I went to say goodbye to her, she already looked dead.
“We called him when we found out it was the virus and told him he must contact all the other buyers to let them know.
“You ultimately need to do your homework when buying a puppy – it’s one of the most heartbreaking things we are going through as a family.
“When I close my eyes I can still see her gorgeous face.
“If I could wind back the clock, I probably wouldn’t because we gave Nala the most loving three days she could have wished for, but if ever wanted to explore the route again, I will definitely be doing more research on the breeder.
“I hope everyone who is considering breeding to do their homework, know their legal obligations and more importantly, do right my the animals”.