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Family’s heartbreak after Pomeranian cross puppy dies with parvovirus a DAY after buying it online

The latest victim of puppy farming has told of her family’s heartbreak after their new dog died just hours after arriving at its new home.

Mother-of-two Annemarie from Glasgow bought a Pomeranian crossbreed puppy online as a present for her daughters, aged six and 11 years old.

Immediately the eldest daughter in particular, Caitlyn, fell in love with the pooch, named Angus. However, it wasn’t long before he suddenly fell ill.  

Vets ran tests and found he had parvovirus – a fatal disease – which meant the family’s beloved puppy would have to be put to sleep.

Annmarie said the ‘disgusting’ breeders simply ‘disappeared’ as she tried to get in touch with them, while the documents which arrived with the dog turned out to be fake.

Mother-of-two Annemarie from Glasgow bought a Pomeranian crossbreed puppy Angus (pictured) online as a present for her daughters, aged six and 11 years old

She spent £1,000 on vet bills for Angus, but Annmarie says the emotional cost of the family’s traumatic ordeal has been far greater.

Explaining what happened, Annemarie said: ‘I can’t believe I was fooled by these people. I keep asking myself if there was something I could have done differently. I had no idea about parvovirus and how serious it was. It caused us a lot of heartache, to Caitlyn especially.

‘Caitlyn had been asking for a dog for years and had been very responsible by doing research in to looking after a puppy, what they ate, how to train them. I saw she was ready to help care for a dog so I started looking into it.

‘I found the advert for Angus on an online selling site. He was white, fluffy and adorable so I messaged the seller. I now realise I was fed excuses for the breeder to drop Angus to us but it all seemed so legitimate.

Vets ran tests and found he had parvovirus - a fatal disease - telling Annmarie that the family's beloved puppy would have to be put to sleep

Vets ran tests and found he had parvovirus – a fatal disease – telling Annmarie that the family’s beloved puppy would have to be put to sleep

‘Caitlyn and my other daughter were head over heels for Angus within seconds of meeting him so that was that, he became ours.’

The tiny canine was suddenly taken ill just a day after being dropped at the family’s house by the breeder.

What is the parvovirus and how is it treated? 

Parvovirus attacks cells in a dog’s intestines and stops them from being able to absorb vital nutrients

Symptoms of parvo include foul-smelling diarrhoea with blood in it, vomiting, loss of appetite, collapse, depression, fever and sudden death

There is no cure, but vaccinating a dog or puppy against parvo will protect them

Dogs with the disease will be put on a drip and given intravenous fluids to stop them from becoming dehydrated.

They may also be given drugs to help control vomiting, which also helps to prevent dehydration.

If a dog with parvo has caught a secondary infection as a result of a weakened immune system, they may be given antibiotics.

Annmarie said: ‘He was playing normally then started to retch and was sick. To be on the safe side we contacted the vet who told us it could just be that he was settling in to his new environment. Later that night he was sick again so we took him in to the 24-hour vet.

‘The vets found Angus had a temperature and gave him an anti-sickness injection. We took him home and put him in his crate.

‘In the morning he was so lethargic, I just knew something was seriously wrong so we took him back to the vet immediately.

‘Angus was sick again while at the vets so they ran some tests and it turned out he had parvovirus.

‘We had no idea the disease could be fatal. The vets did all they could but there was nothing else they could do. His wee body couldn’t fight any longer so they had to put him to sleep.

‘Caitlyn was on her knees, absolutely devastated. It was awful.’ 

The owner has chosen to share her story as a warning to others about heartless puppy breeders operating during the pandemic.

Annmarie added: ‘I called the breeder and spoke to them but after that initial call, they disappeared. The phone number was no longer connected, the adverts disappeared, everything. And, of course, the paperwork he’d handed over was fake too.

‘We ended up paying almost £1,000 for vet bills which was a huge cost to us. But that’s nothing compared to the emotional cost to all of us. We would do anything to have him back.

‘This has just been the most heartbreaking experience for me and my girls. I just keep thinking about little Angus and all the other animals like him and the people and children affected by these disgusting low-welfare dealers.’

Welfare groups say that lockdown has increased the global demand for puppies — not just in Britain. 

Significant steps have been taken in Britain to clamp down on the activities of our own puppy farmers. In April 2020 Lucy’s Law, named after a rescued Cavalier King Charles spaniel, was passed in England, making it illegal for breeders to sell puppies through third parties.

Annmarie said the 'disgusting' breeders simply 'disappeared' as she tried to get in touch with them, while the documents which arrived with the dog turned out to be fake

Annmarie said the ‘disgusting’ breeders simply ‘disappeared’ as she tried to get in touch with them, while the documents which arrived with the dog turned out to be fake

The Dogs Trust — a canine welfare group — has noticed a massive increase in the number of unscrupulous sellers trying to cash in on the lockdown demand. 

Dr Samantha Gaines, the RSPCA’s dog welfare expert, said: ‘Last year saw demand for dogs soar with breeders, buyers and rescue centres reporting unprecedented interest and an inability to supply the market. This reported shortage of puppies has meant that we have also seen a rise in puppies coming from outside of the UK.

‘There’s now a worrying trend of breeding and importing puppies, which is a potentially exploitative and damaging trade with the possibility of life-long suffering in dogs.

‘Bringing a puppy into your home always requires careful consideration, but in 2021 it’s even more important to do your research so that you don’t get caught out by people acting illegally or irresponsibly.’ 

The Scottish SPCA has also seen a spike in the number of calls to its helpline around unwanted animals amid the pandemic. The rise in demand for puppies has led to an increase in the number of raids and seizures of pups from low-welfare puppy farms and dealers. 


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