Family Devastated After Puppy Bought In Pub Car Park Dies Within 12 Hours
Damian Burwitz and his wife Kelly travelled from Biggleswade in Bedfordshire to Birmingham, having found a puppy for sale online. But when they arrived there had been a mix-up, and the dog had already been sold to someone else.
Reluctant to travel all the way home empty-handed, the couple began searching online for other puppies for sale in the area, finding one advertised for £500 ($655).
They contacted the seller who said his landlord wouldn't allow him to keep the puppy, which was staying at his mum's. He added that he would drop the price to £350 ($459) for a 'quick sale' and so they decided to buy her.
Speaking to The Mirror, 52-year-old Damian said: "We agreed to meet in a pub car park.
"We were told she was an eight-week-old chocolate Labrador. She didn't look unhealthy just a little quiet and withdrawn.
"It didn't ring alarm bells at the time. We were just excited about getting a dog.
"It was only on the journey home we began voicing our concerns to each other."
The couple noticed the pup - who they named Leia - seemed increasingly subdued as the two-and-a-half-hour journey home progressed, so they decided to book her an appointment at the vet for the next morning.
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Upon their arrival back home, sons Lucas, then 10, and Oliver, then 7, immediately fell in love with Leia; however, she soon began throwing up.
Damian, who works as a client relationship manager for a bank, said: "We were pretty new to dog ownership and assumed it was the car journey that caused her to be unwell."
But things got worse through the night and they rushed her to the vet as soon it opened in the morning. There, Leia was diagnosed with canine parvovirus, and put to sleep.
Canine parvovirus, commonly known as parvo, is a highly contagious virus that is often deadly if not treated.
Subsequent attempts to contact the seller came to nothing and the family have been left heartbroken.
Damian said: "My youngest still cries when he looks at a photo he kept of her. She was our first family dog.
"It wasn't a long time that she was with us, but enough to make an emotional connection."
Paula Boyden, Dogs Trust's veterinary director, said: "It is absolutely heartbreaking that we continue to see dogs being illegally imported into the country, often in terrible conditions to make huge profits for cruel puppy smugglers.
"Sadly, it's all too easy to be dogfished and it can be very difficult to know if you are buying a puppy that has been smuggled."
Featured Image Credit: Damian Burwitz