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Owner warns of online puppy farm scam after dog’s death

Paulina Majerowska was left heartbroken after buying a puppy on Gumtree which died five days later.

'Heartbreaking': Daisy contracted parvovirus. STV

A woman has warned of the dangers of buying animals online after her new puppy suddenly died from a deadly virus.

Paulina Majerowska bought the Chihuahua, which she named Daisy, after seeing an advert on Gumtree.

Just five days later she learned that Daisy had contracted parvovirus, causing her health to quickly deteriorate.

The dog was put to sleep in the following days, and Ms Majerowska believes her family fell victim to an online puppy farm scam.

She told how she had contacted the seller on Gumtree during March who said he was in the area and and would take the puppy straight to them.

Ms Majerowska, of Sauchie, Clackmannanshire, told STV News: “We bought her on the Sunday all happy and jumping about and then by Friday she wasn’t able to walk.

“When she was dropped off I had asked where the vet’s book was, to see the vaccinations which she was meant to have had.

“He was like ‘oh I’ve forgot I’m so sorry, I’ve got your address I’ll send it to you’.

“We had a puppy in our hands, our wee girl was playing with it, I wouldn’t have been able to give it back – so I was just like ‘right OK’.”

A few days later Ms Majerowska messaged the man but he never replied and when she called, his phone was always switched off.

She noticed Daisy had diarrhoea but she just put that down to the stress of travelling as she was still full of energy. However, by Thursday, she became extremely poorly.

The family took Daisy to the vet hospital where they were told she had contracted parvovirus – an extremely contagious disease that can be brought on from the stress of being pulled away from the mum and travelling.

Ms Majerowska said: “Over the night it got so much worse.

“She was peeing underneath herself, she was trying to stand but was wobbly and falling over.

“I mean she was 900g. Seeing that small tiny thing falling over because it couldn’t walk was just heartbreaking.”

She added: “We were pretty devastated, just angry.

“Sad that we’d been lied to. I felt like a bit of my heart was just taken away.

“I felt helpless because I wanted to do anything for that puppy but I knew there was nothing that we could do.

“The vet said even with all the money, Daisy wouldn’t survive because she already lost 50g in one night.

“She wasn’t even conscious and awake, her head was falling over and her eyes were rolling.

“I didn’t want her to suffer anymore.

“We’re just trying to warn people that stuff like this happens because we would never think that would happen to us.”

A recent appeal launched by the Scottish SPCA claims thousands of puppies are being shipped into Scotland illegally with many dying within days.

The charity has warned of the dangers of buying dogs online after noticing a spike in illegal puppy farming since Christmas.

Staff told how distressed new owners are phoning their helpline daily to say they have bought a puppy which has suddenly died.

A specialist officer told STV News: “We’re really trying to tackle it at source stop these animals from coming in from Ireland but we’re seeing a massive rise in the amount of animals coming over from Ireland whose welfare and health is compromised so the spread of disease is rife.

“But these animals are coming in because there is a demand.

“So it’s supply and demand if you’re going to buy these pups then they’re going to sell them because the profit is massive.

“These people don’t care that they’re going to sell you a pup that’s going to die they just care that you’ve hand them £500.

“We normally see a spike before Christmas but we have seen a rise continually and it’s not dropping and we’re really trying to tackle it but it’s so massive the amount of pups that are being brought in to Scotland.

“Thousands and thousands pups are being brought in and sold and lots and lots of these pups are really ill and dying.

“That pup may look ok but the stress of it being pulled away from mum and the travelling within 48 hours at most that’s when you’re going to start seeing parvovirus – you’re going to start seeing things are not right with this pup.”

Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious and very serious disease that is often deadly if left untreated.

The virus attacks the intestines and immune systems of affected puppies and dogs, making them weak and unable to absorb essential nutrients from food.

Signs of parvovirus usually begin five to seven days after infection, but can range from two to fourteen days.

Initially, signs include:

A high temperature

Having less energy

Being off their food

From 24-48 hours there may be:


Diarrhoea (often severe and with blood in it)

Dogs with parvo become dehydrated very quickly and it is vital that you contact your vet for advice immediately.

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