Stark warning over the sale of sick pups

The Scottish SPCA has issued a stark warning to the public after a puppy bought on Gumtree passed away.

Thursday, 10th December 2020, 2:32 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th December 2020, 2:35 pm
Milo passed away after being admitted to Lanark Small Animal Hospital

Scotland’s animal welfare charity was contacted by the owner after their puppy, Milo, was admitted to Lanark Small Animal Hospital less than 24-hours after welcoming him in to their home.

The caller paid £920 for Milo who was advertised as an eight-week-old Jack Russell. The buyer asked to meet Milo’s mother and was told that it wasn’t possible due to current Covid-19 restrictions.

The seller then turned up at the buyer’s house in Lanarkshire, just 45 minutes after the call, with Milo.

Although the member of the public could see straight away that something was not right with Milo, they feared what would happen to him if they refused the sale.

Milo was taken to the vets the following morning and hospitalised the same day. He was there for nearly a week and then returned home before again being hospitalised a few days later.

It has been revealed that Milo was in fact a four-week-old border collie. His illness was due to being taken from his mother too young.

Milo’s owner said: “We were told we couldn’t meet Milo with his mother due to the restrictions around coronavirus. The seller went into detail about safety measures and we were completely fooled.

“He came across as a polite gentleman who was dressed smartly. He even brought a pouch of dog food and told us to call him in a few weeks. The number he gave us did not work and we are told it was from a burner phone.

“It was obvious that Milo wasn’t a Jack Russell and was clear he wasn’t being looked after. We didn’t have the heart to send him back.

“We gave him a cosy bed and water. An hour later he had diarrhoea. We took him to bed with us and the next morning this continued as well as vomiting so we took him straight to the vets.

“The vet first thought he had parvovirus and he was sent to the hospital. It turns out he was riddled with worms from not being weaned and put straight on dog food. He was so young he should still have been being fed by his mother, so his stomach was in bits.

“He wouldn’t eat or drink as he hadn’t learned how to yet. I just kept thinking we were supposed to buy him to save his life. Milo was a gift for my 12-year-old granddaughter who is absolutely heartbroken.”

Low welfare puppy dealers are increasingly using the pandemic as an excuse for the public not the meet puppies with their mothers.

Milo was originally listed with a white puppy who was relisted on Gumtree just an hour after Milo was purchased, under another name and in another area.

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We are saddened to hear of Milo’s passing and our thoughts are with his owner who did everything possible to save him.

“The public needs to remember that these low-welfare breeders are master manipulators and are skilled at deceiving people. No matter how plausible the excuse, do not accept it. You must see pup with mum, that is the bottom line.

“We would always advise adopting over buying a pet but those with their hearts set on buying a puppy should do their research and make sure they are buying from a responsible breeder.

“Although you may have to wait slightly longer, you will be getting a happy and healthy dog. Often in these cases puppies like Milo are taken from their mothers far too early and are not strong enough to survive.

“This case very sadly shows the reality of this abominable trade and the devastating consequences.

“We would advise that members of the public visit our #SayNoToPuppyDealers site to find out how to spot a low-welfare breeder.”

If you have any information relating to this case call the confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

To find out how to spot a low-welfare breeder visit