A family that fell victim to cruel “dog fishermen” was left devastated when their adorable new puppy died within 12 hours.
Father of two Damian Burwitz, 43, from Biggleswade, shared how little Leia had an immediate impact on his two sons, who fell in love with the Chocolate Labrador when he and wife Kelly brought her home.
But the next morning, the concerned couple took the puppy to the vets when she didn’t stop vomiting, where she was diagnosed with parvo, a highly contagious virus, and put to sleep.
Damian said that his youngest son Oliver, then seven, is still crying when he looks at a photo he kept of her.
Father of two Damian Burwitz, 43, shared how little Leia (pictured together) had an immediate impact on his two sons, who fell in love with the Chocolate Labrador when he and wife Kelly brought her home
“She was our first family dog,” he said Mirror. “It was not long with her, but enough to make an emotional connection.”
Damian and Kelly drove from their Bedfordshire home to Birmingham to buy a puppy they had seen for sale online.
But when they arrived, they discovered that a mix-up had occurred and the dog they wanted had been sold.
Wanting their trip not to be wasted and desperate not to return home to sons Oliver and Lucas, who were 10 at the time, empty-handed, they looked online again to see if there were any other dogs for sale in the area.
Damian and Kelly (photo with sons Oliver and Lucas) drove from Biggleswade in Befordshire to buy a puppy they had seen for sale online, but after a confusion they found an alternative seller nearby
They found a Chocolate Labrador puppy with an asking price of £ 500 and contacted the owner who told him he couldn’t keep the dog because of his landlord.
He added that the dog was staying with his mom, but she didn’t like visitors, so the couple agreed to meet him in a parking lot near a pub.
WHAT IS PARVO?
Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious and very serious disease that is often fatal if left untreated.
Dogs can become infected with parvo through direct contact with an infected dog, its poo or vomit, or anything that has itself come into contact with an infected dog, its poo or vomit.
The virus attacks the intestines and immune system of affected puppies and dogs, making them weak and unable to absorb essential nutrients from food.
Signs of parvovirus usually start five to seven days after infection, but can range from two to fourteen days.
Initially, the signs are a high temperature, less energy, and no food.
From 24-48 hours, there may be vomiting or diarrhea, often severe and with blood in it.
Dogs with parvo become dehydrated very quickly and it is essential that you contact your vet immediately for advice.
Vaccination is the most effective way to protect your dog against parvovirus. Your dog should have had a vaccination when he was a puppy, but he needs extra boosters regularly.
Information provided by The Kennel Club.
Damian, a customer relationship manager at a bank, said they were told the puppy was eight weeks old and that although she was “a little quiet and withdrawn” she didn’t look unhealthy.
They reached £ 350 for a quick sale and Damian admitted they didn’t suspect anything because they were ‘just excited about getting a dog.’
On the return trip, they decided to book Leia with the vet the next day for a check-up.
But within an hour of being home, the pup started vomiting – which Damian and Kelly had initially attributed to car sickness from the long drive.
When Leia failed to improve, they rushed her to the vets where they received the terrible news that nothing more could be done to save her.
The couple said they tried to contact the seller but received no response.
Unfortunately, the Burwitz family is not alone; Earlier this year, the British charity Dogs Trust issued a warning of a “dog fishing” scam after thousands of unsuspecting owners purchased illegally smuggled puppies organized by criminal gangs.
Dog fishing is a verb that means that someone is tricked into buying a dog, which may not be what it seems.
The organization revealed that many owners have been tricked or ‘dog-caught’ into buying illegal puppies that often have hidden health or behavioral issues, leaving them heartbroken and averaging nearly £ 500 out of pocket.
The charity added that thousands have fallen victim to illegal puppy smuggling, taking the animals from Central and Eastern European countries to the UK before reselling them with huge profits.
Paula Boyden, veterinary director of Dogs Trust, said at the time, “People think they are getting a healthy, happy puppy, but behind the curtain is the dark depth of the smuggling business.
Many of these poor puppies suffer from serious health or lifelong behavioral issues, and unfortunately some don’t survive, leaving their buyers helpless and heartbroken – and out of pocket.
“If it seems too good to be true, no matter how difficult it is, walk away and report it.”