What to look for: More Valley pet owners warning potential puppy buyers

Here are some of the warning signs before you buy a new dog.

It's a heartbreaking story we've heard before.

“It's heart-wrenching just seeing how quickly she declined and having to do what we did,” Jesse Orozco told 12 news.

The Orozco family have become part of a growing number of pet owners who believe they’ve been scammed by bad backyard breeders selling dogs online.

After airing a story on another Valley family whose Chihuahua puppy died after being bought from a breeder selling dogs online -- we received an outpouring of messages from people with similar experiences.

Orozco says days after he paid $2,000 to buy their dog, Doleigh, from a breeder who advertised selling pure-bred English Bulldogs online, the puppy became severely ill.

After five days in the hospital and close to $8,000 dollars in treatment, Doleigh had to be put down.

 “I'm angry,” said Jesse’s wife Taylor Orozco. “I almost want justice for my dog and the other dogs they're breeding.”

The vet said Doleigh died due to parvo, a deadly disease the breeder claimed Doleigh had been vaccinated for.  

“I have 4 different vets telling us it was highly likely that she was sick when we got her,” said Taylor.

Once Doleigh started getting sick the Orozco's contacted the breeder.

They say at first he seemed concerned and offered to take the dog to his vet but refused to give them any contact information for the alleged doctor.

The breeder wanted them to drop Doleigh off then he would relay information from the vet but they would not be allowed to know who the vet is or speak with them.

That’s when the family says they demanded answers and the breeder cut off all contact.

“He then blocked me on his phone and he removed me from his Facebook page and also changed the name of his Facebook page,” Taylor said.

They showed us screen grabs of the original Facebook page they purchased Doleigh through which has since disappeared.

The Orozco’s then showed us a new Facebook page the breeder had set up with a new name but the same contact information and many of the same pictures.

The breeder was now offering up a new litter of puppies available later this week.

“There are amazing reputable breeders out there but those breeders are not selling their dogs on Craigslist,” said Michael Morefield of the Arizona Animal Welfare League.

Morefield says potential pet owners need to be aware of the warning signs.

“They don't let you go to the home and see where the animals are living, they don't let you meet the parent, they don't let you verify the paperwork,” Morefield said.

We tried calling and messaging the breeder who sold Doleigh but after several attempts he blocked our calls and completely took down his newest Facebook page.

“If they're in it just for the money they’re not going to vaccinate, they’re not going to take them to the veterinarian,” said Morefield.

He says buyers need to look for transparency and that a reputable shelter like the AAWL or other agency will always have verifiable health records and should be able to answer all your questions.

The Orozco's say they later noticed Doleigh's vaccination papers didn’t have any verifiable vet info and showed us how the documents verifying her breed were from Mexico.

Morefield always encourages people to adopt rather than buy which can save the lives of many animals.

The Orozco’s now want to warn others about making sure to do their research and ask the breeder questions, saying if something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.

“They're going to do what they can to make a dollar and they don't care if they hurt someone in the process,” Orozco said.

While many states including Arizona have a “Puppy Lemon Law” it’s up to the buyer to pursue it.

Many choose not to due to adding thousands of dollars in legal fees to the money they’ve already lost.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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