The Massachusetts SPCA is reminding would-be pet owners of the risks from buying animals online after one such puppy was found to have serious health defects.
Boston-based MSPCA-Angell recently received a 9-week-old Chihuahua puppy that was bought online after the dog showed signs of a neurological disorder that left it unable to see or walk.
Veterinarians examined the pooch, named Spike by its previous owners, and said that it likely has congenital brain damage.
Spike is just one example of the "epidemic" that comes from online dog purchases, the organization says, where those animals are more likely to have health problems.
“We receive dozens of dogs every year at our adoption centers and veterinary hospital who were purchased online and surrendered after the transaction is complete and the animal shows signs of significant health problems,” Alyssa Krieger, manager of the MSPCA’s Boston adoption center, said in a statement.
Krieger encourages people to first adopt homeless animals in shelters. Or, if they choose to buy from a breeder, to avoid online purchases, so you can inspect where the puppies are living.
“It’s really important to see where the puppies are raised, view veterinary records and meet not just the puppies but their parents — and the people raising the animals — before purchasing," she said.
Those interested in how to properly review a breeder can refer to the MSPCA's information here.
In the meantine, the organization is still looking for someone to adopt Spike.
“He will likely need to live in a home that is one floor or with secure baby gates across any stairs — and preferably with someone who has the patience and dedication to help him adapt to life despite his challenges,” said Andrea Bessler, who also works at the MSPCA-Angell.
Still, Spike is sure to make a loving pet for the right home, Bessler said. She has been keeping the puppy in her home so that it isn't subjected to stress in the shelter.
"He loves to cuddle and shows affection in his own way," she said.
Anyone interested in adopting Spike can email email@example.com for more information.