Family seeks to raise awareness of backyard breeders
What started as a happy adoption of a first puppy for one Elkhart family ended tragically only one day later.
According to Brittany and Brad Brosamer, the couple decided to adopt their first dog after finding the perfect pup, a lab collie mix, in a Craigslist posting online. The couple agreed to meet with a woman at the Kmart parking lot in Warsaw, and when they arrived, they were given their puppy from the back of a silver truck.
The woman seemed friendly and supplied vaccination paperwork from Tractor Supply Co. The pup also seemed friendly, according to Brittany Brosamer, so the couple had no worries as they drove away with their new fur friend. They named him Brody and introduced him to their three children who quickly became attached to their newest family member.
Tragedy struck the next day however when Brittany discovered their new dog to be terribly sick. After sending her son to his first day at school, she visited the vet where she received news that the dog had an “extreme” case of Parvo and would need to be euthanized that day.
The Brosamers and their vet both attempted to contact the woman who had sold them the dog, but no calls were returned or answered according to Brittany. Infuriated over the loss of their new pet, the heartbreak for their children and the cost of the vet bills, Brittany took to Craigslist to attempt to warn others who may potentially buy from the same woman.
“It hit our 6-year-old son really hard,” explained Brittany. “He went to school with a puppy and came home and didn’t have one.”
After posting warnings to Craigslist, the Brosamers found several others who stated they believed they had been duped by the same woman and recounted similar tales of meeting a woman driving a silver van in Warsaw at Big R and Kmart parking lots. Brittany said seven others stated they had also bought puppies with Parvo.
The Brosamers contacted police about the woman’s operation, but her number had been disconnected. The couple was advised to seek a civil claim.
Instead, Brittany is now seeking to raise awareness with others who may be similarly duped into buying sick dogs.
Tracy Landis, president and founder of S.C.A.R.S. Pitbull Rescue noted the dangers of buying from potential “puppy mills” or backyard breeders, stating buyers are “asking for trouble.
“More often than not, these puppies are being taken away from mom at 6 weeks, sometimes even younger, and sold or given away unvaccinated. There is a very short window of time around the 6 week old mark that puppies lose their antibodies against Parvo and other diseases that they got from the mom in the first few days of life,” explained Landis. “Without the puppy shots, they are vulnerable.”
Landis noted that Parvo is especially deadly to puppies and that though it is legal in the state of Indiana to sell or give away puppies at 6 weeks old, she does not advise buyers to buy dogs who are younger than 10-12 weeks of age. This extra time with the mothers, she explains, allows the puppies time to learn necessary behaviors and it time for the breeder to provide them with vaccinations.
“I have seen a lot of instances lately of people buying puppies off of CraigsList or getting ‘free pets’ from Facebook postings, newspaper, etc. that are sick and dying,” stated Landis. “The woman that is selling the sick puppies is not only causing heartache to those people that have bought these puppies, she is also putting every animal that comes in contact with those puppies or anywhere that they use the bathroom at risk of contracting the disease. She obviously has no regard for the animals if she is taking them from mom too early, not giving them at least their first puppy shot and giving them to whoever has the money or wants them.”
Landis added, “Until people quit buying from puppy mills or backyard breeders, they will continue to breed and continue to sell sick or at-risk puppies. Intentionally selling sick animals is illegal. Adopting an animal from your local humane society or rescue is the best course where adoption fees include the spay/neuter and shots. If a person choses to buy from puppy mills/backyard breeders, ask questions,” encouraged Landis. “If they cannot produce shot records, run!”