Animal shelters warn sick puppies are being sold on Craigslist

WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- Craigslist is a place to buy virtually anything. But some Coloradans are buying a lot of heartache.

Shelters across the metro area are reporting people are illegally selling puppies on Craigslist. These animals eventually end up deathly ill and in their care.

The Westminster Police Department said people looking for a deal on a dog usually end up spending way more than they expected in vet bills and undue stress.

Kayla Brown was looking for a companion for her 11-year-old pug, Mark, and she thought she had found the perfect one on Craigslist for $420.

But the problems started when she brought him home.

“He did not walk right. He was still stumbling. He was not eating solid food and had the runs. Right away, I knew something was wrong," Brown said.

A veterinarian told her he was very sick and just 5 weeks old. State law requires animals be healthy and at least 8 weeks old before they can be sold or adopted.

It would cost more than Brown could afford to heal the pug puppy.

"I was a hot mess. I hugged that puppy with all my might. I just wanted to give him all my love," she said.

But she knew the puppy needed someone who knew how to take care of him, so she gave him up. But she didn't give up her determination to stop the illegal seller.

She recorded an encounter with them man who sold her the sick pug in Westminster this summer.

"How old is he? Eight weeks. Do you have the shot records for that?" Brown asks.

Brown secretly recorded him trying to sell another sick and underaged pug to her friend. She asks him about the dog’s shot records, but he tells her he forgot to bring them.

Video shows the tiny puppy suckling on the man's finger.

"I think it is about greed," Westminster Animal Management supervisor Kelli Jelen said.

She said the same man who Brown caught on camera also sold a husky puppy that was ill.

"The puppy was extremely sick. The owners who purchased it relinquished it because of the medical care, which can cost thousands," Jelen said.

It too was just 5 weeks old. It’s now in foster care in Boulder. Jelen said the laws exist for a reason -- for the health and safety of the animals and  new owners.

Veterinarians recovered ticks from both puppies that carried Lyme disease. The animals were not infected.

“The puppies are lucky and so are the humans,” Jelen said.

"Since I'm out of the money, I'm done," Brown said.

She said Mark will now have to do without a furry friend for now.

"I definitely would go through a rescue first," she said.

Police said before buying a pet on Craigslist, make sure the person has a state license to sell animals. Also, make sure the seller has vaccination and medical records to make sure the animal is healthy.