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Puppy sold on Craigslist costs new owners $5,600 in vet bills

LITTLETON, Colo. -- A Littleton couple is out more than $5,000 after buying a puppy online without knowing it was sick.

Erica and Andrew Bohannon were looking for a puppy to add to their family and ended up finding one in the most unlikely of places.

“He just started looking at Craigslist one day and found these German shepherd puppies,” Erica Bohannon said.

The ad listed a litter of puppies for sale for $500 each.

The Bohannons said they contacted the seller and agreed to pick up the puppy from a neutral location.

They picked a male and named him Loki despite not being given papers or vaccination records. They were told he was 8 weeks old.

“We got home and he was very energetic. He was smelling everything,” Erica Bohannon said.

Within days, Loki was in the emergency room.

“The veterinarian comes in and he is just a limp noodle on my lap,” Erica Bohannon said.

According to the Bohannons, the veterinarian estimated Loki was really just 6 weeks old. Under Colorado law, puppies must be at least 8 weeks old before being adopted.

“[The vet] came back in and said this is a very sick dog,” Erica Bohannon said.

Loki tested positive for parvovirus. The virus is highly contagious among dogs and is often fatal in puppies.

Loki was kept in the hospital for five days while receiving treatment for the virus.

“It came to $5,629,” Erica Bohannon said.

The treatment was not an expense the newlyweds were planning to spend on a new puppy.

“You can’t say well just OK stop because we don’t have the means to do it anymore,” she said.

The Bohannons attempted to contact the seller for answers, but by the time Loki was diagnosed, the number was disconnected.

“I do think that he’s doing this on purpose, to make a quick 500 bucks per puppy and be on his way,” Erica Bohannon said.

Craigslist does not allow the sale of live animals, but does permit transfer of live animals with a “rehoming fee.” According to Craigslist’s terms of use, all activity is “at your own risk.”

The Bohannons said they learned a hard lesson and they hope Loki’s story will help others be more careful when buying puppies.

“Be really cautious and get the papers,” Erica Bohannon said. “Just be really careful. I don’t want this to happen to anybody else.”