DENVER -- Sick kittens have been sold on Craigslist for hundreds of dollars. Now local buyers warn people looking for pets listed online to beware.
There's no question Jayme Raichart is an animal lover, but her big black dog isn't the only one who's supposed to be greeting the family at the door.
“We're all heartbroken,” she said.
Pictured in drawings on the wall is their weeks-old kitten, now under the care of a veterinarian emergency room.
“This is thousands and thousands of dollars. Which is such a bizarre situation when you're like, OK, save an animal or done. We're just like, OK, we have to do everything,” Raichart said.
Raichart paid several hundred dollars for the kitten she found on Craigslist. The listing said the cat was a Ragdoll Maine Coon and the litter of 10 was up to date on vaccinations. Both claims, she has found, are untrue.
“It was a really big, drastic, downward spiral. She got sick very quickly,” she said of the kitten.
Raichart was told the kitten has feline distemper, a virus with a high mortality rate.
“Unfortunately, it’s such a hardy virus that it lives in your home, on surfaces for up to a year,” she said.
They tried to contact the seller to no avail. So they put an alert on Craigslist and found many others with the same story. Sick kittens, all bought from the same seller named Sarah near Interstate 25 and Hampden Road.
Raichart said at least seven of the kittens have died.
“This kitten mill or whatever you call it, is pretty elaborate in location, what they are calling the ad, what they are calling the breed, it’s all across the board. So it’s feeling really, really dangerous,” she said.
For Raichart, it’s not about the money, it's about the danger to the animals and everyone else involved.
“Even if she didn't know that the kittens had a virus that she didn't know she was giving this to everyone. She's lying about if they were vaccinated. Mostly I just want this shut down,” she said.
The woman who answered the door at the listed address for the seller said they were out of town for a few days this month and thinks someone else was selling kittens out of their home. She denied being a part of it.
Raichart said if you're going to buy pets online, make sure to ask for vet paperwork and proof of vaccinations to spare the heartache her family has been through.AlertMe