A SHETLAND woman has had to pay over £150 in vets bills after a puppy she bought from Aberdeenshire at the weekend turned out to be from a suspected illegal dog farm raided by the SSPCA.
Karri Ramsay has spoken about her experience in a bid to make more people do their research before buying a pet.
Local vets diagnosed Charlie the beagle with pneumonia after he arrived in Shetland and confirmed that he currently has a 50/50 chance of survival.
More than 100 animals – including around 90 dogs – were seized by officers on Tuesday from the East Mains of Ardlogie farm near Fyvie, which is thought to be operating without a licence.
It is thought that a number of dogs bought by Shetlanders in the last few years may have come from puppy farms, with many arriving in the isles in poor health.
Karri shelled out £500 on a young beagle dog she spotted on a classified adverts website and thought the sale seemed genuine.
Her boss was heading south at the weekend so she arranged for him to pick the puppy up.
But she said suspicions were raised when he and a colleague went out a dirt track road and met the seller walking from her house, meaning they weren't able to look inside.
Karri collected the puppy off the boat on Monday morning from her boss but noticed instantly that the dog wasn't in the best shape.
"When I got him I could tell straight away he was quite poorly," she said on Thursday.
"I got the vet out to him and he has had antibiotics and has been treated for pneumonia. I messaged the woman to ask her if she'd noticed that he'd had a cough, and he had quite bad skin that was all flaky. She said the reason was that she put Shake N' Vac on her carpet and he had an allergic reaction.
"But obviously yesterday on the news was that Fyvie had been raided for a puppy farm, and it was the exact same location that they picked up the puppy from."
Karri contacted the SSPCA to raise her concerns and they confirmed that the dog's pick-up location was one of the places raided.
An officer who led the operation is quoted as saying that it was clear that the conditions of the farm fell "below the required standard in terms of animal welfare".
Karri said she has already had to pay £150 towards antibiotics and a vet's call-out, while vaccinations and de-worming medication is likely to add on another couple of hundred pounds.
"The vets have also said that he is really ill, and that he's basically got a 50/50 chance of surviving," Karri added.
The Shetlander said the seller made it look "so genuine" and sent her photos of the dog along with snaps of the animal's mum and dad.
"I spoke to her on the phone too," Karri continued. "She told me that he was the cuddly one, and he was really greedy and steals all the other puppies' food. She made it sound so believable.
"I just had no idea, and it's really upsetting seeing the puppy in the condition he's in. I thought it might be an idea to say something and it might kind of advise other people if they're thinking of getting any kind of pet really, just to make sure that they know exactly where they're coming from and do a lot of research.
"I did do a bit but probably not enough, and probably if I had done a little bit more, I would have maybe been more careful. I might have noticed something was up."
An SSPCA undercover inspector commented: "The Scottish SPCA special investigations unit tackles a number of large scale investigations involving animal cruelty across Scotland.
"Our current priority is tackling the cruel and illegal puppy trade, which puts profit before animal welfare, under the banner of Operation Delphin.
"Operation Delphin is a multi-agency approach to tackling this horrific trade by detecting offenders, disrupting illicit trade and reducing animal suffering.
"The society is currently running an online campaign urging the public to #SayNoToPuppyDealers and spread awareness about the health issues associated with puppies bought from puppy farms."