An influencer has urged pet owners to do their research before buying puppies online after the Pomeranian she bought through a Russian Instagram seller died after just days in her care.
Nail artist Sarah Woods, from Liverpool, who boasts nearly 39,000 followers on Instagram, was left distraught when the Pomeranian puppy she bought was delivered malnourished, underweight and covered in her own excrement.
The £3,000 puppy, named Sushi, was dropped off at Sarah’s home in the middle of the night in a van packed with other cages.
The ownership papers handed over with the dog stated she had been travelling for 30 hours and Sarah questioned whether she had been given food or water during that time. Sushi was taken to a vet, but died a few days later.
Sarah Woods, a nail artist from Liverpool, has revealed her distress after a ‘puppy farm’ breeder delivered a Pomeranian starving to death and covered in faeces after she bought the dog for £3,000
Sushi, pictured, was covered in faeces, malnourished, and refused to eat when she arrived at Sarah’s home
The nail artist initially fell in love with Sushi after the breeder, located in Russia, sent her a picture of the pup, saying she was 4-months-old
Sarah shared her ordeal on Instagram, revealing the seller sent her a string of distressing messages blaming her and the vet for the dog’s death, and then offering to send another puppy at a discounted price.
Now Sarah wants to warn others not to buy imported puppies, which can still be legally bought from irresponsible overseas breeders.
‘I’m sorry to say that we were sadly uneducated on what to do when buying a new puppy and knowing what I know now, I want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else or any other dog,’ Sarah said.
‘We were recommended this seller from a friend and everything seemed fine until the day Sushi was delivered to us.
‘The suffering she must have endured is horrendous, not to mention the conditions her parents must still be kept in. I’m heartbroken and will not rest until we have justice for her.
After Sushi’s death, Sarah was sent a series of abusive and insensitve messages from the seller, who refused to share information about Sushi
‘Lucy’s Law means that you should always physically see the puppy interacting with its mother in their place of birth,’ she added.
‘When puppies are legally imported, this obviously can’t ever happen, so these sellers (usually advertising on Instagram) are profiting huge amounts from the sale and suffering of these puppies every day.
‘Sushi’s seller made us feel like we were fully responsible for her death, when it was a miracle she even made it to us alive,’ she added.
Sarah also brought attention to an e-petition to ban the exploitative import of young puppies for sale in the UK, which has already gathered 118,748 signatures.
Please everyone – do your research, consider rescue dog adoption, sign and share the #BanPuppyImports petition, and if you know of any sellers or breeders in your area running similar operations – please report them to your local authorities so they can be investigated ASAP.”
Writing on Instagram, Sarah explained she had wanted a Pomeranian because a relative had bought one and found the breeder through ‘word of mouth’. Sarah was sent a video claiming to be the puppy she bought, although she believes Sushi was actually a different puppy.
However she admitted she was ‘uneducated’ in the signs she should look for to check the dog was healthy and being raised by a responsible breeder.
She said in an Instagram video: ‘Unfortunately we did pick a Russian breeder for our puppy. To be honest, I think it was just the case of being uneducated.
‘The breeder never asked how many we were in the house, how many were going to be at home with the puppy, or whether the house we lived in was puppy-safe.’
The puppy was dropped off at the house Sarah shares with her boyfriend and the nail artist was immediately concerned by her appearance.
Lucy’s Law to put an end to puppy farming
‘Lucy’s Law’ means that anyone wanting to get a new puppy or kitten in England must now buy direct from a breeder, or consider adopting from a rescue centre instead. Licensed dog breeders are required to show puppies interacting with their mothers in their place of birth. If a business sells puppies or kittens without a licence, they could receive an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to six months.
The law is named after Lucy, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who was rescued from a puppy farm where she was subjected to terrible conditions. Puppy farms are located across the UK with most depending on third-party sellers or ‘dealers’ to distribute often sick, traumatised, unsocialised puppies which have been taken away from their mother at just a few weeks old.
This often involves long-distance transportation, with the puppy or kitten suffering life-threatening medical, surgical, or behavioural problems which are passed on to unsuspecting new owners. Lucy’s Law effectively removes the third-party dealer chain, resulting in all dog and cat breeders becoming accountable for the first time.
However it is still legal to buy puppies and kittens from overseas breeders.
‘Our poor baby arrived with tear stains, matted fur, covered in faeces, vomiting and diarrhoea,’ she wrote. ‘Our puppy was provided with food and water on arrival. She drank small amounts of water but was refusing to eat.’
When she received the puppy, the nail artist said she was struck by how ‘weak’ and sickly the dog appeared.
She explained: ‘She wouldn’t walk for more than ten seconds and it was a very slow walk and she just wanted to be curled up in a ball again.’
The puppy’s papers stated Sushi had been in transit for 30 hours before she reached her UK destination. Sarah was unsure if the pup had received food or water during her journey, and the seller would not confirm whether it had been the case.
Terrified for her dog, Sarah rushed the pup to her local vet, who said the puppy was ‘malnourished, underweight’ and just two-and-a-half months old. Sushi spent the next two days at the clinic on a drip before she recovered enough to make it back home.
After the dog returned from the local vet hospital, Sarah and her boyfriend were instructed to feed the puppy every four hours.
‘Can you imagine the stress for us to bring this puppy home trying to keep it alive?’ she said in her video.
The nail artist became increasingly upset and distressed about the dog, knowing that she likely wouldn’t recover.
She explained: ‘I felt so helpless like, “What can I do more to help you?”. She gave up, she just knew she didn’t want to be there.
Sarah admitted that the situation got the best of her and that she grew increasingly ‘frustrated’ with the dog and herself, but said: ‘It’s not this dog’s fault that she is suffering so much.’
She explained in the video that she did not want to be around the dog because she ‘subconsciously knew’ the poor pup would not make it. Sadly, Sushi later died.
Sarah is now determined to raise awareness of puppy farms and wants to warn others not to buy from dealers that import puppies from overseas breeder
Sarah shared screenshots of her confronting the seller over the treatment of Sushi. The seller mocked Sarah when she asked questions about the dog’s care in transit before offering a replacement puppy at a discounted price.
Breaking down on the video, Sarah added: ‘I can’t help but feel guilt and people who love dog are probably watching this like “Are you for real, how could you be so stupid, why would you buy a puppy without doing your research?”. I feel so stupid.’