Young Wigan couple devastated by sudden deaths of two puppies bought online

An investigation into what happened is now under way.

Saturday, 15th May 2021, 4:45 am
Ellie-May Willan, from Orrell, holding a picture of the two puppies which died

Ellie-May Willan and her boyfriend Cameron Moss were left distraught when chocolate Labradors Bertie and Ernie died within a few days of each other less than a week after they were brought home in March.

The vet also found that Ernie tested positive for the deadly parvovirus and it is feared that the puppy was sold to Ellie-May and Cameron with the disease.

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The two chocolate Labrador puppies which died

The company says it has already taken action against the account which sold the puppies and the matter should be reported to Trading Standards and the police.

Ellie-May, 19, said: “We fell in love with Bertie and then went back to get his brother.

“We had to have our family dog put to sleep and the vet took Bertie in to look after him while we were getting through that.

“When they checked him over they knew something wasn’t right but weren’t sure what was wrong. The next day he just died.

“We took Ernie to the vet straight away and he tested positive for parvovirus. Because of the incubation period the breeder must have sold us this puppy ill. He passed away too on March 14, two days after Bertie.

“It has been a massive, massive shock. We were so excited to get the puppies. We had spent money on them and completely kitted them out with everything they needed.

“It all just had to go in the bin because of the parvovirus. Our families have dogs and we had to keep them safe.”

Ellie-May, from Orrell, said she told the breeder she bought Bertie and Ernie from about the parvovirus test but was then unable to get back in touch with them.

She and Cameron, 21, picked up the two puppies from an address in Bolton.

Pets 4Homes says it takes a zero-tolerance policy towards sellers not following rules and is now looking into the person who sold Ellie-May and Cameron the two young Labradors.

A spokesperson said: “As the UK’s largest platform of its type, helping 2,500 pets find loving homes each day and with seven million monthly online visitors, Pets4Homes prioritises animal welfare above all else and is committed to ensuring the safe rehoming of animals.

“At present, only 0.4 per cent of pet rehomings require a subsequent discussion with our Trust and Safety team, and only a proportion of these are concerns which warrant further action.

“However, one rogue seller attempting to exploit our platform - and the good intentions of our users - is one too many.

“Like any online platform that connects buyers with sellers, Pets4Homes’ primary role is to facilitate initial contact, but we go above and beyond legal requirements when it comes to connecting pet lovers to those with animals in need of homes: enforcing strict listing rules, offering an in-platform ‘report’ function, as well as a 24-hour Trust and Safety Task Force dedicated to resolving concerns.

“Apart from our Trust and Safety team and our safeguarding tools, the vigilance of our community plays a crucial part in highlighting sellers that should be investigated and potentially removed from the platform.

“Therefore, we are grateful to Ellie-May for having alerted us to this issue, and can confirm that the seller’s account has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.

“We have urged Ellie-May to notify police and Trading Standards, or give us permission to contact Animal Protection Services on her behalf, so that a formal investigation is triggered and we are then able to hand over all of our documentation on this case.

“In the rare instances of similar issues in the past, we have worked closely with the RSPCA, local councils, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, C.A.R.I.A.D., the police and Animal Protection Services.”

Ellie-May said people should always check they are buying pets from responsible sellers.

She said: “Our mistake was that we let our hearts rule our heads.

“We’ve been looking again and we’ve been making sure the people are fully registered and compliant. The breeders have wanted to know about us and the life we are going to give the dogs.

“The people who sold us Bertie and Ernie just handed the two puppies over.”

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