A ‘fake’ Jack Russell sold for almost £1,000 turned out to be a newborn Border Collie who died just two weeks later.
Heartless puppy dealers handed over Milo in exchange for £920, despite being far too young to be separated from his mum.
The new owners were ‘completely fooled’ into believing the black-and-white pup was eight weeks old, when it was actually born just one month ago.
Milo died on Tuesday, just a fortnight after being bought on Gumtree.com as a gift for a 12-year-old girl, who was left heartbroken.
Milo didn’t know how to feed and became sick after being given dog food without being weaned.
The sellers used coronavirus restrictions as an excuse for the owners not being able to see the dog’s mother before the exchange, something that’s always advised for buyers.
Just 24 hours after the sale, Milo was rushed to a vet and treated for a week.
The dog was returned home but was rushed to a vet again days later and eventually succumbed to its ill health.
Milo’s owner, who has asked to remain anonymous, said a smartly-dressed man arrived at their home in Lanarkshire, Scotland, with false vaccination papers.
They also said he had a ‘burner phone’ – used by drug dealers to avoid being traced by authorities.
The owner said: ‘We were told we couldn’t meet Milo with his mother due to the restrictions around coronavirus.
‘The seller went into detail about safety measures and we were completely fooled. He came across as a polite gentleman who was dressed smartly.
‘He even brought a pouch of dog food and told us to call him in a few weeks. The number he gave us did not work and we are told it was from a burner phone.
‘It was obvious that Milo wasn’t a Jack Russell and was clear he wasn’t being looked after. We didn’t have the heart to send him back. We gave him a cosy bed and water.
‘An hour later he had diarrhoea. We took him to bed with us and the next morning this continued as well as vomiting so we took him straight to the vets.’
The vet initially suspected Milo had parvovirus – a highly contagious disease that can be fatal to dogs.
But it was later revealed the dog had worms from not being weaned properly.
The owner added: ‘He was so young he should still have been being fed by his mother, so his stomach was in bits.
‘He wouldn’t eat or drink as he hadn’t learned how to yet. I just kept thinking we were supposed to buy him to save his life.
‘Milo was a gift for my 12-year-old granddaughter who is absolutely heartbroken.’
Animal welfare charity the Scottish SPCA warned how puppy dealers were using the pandemic restrictions to trick the public.
Chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: ‘We are saddened to hear of Milo’s passing and our thoughts are with his owner who did everything possible to save him.
‘We are warning the public to be extra vigilant when buying a puppy and not to accept any excuse not to see the puppy with mum.”