Amanda Reid has three young children and aims to please, so when her daughter asked for a puppy for her birthday in August, she went looking on Kijiji in search of a beagle.
“My boyfriend mentioned they were super friendly, playful, so we thought ‘let’s look them up,'” said Reid.
When they found an ad for beagle puppies for $400 – within their price limit – three males and one female available, they messaged the seller and decided to meet him the same day. They admit they didn’t do much research.
They arranged to hand over the money and pick up the 11-week-old puppy in the parking lot of a shopping plaza at Major Mackenzie Drive and Woodbine Avenue, which the seller had suggested. There were no red flags, said Reid, except for the fact that the seller’s SUV and the puppy smelled of feces and urine.
“I just assumed the puppy had an accident in his car. The puppy mill idea never popped into my head,” Reid added.
She could not remember the name of the seller and said the Kijiji ad has since been removed.
- U.K. man gets life sentence after drunkenly telling police ‘what happened’ at murder scene
- Carson Briere charged with shoving woman’s wheelchair down stairs
- Buster Murdaugh denies involvement in death of teen found near family home
- Heightened police presence at Bradford, Ont. high school to continue as officers investigate threat
“He told me they were fully vaccinated and de-wormed. He gave me a vaccine card and I didn’t look at it because I’d seen that they had the checkmarks for the vaccines. (When) I actually got home and looked at it, the vet paper was from the States,” Reid said, noting the puppy seemed shy and timid.
A few days later, after the beagle they named Trixie would not go outside and had an accident in the house, Reid noticed worms. She decided to take her puppy to the vet.
“It was so horrible. I was so traumatized. I got her in for a check-up.”
Reid said the veterinarian noticed the puppy had a bloated stomach and told her she needed to give the dog all her vaccines because the certificate provided by the seller seemed fake. They also gave her four doses of de-worming medicine over a two month period, and medication for fleas. It took about two months before the puppy was healthy.
Reid said she tried to reach the seller but his phone was disconnected, so she reported him to Kijiji.
When she saw that York Regional Police had charged two Markham men with animal abuse, fraud and forgery in relation to an alleged fraudulent vaccination scam involving beagles and saw the photos of the puppies released by investigators, she knew she too had been duped.
Reid says she spent close to $1,000 to treat the puppy who she has since given to her cousin, because her son is allergic to the dog.
“She was such a sweet loving puppy, her personality was so sweet and it was so sad to see her sick,” said Reid.
The mother said the two months during which she was treating the puppy were worrisome – she was afraid of her young children catching fleas, or touching the worms.
Read more: Abandoned, neglected cats and kittens at crisis level: Kingston, Ont. rescue organizations
Reid was relieved to hear that charges have been laid against Elisha Charles, 42, and Isaiah Charles, 20. Police say when they executed a search warrant at a residence on Castleview Crescent last week, they found 16 puppies in four small cages, amid horrendous living conditions.
“I’m completely heartbroken. I’m so sad. I’ve had puppies and animals my whole life. I could never imagine hurting them,” said Reid.
She regrets not doing more homework and says from now on, she will go to a registered breeder or a reputable shelter.
York Regional Police are asking anyone who believes they may have dealt with Elisha or Isaiah Charles to contact them.
Global News obtained surveillance video showing the home where police executed a search warrant – Reid said it appeared to be the same man, and believed it was the same vehicle she encountered.