A family has said they ‘can’t face getting another dog’ after a puppy they bought off Gumtree died within 24 hours.

Poppy Smith, 25, from Slough, was looking to get a puppy for her stepdad when she spotted an ad for Springer Spaniel puppies being sold for £600 online.

After exchanging messages with the seller on the website Gumtree, Poppy and her partner arranged to meet them at an address.

But instead of being taken inside, the seller met them in the street holding the tiny dog in a crate.

Initially put off by the situation Poppy and her partner said they would go away and think about the purchase.

But after seeing the state of the puppy and after being told it had been vaccinated and microchipped, they decided to try and help it.

Poppy told TeamDogs: ‘We felt absolutely disgusted that we had left the poor puppy there and arranged to meet later on to collect him.’

The couple paid £400 in cash for the puppy and took it away with them.

But it was only when they got home that they realised just how poor a condition it was in.

Poppy said: ‘We got the puppy home and started finding lice, fleas, etc all over him. He was covered in dandruff and mites.

‘I gave him a good bath hoping that he was just dirty and needed a good clean and some proper TLC.’

She said the puppy was ‘very sleepy and not running around like most puppies’ do, but the family thought was just because it was missing its mum.

However, the next day they realised the puppy was desperately unwell.

Poppy said: ‘By the morning he had been sick twice which was a clear and speckled red colour.

‘We decided to go down to the vets and they booked him in for an emergency appointment.’

The vet diagnosed the puppy with Parvovirus, a twisted stomach and told the family it was unlikely to survive more than a couple of hours.

Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that attacks the intestines causing severe vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration.

Unvaccinated puppies less than six months old are especially susceptible.

The news meant the family had to make the difficult decision to put the puppy down.

Poppy said the experience had put the family off getting another one ‘anytime soon.’

She said: ‘We were just so saddened that we couldn’t help him. We tried our best and we loved him all the time he was in our care. We are still grieving this loss.

‘We won’t be getting (another dog) anytime soon more because it’s just so upsetting and we are still grieving the empty feeling you have after losing a puppy is unbearable and none of us is ready to go through it again.

‘This puppy was bought as a birthday present for my stepdad from my mum, who suffered a stroke four years ago.

‘It was to get some more life back in him and make him more active and have a responsibility.’

A spokesperson for Gumtree said the company took the welfare of animals ‘extremely seriously.’

They said: ‘All ads on our platform have a “report” button, which we strongly encourage prospective buyers to use immediately if they have any doubts or suspicions about a seller or any concerns about an animal’s welfare.

‘Reporting a suspicious advert or seller to us allows our dedicated trust and safety team to investigate and take any necessary action, such as removing the ad, blocking the offender from the site and assisting law enforcement to secure convictions.

‘We work with Pets Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) – the UK’s trade body covering online animal sales made up of 25 welfare organisations including Dogs Trust, Battersea Dogs & Cats, RSPCA and DEFRA among others – to comply with all of their 27 standards. These industry-endorsed standards improve animal welfare in an ecommerce environment.

‘We encourage anyone thinking of welcoming an animal into their family to familiarise themselves with our advice on safely rehoming pets online.’

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