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Puppy Mill Dog Died Only Days after Purchase

Buyers, beware of shady puppy sellers

  • Tanner had a slight cough that the puppy mill owner explained away as allergies. The HSUS

  • It was soon obvious that Tanner was gravely ill. The HSUS

A dog lover who wishes not to be named shared this story to warn others of the risks of buying a dog from a puppy mill.

We unknowingly bought a ten-week-old "morkie" [a Maltese-Yorkie mix] puppy from a place in Maryland. We had a feeling this was a puppy mill, and knew we shouldn't support the horrible operation, but the crying dogs in the dark, smelly back room broke our hearts.

We wanted to save one of the puppies who were obviously being treated so terrribly.

[Editor's note: Trying to save a dog by buying him from a puppy mill only continues the suffering for that dog's mother and offspring, and supports the cruel business of treating dogs like products.]

One little dog struck us as very sweet, yet obviously scared. He came straight to my fiancé and went to sleep on his shoe. While the other puppies were roughhousing, this puppy just watched with sad eyes. Now we know they were sick eyes.

We are still worried about the other dogs kept there.

Stop the heartbreak! Urge the administration to toughen up its regulation of puppy mills.

We named the white and tan puppy Tanner. He had a slight cough which the "breeder" said was just allergies.

When we brought him home, our rescued greyhound—who normally hates other dogs in her space—immediately became protective of Tanner, sharing her bed and toys with him. We think she also realized how sick Tanner was way before we did. Tanner loved children and wanted to cuddle with everyone.

After taking him to the vet less than 36 hours after this, it was determined that our poor little guy had kennel cough, viral and bacterial pneumonia, a heart murmur, an enlarged heart, and ear mites, among other things.

We wanted to get the very best care possible for Tanner, so we contacted the breeder to ask if any other dogs had been sick so we could pinpoint the exact issues and viruses. And the "breeder" told us that he hadn't sold any morkie puppies and had no recollection of us!

Never buy a puppy online or at a pet store. Always adopt from a shelter or rescue group, or be sure you find a responsible breeder.

The second picture above shows Tanner and me when he was in the animal hospital's intensive care unit. We had to hear protective smocks and gloves and were not allowed to walk through the regular animal area after seeing him. He was in isolation for nearly 48 hours before he died because he was so contagious.

I can only imagine how fast these terrible diseases spread in the puppy mill itself.

After around-the-clock care from the best vets in the area, and over $8,000 in veterinary bills, our poor two-pound puppy passed away—less than two weeks after we bought him.

We miss Tanner a lot. The tiny box the vet gave us with his ashes is so small and heartbreaking. But we are happy to do anything we can to stop puppies from being victims, so we are telling what happened to us as a warning to others.

Dogs and puppies deserve the best of care. Please urge the Obama administration to finalize the USDA's rule on puppy mills.

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