DEVASTATED GIRL'S HEART IS BROKEN
A suspected puppy farmer has left a little girl devastated after her pet died within hours of the family paying £300 for her.
Little Ruby, a nine-week-old Pomeranian, was dying when her owner sold her to the Copeland family. As she drove away, their money in his pocket, the callous dealer knew the tiny pup was already at death's door.
She survived one night in her new home before passing away, leaving nine year old Sophie in floods of tears.
It is thought Ruby had contracted the deadly Parvo virus and it is highly unlikely any pups in her litter would have survived. And it is probable that the dealers knew they were selling a diseased animal.
Last year Katherine Copeland agreed to buy her daughter a dog for Christmas, but what should have been a joyous occasion became the stuff of nightmares.
Katherine, 37, from Belfast said the family thought long and hard about taking on the responsibility of caring for a pet.
"It wasn't an off-the-cuff decision," she said.
"We were prepared for puppy training, bringing up the pup in a loving home, daily walks and all the responsibilities. I was raised with dogs when I was a child. My mum had a dog for 15 years."
She turned to selling site Gumtree after someone advised her that it was a good place to make the right contacts to get a full breed dog.
"I found a 9-week old puppy, wormed and injected to date and that the mother is their family pet."
The asking price was £300 and all seemed to be going to plan as the seller agreed to meet Katherine at the bus station in Derry from where they would go to the seller's home.
"When we arrived she had the pup with her and said that she was moving house so it didn't suit for us to her house. I had no
reason to disbelieve her."
Ruby stole their hearts and they set about buying a bed, toys and supplies as they got their home ready for the new arrival.
Finally the day arrived when Katherine was to pay the £200 balance for Ruby. This time the woman called and arranged to bring the dog to them.
"When I met with the woman who was probably in her late 40s or early 50s everything happened so quickly. She was driving a green coloured old Vauxhall estate car.
"Next time I saw her was when she delivered Ruby to us.
"Little Ruby was freezing cold and shaking and I asked what was wrong. She confidently told me Ruby didn't travel well and I felt guilty.
"The woman told me to bathe her and dry her which we did but I was confused. She wasn't as full of life as I expected a little pup to be. She was very quiet so we took turns and cuddled her and kept her warm, we loved her from the moment we saw her."
The little pup grew increasingly lethargic as the night wore on and by late evening she couldn't walk and had clearly lost the power of her hind legs.
Katherine put Ruby down for the night and kept her nearby but the worst was still to come.
Choking back the tears she revealed: "We did everything we could for Ruby and throughout the night I decided I was going to take her to the vet first thing that morning."
The dog's condition continued to worsen, by early morning it was clear Ruby was losing her battle. Katherine never got the chance to take the pup to the vet.
"I feared the worst, I explained to Sophie that I thought Ruby was much sicker than we thought, it was heartbreaking.
"We both held Ruby and after a couple of minutes her wee eyes rolled back and she passed away.
"We were devastated. wSophie had just one day with her new wee puppy it was so traumatic for her to have to go through this.
"I hope that no other child or family will have to go through this and these people are stopped."
Later that day an angry Katherine contacted the seller."Shew said she was shocked and told me she would refund my money as soon as possible," said Katherine.
"But shortly after that the three numbers I had for her no longer worked, she stopped replying to me."