A North County couple says a dangerous Craigslist scam is happening at the expense of puppies.
After Travis Underwood was stationed in San Diego, he and his wife Rachel wanted to grow their small family and found the perfect dog online.
“I’ve never had a problem with Craigslist and I wasn’t aware of the scams. I didn’t think people would do this to dogs so I wasn’t really skeptical,” said Rachel.
The sellers, who said they were “re-homing” the dogs, insisted on meeting in a public place. When the Underwoods met them at an Oceanside shopping center, the sellers didn’t get out of the car. Travis and Rachel fell in the love with the puppy but had no idea she was fighting for her life.
They soon learned their dog not only had the deadly infection Parvo, but ticks, fleas, roundworms, and tapeworms. The veterinarian said she had less than a 20% chance of surviving. Still, the couple wanted to give her a fighting chance and paid thousands so doctors could try and save her.
“I think her experiencing us for a few days was enough for her to fight the disease,” said Travis. “I know a lot of her brothers and sisters probably didn’t make it.”
Now the seller’s phone number is no longer in service. After doing some digging on Craigslist, the Underwood’s learned they aren’t the only victims.
“There was another lady I talked to who got a dog and the next day they died,” said Rachel.
Some have posted warnings to potential buyers, but the seller’s ads continue to go up and no one knows where they’re breeding the dogs. Rachel believes they’re selling at least 17 different types of dogs based on various ads posted throughout Southern California.
“It was an emotional rollercoaster for us and we don’t want others dealing with that,” said Travis.
The couple has reached out to several agencies but no one has been able to help them catch the sellers.
“It really really angers me,” said Rachel. “I didn’t realize people could be like this.”
While they’re grateful Callie survived and is finally acting like herself again, they’re heartbroken for the others who might not get the chance.
If you’d like to help the family pay for Callie’s medical bills, a Go Fund Me page has been set up.