KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A family’s new puppy turns into a devastating nightmare, just days after they purchased a dog from a woman, it became sick and died.
Michelle Aiello grew up with a short-haired dachshund and wanted to buy one for her growing family of five.
"When we saw the pictures of her we immediately made a decision, it was very easy,” said Aiello, “What drew us to Stella was she had a little white patch on her chest and little white paws and she was just an adorable puppy."
A friend told Aiello about a woman selling the puppies in Arkansas and the two of them connected on Facebook and met in the middle in Joplin, MO.
"They were not interested in us coming into their home, which I did not realize at the time was really a red flag, that they wouldn't give us a home address,” said Aiello.
After giving the woman $440 dollars in cash, the Aiellos headed home and that’s when the problems began.
"She was covered in ticks, I started looking in her ears, I found ticks in her ears and then I saw things jumping, believe it or not, I had never seen fleas until this moment,” said Aiello.
A veterinarian confirmed Stella was not even 8-weeks old and expressed concerns about the puppy’s health. Meanwhile, Stella’s health deteriorated.
"She couldn't stand up, her legs would wobble when we would take her outside, she would just sit there, she had no energy,” said Aiello.
One night Aiello laid Stella on the kitchen floor while the family circled around the puppy, “And we just kind of stood around her and started praying for her, and petting her and my husband came in and said honey she's dying, we can't save her.”
As the puppy’s health didn’t get any better, Aiello reached out to the woman who she bought Stella from, but she took no responsibility for the puppy’s failing health.
"There was never an 'I'm so sorry. Let me see what I can do to help.'" Aiello said.
Stella died nine days later.
41 Action News reached out to the breeder who sold Stella to Aiello and she didn’t return our calls or messages.
If you are looking to purchase a puppy, veterinarians urge you to check out the puppy’s living conditions.
"You need to go to that facility and go see them never buy a pet in my opinion based on an internet picture,” said Dr. Randy McCallum of Wycliff Animal Clinic.
And ask a lot of questions, “Get a reference to their veterinarian, call their veterinarian, and talk to their veterinarian,” said McCallum.
The Aiello family plans to get another puppy later this month.