A WARNING has gone out to people thinking of buying a dog in York or North Yorkshire after a puppy nearly died.

The Kennel Club, which it says is the UK’s largest organisation dedicated to dog health and welfare, has called on the public to be on their guard after Matt Winship, 23, from Acomb in York, bought two puppies with his family, but says they were duped by a disreputable breeder, resulting in Matt’s puppy nearly dying from life-threatening parvovirus.

Matt, who works with people with learning disabilities, went to visit two puppies, Bullseye and Luke, but was unable to see the puppies’ mum or dad.

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“Looking back, knowing what I know now, when we went to visit the pups I realise it was dodgy,” said Matt.

“The whole house seemed unkempt and there didn’t seem to be much consideration for the living conditions of the puppies. It just wasn’t a nice scenario, and I think that’s probably why we committed to getting them to be honest, so they weren’t still stuck there.

“The breeders just seemed keen for a ‘quick sale’ - they didn’t ask us any questions about our life or show any interest in the home the pups were going to.”

York Press: Cody the Cocker Spaniel Cody the Cocker Spaniel (Image: Supplied)

On taking Bullseye and Luke home, Matt took them to the vets, having been given no microchip or vaccination records from the breeder. The vet discovered that Bullseye had parvovirus, a deadly virus which is sadly common in puppy-farmed dogs.

“It was touch and go as to whether he was going to make it,” said Matt.

“The breeder had told us the pups had the parvovirus vaccine but they gave us no proof. If we hadn’t taken them to the vets to get microchipped they might not have spotted the parvovirus early enough, and Bullseye might not have made it.”

Thankfully Bullseye recovered from parvovirus, but both Luke and Bullseye were difficult to train and have ongoing behavioural issues, likely because they weren’t socialised from birth.

Matt and his partner later went on to get a Cocker Spaniel, Cody, from a Kennel Club Assured Breeder and had a totally different experience: “This time we had looked at The Kennel Club website for advice about purchasing a puppy and the tips on questions to ask/red flags, and my partner used to work for the RSPCA so he also knew what to look out for.

“The whole experience of buying Cody was so different. We had a proper puppy contract and met both Cody’s mum and dad as they were family dogs. They both seemed really healthy with well-groomed coats, and happy tails that were always wagging. It was a completely different environment compared to where we had picked Bullseye and Luke up from.”

Mark Beazley, chief executive of The Kennel Club, said: “Scammers and puppy farmers are clever and will do what they can to disguise their cruel trade so it’s important to be extremely vigilant. Puppy buyers should make sure they’re asking the right questions, see the puppy, with their mum and in their home environment, and step back if things don't feel right.”