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Jesse investigates cost to save sick puppies sold online


A Tacoma woman had to pay thousands of dollars to save her sick puppy.  Tyson survived after spending six days in the vet hospital with the parvo virus.

“We named him Tyson because he pretty much had to fight for his life,” Courtney Henningsen said. “It was pretty easy to choose that after his situation.”

Henningsen bought Tyson from an ad on Craigslist for $350. Within hours, the puppy showed signs of parvo.

“As soon as we brought him home, he started throwing up that night,” Henningsen explained.

Henningsen is not alone.  I started documenting the sale of sick puppies on the internet after hearing Chase Linder’s story.   He and his girlfriend Denise paid $850 for Benji after seeing him offered on Facebook.

The day after Benji played outside his new home for the first time, he died of parvo.

“We couldn’t let him go for like, two hours,” Linder said.  “We just stayed in the room and cuddled him and sat with him.”

Thanks to viewer tips, information about puppies with parvo poured in from Oakville to Auburn to Yakima.  Many families found listings for puppies on Craigslist.  Sadly, most died. According to veterinarian Mihai Aluas, the problem is that treating parvo is expensive and survival is not guaranteed.

“Most of the expense comes from the puppy having to be hospitalized overnight in intensive care,” Aluas explained.  “It takes 24/7 treatment.  A lot of times, they end up in a specialty clinic.”

That forces owners to make a difficult financial decision.

“So, we have five kids,” Henningsen said.  “So what was going through my mind was the thought that I was going to have to tell them that we were going to have to let the dog go.”

One Auburn woman who contacted me spent nearly $5,000 on vet bills.  Her puppy survived, just like Tyson.

Henningsen, with the help of family members and a Go Fund Me page, raised $6,000 so she could bring Tyson back home.

“We love him and it’s hard to think he went through this since he’s such a happy, playful puppy,” Henningsen said.  “We are so glad that we were able to save his life.”

Experts say you should be able to see the puppies in their environment before purchase.  They also suggest adopting from a shelter.

If you’ve had a similar experience purchasing a puppy with parvo, please contact me here.

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