Deltona, Florida -- When you're looking for a specialty item and it's no where in the store or you don't want top pay store prices, you go on-line.
A lot of people are buying their pets on-line. And unfortunately a loophole in federal law is allowing selling sick pets to be sold without much protection for pup or owner.
Here's the story of a dog breeder who sells her animals on-line all around the country and a couple who bought on of her dogs.
"She refused to return any of my phone calls,"says Ricky Brooks."I don't know what the hell's going on. it was supposed to be a reputable business."
Ricky and Rita Brooks thought they found the perfect dog on BlueEyedBeautyAussies.com, "Baxter", an Australian Shepherd had one brown eye and one baby blue.
"He was such a beautiful little puppy, and he was a good puppy," says Rita, "he always laid down with me like this, because he was little."
But just as quickly as they fell in love; "Baxter" got sick. A vet told the Brooks' the puppy had parasites and parvo. "The veterinarian said if he'd been vaccinated, he would not have been sick like this," adds Ricky.
The Sarasota, Florida breeder who sold the dog on-line guaranteed the dog's health. But the Brooks' say they never got any answers about why "Baxter" arrived sick. Instead, they just paid the vet bills all $2500.
"When we got there, he was gasping for air, and we told him how much mommy and daddy loved him and he looked at us one last time and he couldn't breath, " says Rita.
With "Baxter" gone, the Brooks' filed complaints with the State of Florida against owners, Sherrie Rouse & her daughter. And they weren't the only ones, soon the website was shutdown.
But their breeding business re-opened under a new name, "Dos Lunas Aussies!"
Complaints against this Florida breeder span all across the country. Here's the part that will really make you mad. The Animal Welfare Act doesn't make selling sick pets over the internet illegal. Why? Because it was written 40 years ago and hasn't been updated.
"The loophole allows people to breed and send these animals out, " says Sherry Silk of the Humane Society. 'You don't know what you're getting. You don't know what the parents were like, how were they housed?"
Humane Societies support a proposed change to federal law that would crack down on the shipping of sick pets. A reporter at our sister station in Tampa, Florida tried to get Sherrie Rouse to come clean. No answer.
But Rouse will answer to the court. She faces 5 misdemeanor charges for not providing the proper paperwork at time of sale. But get this, she's still selling dogs.
The Humane Society of America recommends never buying a pet over the internet. Their recommendation: see the puppy, the puppy parents, the living conditions and the behavior of the dog's family in person before you buy.