ORLANDO, Fla. -- Thousands of local animals are being sold online through websites like Craigslist, but 9 Investigates found out a law meant to protect you from buying a sick pet is often ignored and rarely enforced.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, Florida ranks very poorly for animal welfare laws. There are no real regulations of puppy mills and only two requirements for the sale of pets; the animal must be at least 8-weeks-old 8 weeks old and have its first round of vaccines.
Lake Mary resident Lou Diaz bought a puppy named Samson off Craigslist to fill the void after losing a longtime family pet. He's healthy now, but at only 12 weeks the dog had seen the fight of his life.
"They found he has all types of parasites in his intestines and stomach, two types of worms, an upper respiratory infection, and he was deathly anemic," Diaz said.
Diaz bought Samson without any veterinary papers, because none were provided by the seller.
It was easy for 9 Investigates to find online advertisements for animals not meeting Florida's two requirements for sale of a pet, including a 6-week old 6-week-old Shitzu puppy.
Inside a Pine Hills home, the seller admitted the puppy had never been to the vet.
"These animals are typically living in substandard conditions, in feces encrusted cages, having no veterinary care and no enrichment," said Sean Hawkins of the SPCA of Central Florida.
The SPCA of Central Florida is almost always at capacity with dogs and cats surrendered for medical or behavioral problems, which are two of the top risks of buying an animal without a veterinary checkup.
"You can be acquiring a dog that is going to give you lifelong veterinary bills and behavior problems," Hawkins said.
9 Investigates confronted the man trying to make money off the tiny 6-week-old puppy, who told Channel 9 he'd have to charge more if he took it to the veterinarian. He's sold three litters at $300 per dog.
Diaz said he'll never buy online again."I would never do this again. No way," Diaz said.