MSPCA warns about buying pets online

Blind Chihuahua puppy underscores danger of buying pets online
"Spike" is blind and will require a very special adopter and home. MSPCA-Angell photo.

A nine-week-old Chihuahua puppy purchased online two weeks ago was surrendered to the MSPCA-Angell after showing serious neurological symptoms that left him unable to see or walk, the organization announced today.

The puppy, who has since been evaluated by veterinarians on the neurology team at the MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center, likely has congenital brain damage that has rendered him blind, with tremors that impact his ability to walk.

Despite his health challenges, “Spike”—the name given to him by his previous owners—will make a loyal and loving dog for the right adopter.  “He loves to cuddle and shows affection in his own way,” said Andrea Bessler, a technician at the MSPCA-Angell’s Boston adoption center who has been fostering the young dog at her home to spare him the stress inherent to life in the animal shelter.

Bessler will keep Spike at her home for the next two weeks to ensure the right adopter can be identified. 

“He will likely need to live in a home that is one floor or with secure baby gates across any stairs—and preferably with someone who has the patience and dedication to help him adapt to life despite his challenges,” she said.

A Warning for Pet Buyers

While the MSPCA adoption center team works to identify the right home for Spike, it is sounding the alarm over the epidemic of online dog purchases, which are far more likely to result in the sale of animals with health problems. 

“We receive dozens of dogs every year at our adoption centers and veterinary hospital who were purchased online and surrendered after the transaction is complete and the animal shows signs of significant health problems,” said Alyssa Krieger, who manages the MSPCA’s Boston adoption center.

“We always encourage people to adopt homeless animals in shelters, but for those who choose to buy a puppy from a breeder, please do avoid buying online.”

Krieger recommends that anyone who decides to purchase an animal should personally inspect the location at which the puppies are living.  “It’s really important to see where the puppies are raised, view veterinary records and meet not just the puppies but their parents—and the people raising the animals—before purchasing.”

Readers who need more information about how to properly vet breeders can click here

Anyone interested in adopting Spike can email [email protected] for more information. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on