Dog owner landed with £5,700 vet bill after buying from puppy farm
PUBLISHED: 07:45 25 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:57 25 June 2019
Copyright: Archant 2019
When Norma Rudd saw the advert in the back of the newspaper her heart leapt.
"Yorkie Bitch, 2.5 years, a nice, little house dog."
Mrs Rudd had lost her Yorkie, Daisy Mae, the year before and her partner Malcolm, 68, wanted another one.
Mrs Rudd, 72, from Blue Boar Lane, Sprowston, gave the number on the advert for a "Mr Wilson" a call.
After an exchange of texts she met him in the car park of The Gull Inn at Framingham Pigot on a dark December night in 2016.
"He said I couldn't come to his house because his dad was so upset about giving the dog away," she said.
In the car park she met two young men and her husband handed over around £250.
But it was clear that Mollie-Mae, as they called her, was not from a loving home.
"We were absolutely shocked when we got her, she didn't know how to walk and her coat was filthy."
They later discovered that the Yorkie came from a farm in Thurlton which was being used by Michael Rushmer and his accomplices as a puppy farm.
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The group made thousands of pounds selling sick dogs to unsuspecting owners, leaving them with huge vet bills.
Rushmer, 27, of Low Road, Thurlton, Zoe Rushmer, 25, of no fixed address, Jacob Murphy, 26, of no fixed address and Jean Boyes, 67, of The Street, Bramerton, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation between June 1, 2016 and June 18, 2018.
Advertising on Gumtree, the Rushmers used fake names and claimed the dogs were vaccinated and microchipped.
But when Mrs Rudd took Mollie-Mae to the vets four days after she bought her she discovered that was not true.
"He (the vet) looked in her mouth and her teeth were green and black," Mrs Rudd said.
Then two weeks later, on Christmas Eve, Mollie-Mae started crying.
"She lost the use of her back legs and was completely paralysed," Mrs Rudd said.
"We had to phone up the out of hours emergency vet then go to Dick White Referrals in Cambridge."
The hospital took an MRI scan and then operated on her diseased spine.
The Rudds used their savings to fund the almost £6,000 worth of treatment.
"She is OK now but they said it could come back at any time," Mrs Rudd added.