Dog purchased from Norfolk puppy farming gang had ear mites and worms
- Credit: Archant
A family who purchased a dog from a gang of fraudulent puppy farmers found it was suffering from ear mites, worms and was 'caked' in faeces.
Jennifer, from Suffolk, said they found the puppy through an advert Gumtree, which claimed the animal had been vaccinated, microchipped and crate trained.
But after paying £450 for the Lhasa Apso cross toy poodle and taking him home, they realised they had been conned.
The family were one of 31 buyers who purchased dogs from fraudulent puppy farmers Michael Rushmer, Zoe Rushmer and Jacob Murphy, who are all from Norfolk.
Their experience can today be revealed after all three criminals were sentenced at Norwich Crown Court.
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Jennifer, who does not wish to use her full name, said they found their puppy, Harvey, on Gumtree in March 2017.
She said: "We went to the house and were greeted by a young woman who would only let us into the hallway. There were two puppies in a cage - they were a bit smelly.
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"We asked to see mum but we were told that she got really distressed when she was around the puppies and they'd prefer not to put her through that. We also asked to see the dad but were told he was a stud dog and wasn't there.
"In hindsight we were stupid to go ahead and buy the puppy but at the time we didn't think any more of it."
The family went home to prepare for Harvey's arrival, and returned the following day to pay £450 for him.
"When we got the paperwork home and had a closer look it was obvious the vaccination stickers had been peeled off of another card and stuck onto Harvey's," Jennifer said.
"The date of his apparent first vaccination was also the same as his date of birth - that obviously wasn't right.
"When we rang up to challenge this they said they'd lost his vaccination card and had to get the vets to do a copy so they must have got the dates wrong.
"Harvey also had poo caked all around his rear end and that seemed wrong. He had ear mites and worms that needed veterinary treatment and, despite being told he was microchipped, two different vets could find no trace of a chip."
"He was so distressed and, although we were told he had been crate trained and was used to being in a crate, every time we tried to put him in one he screamed and cried."
On Tuesday (June 25), Michael Rushmer, 27, of Low Road, Thurlton, Norfolk, his sister Zoe Rushmer, 26, of no fixed address, and her partner Jacob Murphy, 27, of The Street, Norton Subcourse, all admitted conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation between June 1, 2016 and June 18, 2018.
Michael Rushmer and Murphy were both jailed for three years and six months.
Zoe Rushmer was given a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid work.
Jennifer said almost 18 months on from purchasing Harvey, he has become a "happy, friendly, much-loved pet".