RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are adding a new addition to their family by adopting or buying a pet, but you need to watch out for scammers trying to steal your money.
A Raleigh family is dealing with heartache after bringing a new puppy into their home.
"Even though we only had the puppy for 24 hours, it's very difficult," Cassie Graves said. This after the Graveses lost their new puppy they named Jasmine. "It was very difficult to have all the puppy remains--the feeding bowls, the food, the leash, the toys -- but no puppy in the house."
The Graveses had to put Jasmine down just 24 hours after getting her. They first spotted the puppy on Craigslist.
"I saw an ad for a German Shepherd-and-Lab mix and it was what we were looking for," Cassie's husband, Jermaine, said.
The Graveses texted back and forth with the seller who told Jermaine they had two 8-week- old puppies left, and they were $300 each.
In text messages, the seller said the pups had their first shots and were dewormed. The Graveses drove from Raleigh to Greensboro to meet the seller.
They asked for the shot records but weren't given any.
"They said because of COVID, they didn't feel comfortable taking their dogs to the vet. So they decided to do the shots themselves."
The seller did give them a picture of the shots. So the Graveses paid $300 for Jasmine and drove back to Raleigh.
"Everybody was excited, it was like having a baby in the house."
The excitement quickly changed hours after bringing Jasmine home. It quickly became obvious that Jasmine needed medical help.
The Graveses took her to the vet and learned the bad news.
"The puppy had hookworms and roundworms and was severely anemic," Cassie recalled the veterinarian telling her. "The best decision probably would be to put the puppy down."
The Graveses made the tough decision to put Jasmine down. They cremated Jasmine and brought her back home and buried her in the backyard. They also reached out to the seller.
"My husband reached back out to let them know what was going on and the sellers never responded."
Troubleshooter Diane Wilson tried called the seller and the two different numbers the Graveses had for the seller were already disconnected.
What you do need to know is the Graves heartache is not unique. Wilson hears from viewers monthly who have been scammed when trying to welcome a new pet into their home.
In 2016, a Troubleshooter investigation uncovered a Nash County woman selling sick puppies to unsuspecting buyers. After our investigation, she was convicted of multiple fraud charges.
Viewers often lose money to a scam where they find a pet for sale online and then are charged large amounts of money to ship the pet to them, but the pet is never shipped. It's all a scam. A Fayetteville woman lost thousands to this scam when she thought she was getting a Maine Coon cat.
The Troubleshooter Takeaways to remember when looking for a pet you can't rely on what the seller tells you. Always ask for proof of shots and any treatments. Also see if the pet comes with any health guarantee, if not try and take the dog or cat to the vet to have them checked out before paying any money. Lastly, of course, you can also adopt, as the local animal shelters are filled with dogs and cats looking for a new home.