Police say a Maine couple is under investigation for allegedly selling several puppies with a contagious, fatal disease that can spread among dogs.
Auburn police executed a search warrant at 129 Lake St. Monday night after receiving a complaint that a puppy purchased from the couple had been diagnosed with the Canine Parvovirus Infection.
Police found eight adult dogs and seven puppies, three of which exhibited symptoms of the virus. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss.
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The dogs have been quarantined until they can be examined by a veterinarian.
No arrests have been made. Police say the criminal investigation is continuing, and animal cruelty charges could be coming, as well as a civil charge for operating a pet store without a license.
“It could be a misdemeanor, or it could rise to the level of a felony,” said Auburn Police Lt. Anthony Harrington.
Investigators would like to speak to anyone who purchased a dog from Leala or Steven Evans, who purportedly sold the animals online on sites such as Craigslist and Facebook.
Several Maine families and one family from Massachusetts have complained to police about their dogs.
“Every dog should be vaccinated against [Parvo],” said veterinarian Dr. Bridgett O’Donnell, of the Taylor Brook Animal Hospital in Auburn.
“If left untreated, the dog will die of starvation and dehydration,” said O’Donnell. Her animal hospital is offering a “Free Vaccines for Life” program to animals enrolled at the hospital.
“The virus can live in the environment, on surfaces, and in the soil for a very long time,” said O’Donnell.
Police advise anyone attempting to purchase an animal from a listing online to do research and ask about a seller’s license. Lt. Harrington said in Maine, a pet store must have a license from the Department of Agriculture.
Leala and Steven Evans did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.