These days you can buy almost anything online, and why shouldn’t you? It saves time and energy that could be spent in other, more productive endeavors. But where do you draw the line? Buying dogs online is one of the latest trends popping up in the cybernetic world. People like Kathy Bauck , a Minnesota breeder facing animal cruelty charges, exploit the Internet’s legal limbo to sell dogs bred in puppy mills to virtually anyone across the country. You may think you’re buying from a reputable breeder, but the truth is you can’t tell from online ads. A few week ago, ABC’s affiliate in Boston ran a piece that covered the highly controversial trend, featuring CAPS’ investigation on Bauck’s business Puppies on Wheels.

Unsuspecting clients purchased dogs from dubious people only to later on deal with the consequences. The animals suffered from diseases such as Parvo, a potentially deadly virus, caused and spread by the dismal conditions in which the pups were bred and kept.

“When they opened up the van door, there were many, many puppies. Cages stacked upon cages and it didn’t seem like a breeder selling one litter,” said Lynn Rivard, who bought a beagle mix from Puppies on Wheels.

CAPS’ video showing Bauck immersing dogs in a diluted but toxic insecticide prompted authorities to take action. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is currently reviewing the footage and could potentially revoke Bauck’s breeding license.

Puppy mill owners’ new fad can only be stopped by the spread of information. Online pet transactions are deceiving, regardless of the desperate economic times. Sick puppies and cramped cages are just the tip of the iceberg.

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