'She said the dog was fine'
Halifax man says accused puppy mill owner traded him a sick chihuahua
By AMY SMITH Provincial Reporter
Wed. Jan 14 - 5:39 AM
David Tidswell says he didn’t see the warning signs when he arranged to pick up his new chihuahua at a Valley gas station earlier this month.
Ten days later, the dog, which he named Keelie, was dead.
Now the Halifax man wants to warn people about the woman he says traded him the dog for a desktop computer.
Mr. Tidswell, 21, said it was after he brought the dog home that he learned the woman he got the animal from is facing four animal cruelty charges under the Criminal Code of Canada and four under the provincial Animal Cruelty Prevention Act.
The Nova Scotia SPCA laid charges last week against Gail Ruth Benoit, 39, and her husband Dana Bailey, 46, of Roxville, Digby County, who sold four dogs that died hours after their new owners received them last summer.
The couple is due in Digby provincial court on Jan. 29 on other charges stemming from an SPCA seizure of several seriously ill puppies that were for sale.
Mr. Tidswell said he found an ad on the classified website kijiji.ca, offering a purebred chihuahua for $300. He said he was selling his computer at the same time and asked the dog seller if she was willing to make a trade.
When she agreed, he said they arranged to meet at an Esso gas station parking lot in Bridgetown on Jan. 3 at about 10 p.m.
Mr. Tidswell said in an interview Tuesday evening that he should have been more wary.
"The signs weren’t clicking in," he said. "I was in excitement mode. I was getting a dog."
Once he got the dog home, Mr. Tidswell said he did some research on the Internet. It was then, he said, that he realized he had bought the dog from Ms. Benoit.
He said he called and asked her if the dog was healthy.
"She said the dog was fine," he said. "It was probably nervous and whatnot. And the dog had just had a litter of puppies, apparently."
But two or three days later, Mr. Tidswell said, Keelie started getting sick. He said the dog became lethargic, her eyes were bloodshot and had mucus in them, and her breathing was rough. Soon, the dog was vomiting and had diarrhea and dark urine, he said.
Mr. Tidswell, who said he works from home but did not want to say what he does for a living, said he didn’t take the dog to the vet because he was waiting for his paycheque to come in.
He said that on Monday night, he gave her a bath, wrapped her in a blanket and set her on the couch. When he returned, Mr. Tidswell said, the dog was dead.
Mr. Tidswell said he called the SPCA to lay a complaint against Ms. Benoit but was told the agency couldn’t do anything because he had already disposed of the dog’s body. He said he also called Ms. Benoit on Tuesday morning.
When reached by phone Tuesday evening, Mr. Bailey refused to comment on the allegations. However, he told CTV News there was nothing wrong with the dog.
"The dog was eating good here. The dog just had pups," Mr. Bailey said.
"I told him to send more confirmation of the dog dying and he can have his computer back," Mr. Bailey said.