PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — It was April 12th, Christopher Tomaras spotted an ad on Craigslist for boxer-husky puppies. He looked at the picture of the little 8-week-old male.
“He was absolutely adorable,” said Christopher. His wife Shawn, was a little iffy about getting another dog.
“But as soon as I saw him, I just fell in love with him,” Shawn explained. Within five days, the little bundle of life they named Leo, was deathly ill.
When Chris initially reached out to the seller that day in April, he asked whether the dog had its shots. The seller sent a text back that read, “I have the boxer husky puppies they have had their first shots at my vet I can have a copy of their records faxed to you.”
So, he and Shawn met up with a woman who identified herself as Ashleigh and the puppy. They paid $150 for Leo and brought him to their Pasco county home that night. A day or so later they reached out to the veterinarian that Ashleigh said she used.
“I called them and they said they had no one there by that name, under her name, that had ever gotten puppy shots, added Chris. By the weekend, Leo was in an emergency clinic. He was loaded with parasites and parvovirus.
“As soon as the vet told me, I just started crying, I felt so helpless, I didn’t know what to do,” Shawn said. The disease, veterinarian Ellen Alence points out, is one reason Florida requires a health certificate accompany the sale of any dog or cat.
“Your heart sinks when a puppy tests positive for parvo,” Dr. Alence said. “It’s potentially fatal, often fatal.”
8 On Your Side learned Ashleigh’s real name is Hayley Mary Lidey of Riverview. She’s a 23-year-old convicted felon on probation for dealing in stolen property and obtaining money from a second-hand dealer with false verification of ownership.
Chris claims when he called her to inform her that the dog he purchased was diseased and dying, she hung up on him. Chris contacted 8 On Your Side. We tried calling Hayley Lidey, wrote her a note on Facebook, even knocked on her door, with no response.
On April 17th, five days after the Tomaras family welcomed little Leo into their home, they were told there was little hope for the now lethargic puppy.
“He was still looking up at me with his little eyes and I had to make a choice,” said Shawn.
“They came in, they gave him a sedative for him to fall asleep. I just held him until he fell asleep and the whole time I was just sobbing.”
Shawn wants Haley Lidey to know that for $150 dollars, Lidey caused more pain and suffering than one person has a right to put a family through.