The Calgary Humane Society has sent out a warning about the dangers of pet transactions through classified ad websites like Kijiji.
A bichon-cross puppy was surrendered to the CHS on Friday in emaciated condition, burned and bruised, the organization said.
The abused dog had been purchased by his short-term owner in a parking lot during a Kijiji-initiated exchange.
The one-year-old puppy was wearing a dog coat at the time of purchase, and when the buyer took the coat off "she was horrified at the puppy's condition," the Humane Society said in a news release.
The dog was brought by the purchaser to the Humane Society, which examined him and rated him a one out of nine on a body scale chart used by veterinarians to estimate an animal's condition.
"It is clear that the puppy had been neglected for quite some time," said Tammy Mazubert, department head of animal health. "We are very concerned about this puppy's welfare, and are warning people against purchasing their pets from these unethical sources."
The society's peace officers discovered that it wasn't the first time the puppy and his sibling had been made available on the website.
In October 2010, the original owner gave up the two pups, advertising them on the site as "free to a good home."
"This pup's situation is just one example of what happens to animals given away 'free to good homes,'" said Brad Nichols, head of protection and investigations at the Calgary Humane Society.
"This case should serve as a serious warning to all pet owners and potential purchasers," he said.
"In this case, a well-intentioned owner tried to re-home her two bichon-cross puppies. The individual who has allegedly neglected them took the pups for free, claiming to offer them a caring home, then turned around to sell the puppies for a profit."
The Calgary Humane Society continues to investigate, and is asking the public to provide any knowledge they might have about a Kijiji seller offering bichon-cross puppies for sale.
The group also encouraged pet-owners to consider the CHS as a safe option for re-homing a pet if needed.