Three-month-old toy poodle Toby has plenty of energy now, but his owner, Nicole Martins, said he became very sick just two days after she brought him home.
“He was vomiting. He had diarrhea with blood and mucus in it. He was passing worms,” she said.
Toby is one of the two dogs bought from the same Stouffville home that fell ill soon after they were sold, and their owners are warning other pet lovers about the seller.
Martins said she found Toby on the website lovelypuppies.ca and said alarm bells went off as soon as she visited the home where the puppies live.
“He had a bad smell and the other puppy had a bad smell, and they were just really sombre, so I just got a bad feeling,” she said.
But Martins said she returned, wanting to rescue the puppy.
After Toby became sick, she said she was left with thousands of dollars in vet bills, which the seller refused to pay.
Ivana Brown also purchased a puppy from the same home. She said puppy fell ill days after the purchase and later died because of a highly-contagious virus called parvo.
“I want [the seller] to stop. I want this regulated,” she said.
The man who ran the website refused to speak on camera, but told CBC News all his puppies are healthy.
“I have the actual paperwork to prove that they were all tested and they all came back negative,” he said in a phone interview.
There are currently no laws in Ontario that require dog sellers or breeders to have a licence.
All complaints are handled by the Ontario SPCA. The agency says it is aware of the cases and is currently investigating.
For pet lovers looking to buy a dog online or otherwise, OSPCA investigator Rachel Vandenkroonenburg said they should be asking questions.
“You should be able to see where these puppies are living and what their day-to-day looks like,” she said. "Responsible breeders are all too happy to have you come into their home."
Buyers can also call the veterinarians listed on the health record.
Meanwhile, Martins said she doesn't want other pet lovers to repeat what she went through.
“I don’t want to be part of the problem and I feel bad because the animals … can't speak for themselves," she said.
Watch CBC’s Lorenda Reddekopp's report by playing the video above.