A Newtownabbey man duped by a suspected puppy farm told of his family's heartbreak after a sick animal they bought died in less than two weeks.
Sammie Bremner was asked by his stepsister to buy her a little Pomeranian pup she had found for sale on Gumtree.
Sammie contacted the 'breeder' and was told that the seller's brother was shopping in Derry and would meet him at the KFC car park in Magherafelt.
The pup did not look well but the seller said he had the heater on in the car and thought it had been car sick. "He had this wee bundle of fluff," said Sammie. "I asked if he'd had his first injection, he said that was up to us."
Sammie was told the puppy could have fetched £800, but would only cost them £245.
The seller took the money and drove off before Sammie could ask any questions.
The pup was soon taken to the vet. Sammie said Tootsie's last hours were distressing for the family. "My sister said 'this wee dog is going to die' and she sat there stroking it."
Sammie said he left tearful and returned the following day to bury Tootsie in a make-shift coffin.
"It really just broke the hearts of all of us," he added.