A Keighley dad whose family’s newly-bought pet puppy had to be destroyed due to a rabies scare has spoken of their heartbreak.

The 30-year-old father of two young children said they had travelled to Peterborough to collect and pay for the Shih Tzu, which they had seen advertised online. But within hours of arriving back in Keighley, a routine check-up at the vets revealed the paperwork was false and the dog had not been given a proper vaccination against rabies.

The pup, which it transpired had been born in Lithuania and imported to the UK, had to be put down.

“We were absolutely devastated,” said the father, who asked not to be named.

“Although we only had the dog – called Brenda – for a very short time, the kids loved it.”

The Braithwaite family had seen a sales advert for the puppy on a website, and had no reason to suspect anything was wrong.

“When we got to the address in Peterborough, they gave us the dog and its passport and said it had been given the jabs,” said the dad. “We paid the £250.

“We decided to take Brenda to the vets when we got back to sort out registration and so she could have a once-over. We were totally shocked when we learned the truth.

“We’ve been told we may be able to claim back money we paid through Trading Standards, but that isn’t really the issue. It’s been very upsetting.”

Keighley Vets4Pets, where the family took the dog, warns people against the dangers of buying puppies online.

Veterinary surgeon, Lara Clarkson, said: “The family bought the puppy in good faith, and what’s happened is heartbreaking.

“We strongly advise anyone thinking of getting a puppy to ask to see the rest of the litter and the puppy’s mother, so you know for sure it has been bred in this country.

“Smuggling puppies into the country puts not just dogs in danger, but human lives too. Rabies is a disease that kills people.”