'The children were in pieces'- Bristol family's warning for dog buyers after puppy dies suddenly

  • Watch Rob Murphy's report here

A Bristol family is warning puppy buyers to beware after they were left bereft and out of pocket by thousands of pounds when their new family dog died suddenly.

Lee Dineen bought a fox-red Labrador called Rio from a reputable buyer in South Gloucestershire last year - and purchased an insurance policy too.

 But after a few weeks, it became clear Rio had a serious illness.

Rio at the family home before he died Credit: Family picture

 “After lots of investigation, multiple scans, and specialists viewing him it turned out that his kidneys were sadly deformed of which we were informed after six weeks of having him," said Mr Dineen, who bought the puppy.

"As you can imagine we were devastated at the news.

"The children were in pieces. It was difficult to accept really.

 “The last three days I spent sleeping in the kitchen on a mattress because he couldn’t hold his bladder. He was really poorly,” said his wife, Joanna.

Vets diagnosed a critical underlying kidney illness which they say the breeder could not have known about.

After six weeks, Rio needed to be put to sleep.

The Dineens family were left devastated by Rio's death Credit: ITV News

The family bought him from a well-known breeder in South Gloucestershire, called Countryways Gundogs.

Mr Dineen said the firm’s owner, David Templar, claimed to have supplied a spaniel to David Beckham. When Mr Dineen asked for a refund, he was refused.

The Kennel Club, which registered Rio, agrees he had a defect but stressed that Countryways Gundogs could have known nothing.

The Dineens family are sharing their story in the hopes it will prevent other families from having similar experiences. Credit: Family picture

“If you were to buy a high-ticket item such as a TV or perhaps a car, if the car were to break down or the TV stops working you would expect to go back to the dealership and have open communication about how to put that situation right,” said Mr Dineen.

He has now made a compliant to South Gloucestershire Trading Standards and is prepared to go to court in the hope of getting compensation.

There is a chance the Consumer Rights Act may not cover Mr Dineen if the defect wasn’t reasonable for the seller to have known.

 Countryways Gundogs declined to comment when asked by ITV West Country

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