Auburn police are investigating a Lake Street couple for allegedly selling several puppies that were later discovered to be infected with parvo virus, a contagious, fatal disease that can spread rapidly among dogs.

Police executed a search warrant Monday at the home of Steven and Leala Evans at 129 Lake St. after receiving a complaint that a puppy purchased from the couple had been diagnosed with parvo.

Inside the home, officers found eight adult dogs and seven puppies, three of them exhibiting symptoms of parvo virus, which causes vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and lack of appetite, police said.

All 15 dogs have been placed in quarantine until they can be examined by a veterinarian. No one answered a phone number listed for the Evans family.

No arrests were made, and police said in a statement that the criminal investigation is continuing.

Auburn Deputy Chief Jason Moen said his department received a complaint Monday from a Massachusetts man whose puppy got sick. Although the Evanses have not been charged with a crime, Moen said he released their names in hopes of reaching people who purchased animals from them so they can be tested for Parvo.

Moen said the couple are potentially in violation of an Auburn ordinance that requires pet shops to be licensed.

An unknown number of puppies had already been sold by the couple through Facebook, Craigslist and Uncle Henry’s, according to police. Moen said he knows of three or four, but said more sick puppies could be out there.

One of the sick dogs, now named Dixie, was sold to Andrea Shackford of Wells, according to a Go Fund Me page set up by Shackford’s sister, Danielle, to raise money for the animal’s treatment.

Dixie, a miniature pincher-rat terrier mix, was sluggish when she first came home, but soon refused to eat and began vomiting.

According to the fundraising plea, the Shackfords paid $500 to a woman who met them at a rest stop. Now they are looking to raise up to $5,000 to treat the dog. As of Tuesday evening, more than $1,700 had been donated to the Go Fund Me campaign for Dixie.

State law requires anyone who sells more than one dog or cat under 6 months old within a 12-month period to obtain a license from the state. The license is free once a year and is good for 90 days. Every license after that costs $25, according to state law, so a breeder working full time would pay no more than $75 annually to maintain a legal position to sell dogs or cats.

Violating the dog and cat vendor license law is a civil penalty that carries fines of between $50 and $200, none of which may be suspended, according to the law.

A license to run a pet shop has more requirements and is more costly, at $175 for the license and background check fee. People who have been convicted of a broad swath of crimes, including criminal and civil convictions for cruelty to animals within the last 10 years, are barred from holding such licenses, according to the state’s application.

Moen said the couple has not obtained permits from either the state or the city.


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