Shopper buys sick puppy outside Target store

Posted at 7:07 PM, Dec 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-30 16:28:56-05

A holiday shopper who went to a local department store for some Christmas gifts ended up taking home a sick puppy.

"It's sad and so heartbreaking," said Sherry O'Hara.

On Dec. 19, O'Hara was outside the Target entrance in Mission Valley when she said she saw a husband and wife sitting on the bench.

"They had some young kids, one in a stroller," said O'Hara.

Also with them were three dogs -- two of them puppies.

"I had to say hi and say how cute it was, and that's when he tried to sell me the puppy," said O'Hara.

O'Hara held the shivering puppy and felt how weak she was.

The man gave her the hard sell, and O'Hara said, "He told me she was healthy and ready to be away from mom."

She bargained him down from $700 to $120.

"I absolutely don't support backyard breeding, but to save her life, I gave the man money," said O'Hara.

O'Hara took the six-week-old puppy home, named her Whitney, and soon after, the puppy got sicker.

"Lethargy, not eating, diarrhea, then hypothermia and dehydration," said O'Hara.

Whitney has made five trips to the veterinarian, testing positive for parvovirus and two parasitic infections -- all of them life-threatening.

The prognosis remains uncertain.

A Go Fund Me campaign has been set up to help with the vet bills.

A Target representative issued this statement to 10News:

Target has a long-standing no solicitation policy at our stores nationwide. We have this policy in place to provide a distraction-free shopping experience inside and outside our stores. Any solicitors found on Target property will be asked to leave. In some instances we partner with law enforcement to remove solicitors.

I'm not familiar with the specific incident you're referencing. However, I can confirm based on what you described they were in violation of our no solicitation policy and have no affiliation with Target.