MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - There was only one thing 10-year-old twins Madison and Carleigh Haselden wanted for Christmas this past year: A beagle named Bagel.
Their dream came true in December when they woke up to find a tiny puppy in a box under the tree.
“They were so excited, so happy about this puppy,” their mother Amber Thompkins recalled. “They held him all day, all night.”
The girls’ excitement was cut short the next day when Bagel had to be taken to the vet.
Just a day after welcoming Bagel to their home, the puppy was diagnosed with Parvo, a highly contagious illness that can be deadly for unvaccinated and young dogs.
Thompkins said the vet told her Bagel had a 50/50 chance of survival. The family chose to fight for Bagel’s life.
Three days and $2,400 later, Bagel returned home where he had to be forced fed food and water. Bagel died less than a day later; one week after the joyous Christmas morning.
“I felt like we did all we could do. Money, you know, you can replace it but we were trying to fight for a family member, so our Christmas was ruined,” Thompkins said.
The family said they purchased Bagel from Kimberly Shular, a Loris resident, after she posted an ad on Craigslist advertising pocket beagles.
After Bagel died, Thompkins said she tried to get in touch with Shular but she never answered.
Thompkins posted on Craigslist to warn others from buying from Shular. Soon after she learned Bagel was not the only one who suffered from Parvo.
A different family purchased a puppy from the same litter for their six children, their puppy also died less than a week later.
Another woman told WMBF News she purchased four puppies three years ago and only one survived.
Scott Fields and his wife purchased two beagle puppies a month before Bagel found a home.
“They were fine at first. Of course they were sniffing around like puppies do when you take them into a new environment,” Fields explained.
The next day his puppies, Oscar and Morgan, were diagnosed with Parvo.
“We were afraid we were going to lose them, a couple of times,” Fields recalled.
After forcing feeding the puppies for weeks, Oscar and Morgan beat the odds and survived.
Fields said they reached out to Shular after their puppies fell ill.
They said she told them she didn’t know the puppies had Parvo but now the Fields are wondering why she continues to breed and sell dogs.
“So she knew about our Parvo dogs in early November and six weeks later, she’s still selling dogs,” Fields said.
Another couple told Thompkins they just purchased a puppy in March, only to have it die less than a month later.
The Parvo virus can live in environments for a long period of time and is spread from “direct dog-to-dog contact and contact with contaminated feces (stool), environments, or people,” according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The Association said proper cleaning and disinfection is needed to control the spread of the virus otherwise it can continue to infect dogs.
Shular told WMBF she didn’t want to talk about the reports of sick puppies and she isn’t still selling them.
However, WMBF Investigates found an active Craigslist Ad for beagle puppies that matches an older ad former clients found her from. Her neighbor said the phone number on the ad matches Shular’s.
The neighbor also said the dogs just had a few more litters and other dogs are pregnant.
“I’ve had people just sitting on my lawn just crying because of the conditions that she keeps the dogs and the fact that they’ve bought sick puppies and most of them have lost their dogs. So it’s like an injustice for them,” Shular’s neighbor said.
South Carolina does have a law that states buyers should receive a refund and vet reimbursement if a dog is found unfit for purchase 14 days after the sale.
However, the law states if the seller refuses, the buyer has to initiate a civil case.
Thompkins and the Fields have both filed cases against Shular.
“I just want her to be held accountable for something. We’re sitting here $3,000 lost and a puppy that passed away and a ruined Christmas,” Thompkins said.
Shular currently owes more than $3,000 from judgements and has pending cases.
Last month, Shular was convicted of a public nuisance, according to Horry County records.
“It’s clear to me that she shouldn’t own dogs, but they just say the laws are very vague and they feel like their hands are tied,” her neighbor said.
An Horry County officer was at Shular’s home on Monday and is continuing to look into the situation.
Although the Thompkins family won their case and rescued a different dog, they still want to continue to get the word out about Shular.
“I feel like there’s a lot more people out there and I just don’t want her to be able to sell another dog that’s sick or any dog,” Thompkins said.
Former buyers said Shular markets beagles and chihuahuas on the Myrtle Beach Craigslist but sells them from her home in Loris.