Tasmanian shelter owner travels across the state to rescue puppies 'sold for drugs'

REUNITED: Brightside Farm Sanctuary's Emma Haswell with Lily and her litter of puppies which were sold online before they were ready to leave their mother. Picture: Scott Gelston
REUNITED: Brightside Farm Sanctuary's Emma Haswell with Lily and her litter of puppies which were sold online before they were ready to leave their mother. Picture: Scott Gelston

A Tasmanian woman made it her mission to reunite six puppies with their mother after they were allegedly sold for drugs without their owner’s permission.

Brightside Farm Sanctuary founder Emma Haswell spent three days searching the state for the ridgeback-staffy cross puppies – by Thursday, she had found them all.

The “devastating” situation unfolded when Ms Haswell took seven-year-old Lilly into her care and was expecting to also be looking after her litter of nine puppies.

She soon realised the puppies were left with their owner’s friend, who had sold six of them on Gumtree for $50 each.

RELATED STORY: Tasmanian animal sanctuary fights to reunite young puppies with their mother

The puppies were only three-weeks-old and still needed their mother’s milk.

After a desperate plea to the public, which included offering a cash reward for each puppy, Ms Haswell managed to locate five of them and reunite them with Lilly. 

Some were in Hobart, others were found near Launceston with buyers either told the puppies’ mother was dead or was going to be shot.

On Thursday morning, Ms Haswell found the last puppy and was working tirelessly to see it returned.

By that afternoon, she picked up the puppy and Lilly had all of them back by her side.

“I feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders,” Ms Haswell said.

“This has just consumed me, it’s been three days of negotiating and very stressful. I’ve basically done it on my own, with the help of media and social media – without the media and social media I wouldn’t have gotten any of them back.”

Three of the puppies will go back to those who purchased them once they are weaned, vet checked and microchipped.

The other six will be available for adoption.

The plan for their mother Lilly is still undecided.

“She comes from a very, very stressful life,” Ms Haswell said.

“She’s one of the best dogs I’ve ever met in my life … I’m hoping Lilly will get to stay.”

Now that the puppies are back where they belong, Ms Haswell said she has one simple message for all pet owners.

“Desex them and for God’s sake don’t sell them on Gumtree,” she said.

“I’ve got some puppies back from some really sad situations.”

Anyone wanting to adopt one of the puppies can contact Brightside Farm Sanctuary on Facebook.

IN OTHER NEWS: