A Manhattan Beach woman who unknowingly purchased a gravely ill puppy in an online deal consummated in a Chino parking lot has accomplished what has been a struggle for others who say their hearts were broken: She won a judgment against the seller.
Sara Strizzi acknowledges, however, that it could be difficult to collect the $5,126.92 awarded to her by San Bernardino Superior Court Commissioner Daniel C. Lough.
The seller who Strizzi sued said in an email that she plans to appeal the decision. She declined to comment further.
“We want our money back; don’t get me wrong,” Strizzi, a 49-year-old federal employee, said in a phone interview. “But this has got to stop. It’s still happening. I could never have fathomed this, that anyone could do such a thing.”
Lucia Strizzi holds Stella, a Goldendoodle puppy. Stella was euthanized about 6 weeks after Lucia’s mother, Sara Strizzi of Manhattan Beach, purchased her from a seller in a parking lot in Chino. Stella was diagnosed with parvo, and Strizzi won a judgment against the seller. (Courtesy of Sara Strizzi)
Strizzi said she had a good experience buying a dog off Craigslist a couple of years ago, so when boyfriend Al Lucarelli wanted a bigger dog, Strizzi returned to the online classified ad site a few days before Thanksgiving in 2019. She found a Goldendoodle they liked and arranged through text messages to meet the seller in the parking lot in Chino.
It was a hot day, too hot to put the female dog on the pavement and allow her to run around to judge her health. Strizzi did pick her up, and it was an immediate good match. The seller, whose name Strizzi did not know at the time, tried to rush her, Strizzi said.
Strizzi went to a bank and pulled out $1,400. The seller handed Strizzi what she claimed was a record of vaccinations that the seller said she had administered. The seller also said the dog was eight weeks old — the legal minimum age in California for selling a puppy.
“(The seller’s) last words to me were, ‘You’re going to love her,’ ” Strizzi said.
But the dog, whom they named Stella, was lethargic in her home, which Strizzi initially chalked up to being in a new environment. The next morning, Stella vomited and had diarrhea. After a few days of illness, Strizzi took Stella to a veterinarian, who diagnosed parvo. The virus destroys cells in the small intestine and can also affect the heart and bones, according to the American Kennel Club.
Strizzi paid the veterinarian $2,700 for treatment. She said she texted the seller, who agreed to pay half, but who then changed her phone number.
“She (the puppy) would be walking sideways like she was drunk. Her legs would buckle and she would fall on her face,” said Strizzi, who also said she discovered that Stella was younger than eight weeks and that her white fur had been dyed golden brown.
Sara Strizzi of Manhanttan Beach holds Stella, a Goldendoodle puppy. Stella was euthanized …read more
Source:: Los Angeles Daily News