Dog lovers are calling for pet stores to open their eyes to puppy farming, after discovering what they believe is an eight-week-old raised in a puppy mill being sold in an Auckland pet store.
A group of cavalier King Charles spaniel lovers have raised more than $2000 to buy the dog.
"He just looks forlorn," organiser Rachel Williams says. "He looks sad. He's only eight weeks old and they shouldn't be away from their mother until 10 weeks."
Ms Williams' daughter spotted the puppy and brought it to her mothers' attention. Within an hour of posting a photo to a dog lovers' forum on Facebook, pledges of $500 had been made to get the cavalier out and an owner had been lined up.
The group believes the dog was bred in a puppy mill.
"No proper breeder would ever put pups in a pet shop, that is just an absolute no-no," Ms Williams says.
Dogs bred in what are known as 'puppy mills' often have health issues, due to a mixture of bloodlines. They're predominantly sold on Trade Me, and Ms Williams says friends of hers have shared horror stories after unknowingly buying from these breeders.
"They've got a dog, the dog's started to have a fit after a couple of weeks and they've gone back to the breeder and she's accused them of kicking the dog. She doesn't even care that the dog's started to have medical issues. That can be avoided if you are breeding responsibly. It's devastating to see.
"By the time you've got the pup you've fallen in love, and the breeder knows damn well that you're not going to give it back. Or she'll say, 'give it back and I'll swap it', and you think, what?"
She claims pet stores and other animal groups don't have policies in place to prevent this.
"It's actually starting to wreck the breed, because New Zealand's very small and if you don't breed very carefully you end up with congenital abnormalities."
The group wants to see more attention paid to the issue.
"It's just money greed and because they're such a beautiful looking dog they sell very, very easily.
"I'm just devastated to see this little guy… who on earth has gone and done this? They can't speak for themselves."