One of our alert friends from the animal welfare community just alerted us to a sad story from Tanya Wisler, a Chihuahua breeder in Kingwood, who says she was looking for a forever home for one of her dogs, but the dog wound up in the hands of an alleged dogflipper.
This was the first time we've heard of such a scheme, and here's what Wisler says went down: Earlier this month, she posted on Craigslist, seeking a good home for five-year-old Zydi. Wisler says she was contacted by Tavarius Williams of Atascocita, who claimed to have just had a dog who had passed away. Williams claimed to be looking for a new companion. Wisler says she got a good feeling about Williams, who she says came across as a warm person and a dog lover. (Wisler added that Williams -- her words, not ours -- was a man dressed in women's clothes.)
But Wisler was horrified when, three days later, she found Zydi for sale ($100) on Craigslist.
The seller didn't include a name, but the phone number matched Williams's. Wisler said she called Williams and asked to get Zydi back, even offering $200, but, she says, Williams never responded. (The ad, by the way, stated that "im gettin rid of her because ive started rescuing animals and i cant give her that attention i usee to give her anymore she's an akc champion Chihuaha....[sic].")
We called Williams, who refuted Wisler's claim that she tried to buy Zydi back, and Williams also accused Wisler of mistreating the dogs she breeds. (Keep in mind, Williams was selling Zydi after only having her for three days, and Williams's ad didn't say anything about the dog being in bad shape. Zydi was described as "blue and white," "housebroken," "litter box trained," "utd on shots" and "great with children as well as cats.")
When asked, Williams denied having tried to give away or sell any animals recently. However, Williams's Facebook profile is riddled with dogs for sale (and at least one cat ); a search of Craigslist's local pets section turned up 41 ads using Williams's phone number since April 16.
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When we questioned Williams's truthfulness, Williams told us, "You can really not call my damn phone and kiss my ass..." and then the words just sort of ran together, forming a rather unintelligible stew. So when we said, "Pardon?" and Williams responded with, "You heard what I said," we had to say that, yes, we heard something being said, we just couldn't decipher it. Williams obligingly clarified with this (before ultimately hanging up): "Print my name in something, I will sue your ass, do you understand?"
Although Williams claimed to still have Zydi, Wisler believes Williams would have just sold Zydi back if that were the case. As far as Wisler's concerned, Zydi could be anywhere. Let's hope that, wherever she is, she's safe.