Imagine buying what you believe are two pedigree toy poodles only to discover that you shelled out $300 for two pimped out ferrets pumped full of steroids and with bushy brushed out hair.
That's what happened recently to a retired Argentine man who, after purchasing the animals at a public market, brought them to his veterinarian for vaccinations. Once there, the veterinarian informed him that he was now the proud owner of two king-sized rodents known regionally as "Brazilian rats."
The bizarre purchase confirmed a long running rumor that such rodents were being sold as small-breed puppies to uninformed consumers at the giant La Salada market – South America's biggest black market located just outside of Buenos Aires.
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In the United States, toy poodles can go for upwards of $700. In comparison, a ferret usually sells for $70.
The hoodwinked Argentinian apparently wasn't the only person fooled by unscrupulous sellers at the La Salada market.
Recently a woman, believing she was buying a Chiuhuahua puppy, also bought a ferret, reported the Daily Mail
Neither the man nor the woman has filed a complaint and it is unclear if authorities are investigating the fraud. The current whereabouts of the domesticated ferrets was also not reported.
In the case of the ferrets altered to resemble pedigree poodles, the animals were reportedly filled with steroids in an attempt to increase their size and distort their shape, making them less slender and more bulky, as a toy poodle puppy should appear.
Additionally, the ferrets, which have a natural white coat, were groomed to resemble a poodle puppy before they were displayed at the market.
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The La Salada market is a self-contained micro-economic center of the Argentinian capital, where approximately 7,000 people are employed, according to Latin America Current Events and News.
It is largely filled with skilled and unskilled Bolivian workers who have migrated to Argentina in search of a better life, according to the Daily Mail.
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