When it comes to adopting or buying a pet, puppy eyes work, says Kathie Hill of Boise.
For two weeks she and her friend, Trent, of Ontario, Ore., worked to get a purebred Schnauzer from Chicago to Boise.
Trent signed an agreement to buy the pup for $211, she says. He was later contacted by Animal Airways and told he had to have an insurance payment that was refundable upon delivery of the pup to Boise.
“They wanted $950,” she says. “But, then the little guy was stopped in Denver where Trent was told he needed to pay another $600 cause the dog stayed overnight since he couldn’t prove he had insurance.”
Pet lovers will pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a purebred puppy. Beyond the cost of purchasing the puppy, other costs often include veterinary bills, certificates of health, crates, shipping, insurance and pedigree costs. Scammers are also aware of these costs and use them take advantage of consumers and run high-dollar scams.
Trent was told by the Oregon State Police to freeze his banking accounts. The $950 scammers were able to take the original $211, but not the fake insurance fee.
Better Business Bureau warns consumers to watch out for classified ads offering purebred puppies at reduced prices. These puppy scams often originate overseas and hook people through Internet sites such as craigslist.com.
Residents are also warned to beware of Internet sellers asking for full payment before they give documentation, other than a photograph, that the puppy is healthy and, sometimes, real.
They collect money for the cost of the pet plus bogus fees, such as shipping or ‘ownership transfer,’ and then never deliver the advertised puppies or dogs.
BBB offers the following:
- Beware of ads with multiple misspellings and grammatical errors; many pet scams come from overseas and scammers often do not have a firm grasp on the English language.
- Do not send or wire money to people you do not know.
- If purchasing a pedigreed pet, be sure the breeder provides documentation of the parents’ registration with the right kennel club. This ensures that the pet is in fact a legitimate pure-bred animal. It is then your responsibility to register your pet with the right kennel club.
- Never send money without first checking a breeder or shelter’s credentials. If you find a puppy through a website, do not send money without speaking to the breeder and checking references and credentials first. Ask if the breeder is a member of an American Kennel Club-affiliated club and contact the club to verify membership.
- Don’t support puppy mills. Unless you can visit the breeding facility before the purchase and bring your puppy home personally, do not purchase a puppy from a website. When you have a puppy shipped from another area, you don’t know how that puppy has been treated, how healthy or young it is, or whether the puppy exists at all.
- Don’t be fooled by a well designed website. Unscrupulous scammers will often create a professional looking but fraudulent website designed to lure the potential buyer in with cute puppy pictures.