Oregon pet lover pays costly price for invisible dog

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

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.
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1 Comment

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One response to “Oregon pet lover pays costly price for invisible dog

  1. Mark Burrows

    The entire thing is disturbing considering that puppy mills alone are running rampart throughout North America and the rest of the world. These guys are the ones hiring online companies to move their product without buyers seeing the conditions of their operations. They are also masters of either creating false documents or even counterfeiting real ones.
    So, one crime begets another crime and the scam artists jump into the act. They don’t need product, they just need you to believe they have product.
    Either way, you are going to end up paying excessive amounts of money.
    Do the right thing and get in touch with certified dog breeders. It is not that difficult. They all have associations who provide contact information of who their genuine breeders are. My father for years raised and bred Tennessee Walker horses and was registered with the Tennessee Walker Horses Breeding Association, The American Warmblood Society, and other breeder organizations. He himself was a highly awarded horse dress showman, and he bred great show horses. He always had a great collie dog to help round up the horses from pasture. When he decided to retire from the horse business due to age. He took up dog breeding, and his choice was the Shetland Sheepdog also known as a Sheltie, but often mistakenly called a miniature Collie which they are not. My father still had the love of being a showman but for him it was more for the sake of community and family. He was a hero to the children, the elderly, and the hospitalizes as his highly talented dogs went through their stunt and performances. He still held true to being a professional breeder and always scrutinized the buyers. He had a keen sense. Often he has out and out refused to sell an animal to a person just from an inner feeling.
    These are the kind of people you need to purchase your purebred pets from. The fact should remain that there should be only two reasons to own a purebred. One, because you are interested in show competition. Two, you wish to be a breeder yourself, thus you will need to either purchase both a sire and a bitch, or already know of a register breeder.
    People who buy purebred dogs as a status symbol, are wasteful to the future of the breed, and have no regard for the history of the breed. If you purchase a purebred as a pet because of its qualities, then make sure you have it spayed or neutered and so it does not breed.
    The concept of custom crossbreeding, is simply a novelty, and one I hope will soon pass. Now, don’t jump all over me thinking I am some kind of an animal racist. It doesn’t work that way. In a way it is a parallel comparison, but as I said, certain breeds have certain innate abilities that actually have value in assisting various needs of humans that is beyond just companionship. It is not practical to think that if we take the ability of that dog and breed it with the ability of this dog, we will have a dog that will do both. It would take centuries of animal husbandry and environmental breeding to create such a breed to share abilities. All you create is an aesthetic creature to be admired. Most of these pets look confused as they are paraded about on their leashes. Why people want them is beyond me, and even more amusing the the high rate of theft of these designer dogs, that at one time, we simply called mutts and gave them away because some dog managed to break into the breading compound and sire a litter.

    Mark Burrows

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