You've got your heart set on a particular type of pup and you're ready to bring one home, wahoo! It seems like it should be a pretty easy, straightforward process but there are lots of not-so-nice people out there on the Internet trying to scam unsuspecting dog buyers--not to mention the puppy mills you want to avoid. We cover some of the most common traps, and tell you how to shop for a puppy safely and ethically:
The Rare Breed Scam
You’ve searched forever for a very specific breed, and finally come across an ad with the perfect puppy. The seller is often quick to respond to your questions and may even send additional photos. However, they don't live near you, and require a wire money transfer (not check or online payment). Then you either may never hear from them again, or they'll insist something needs to be addressed before completing the transaction (such as providing extra funds for shipping insurance). In either case, you will never receive the puppy, and the seller will stop responding.
The Low Cost Puppy Scam
This is similar to the rare breed scam, only the seller says that the puppy is “free to a good home” or that they’re selling a well-known breed for a very low price. They may even beg you to take good care of their dog and seem genuinely upset to essentially give them away. Again, the seller is not located near you and requests a money transfer for shipping costs. And again, they may say the money didn’t go through or that there was a problem and request a second transfer—and you’ll never hear from them again.
The Bait and Switch Scam
This scenario also often occurs when you’re searching for a specific breed. The seller will provide some photos of the puppy, answer your questions, and may provide you with fake details from a legitimate animal shipping company. After sending them money, you do actually receive a puppy, but it is not the one from the pictures. It may not even be the same breed! You will either have a very difficult time returning the puppy, or you may never hear from the seller again.
The False Sanctuary Scam
In this case, the seller says they’re selling puppies from a rescue house or sanctuary. However, their adoption fees are astronomical and they’ve justified the costs to you. You may get the right kind of puppy shipped to you, but it may be from a puppy mill or another unethical operation.
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