Beware of Florida Puppy Scams | news


Children often ask if they can have a puppy for Christmas.

But now, more than ever, it is time to be aware of a disturbing trend in fraud known as “puppy cheating”.

As more consumers use the internet to find new pets, more and more scams start popping up online. Veterinarians.org conducted a study that focused on the states with the most frequently reported puppy scams and found Florida ranked third.

Their Special Reports team analyzed data from The Better Business Bureau to rank the states with the most frequently reported puppy fraud cases overall and per 100,000 people.

Key findings include that nearly 3,000 puppy-related scams were reported to the Better Business Bureau between January 1 and October 31, 165% more than in the same period prior to the 2019 pandemic. Florida reported 219 puppy frauds and an average Loss of money of $ 738.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is aware of puppy fraud.

“Given the holidays, many people are considering buying a puppy,” Sally Combs, director of the SPCA based in Orange City, Volusia County, said in an email.

The Volusia SPCA takes note of these red flags.

• Fraudsters want to communicate via email.

• When buying a pet online, buyers should always speak to the seller.

• If the price is low and too good to be true, it is usually not true.

• Buyers should research and know the cost of the breed they are interested in.

• Fraudsters often use stock photos. A reverse image search can detect fake photos.

• Scammers can claim that their puppies are registered with a specific agency. Buyers should contact this agency for confirmation.

• Buyers may want to check with the local BBB and law enforcement agency for complaints.

Mrs. Combs recalled an incident in West Volusia. A woman sent cash for two puppies to an unknown person who was listing on Craigslist in Orlando. The woman was told that the puppies would be delivered by animal transport. The pups never arrived and the women were unable to trace their money. The fake Craigslist advertisement has also been found in other major cities.

“Volusia’s SPCA suggests that anyone looking to buy a puppy should go to a reputable breeder and choose their pet,” she said. “The SPCA also suggests that people go to their local animal shelters and adopt a pet. Many loving puppies and dogs are waiting for a home in local animal shelters. We really don’t recommend buying a pet as the local animal shelters have so many nice dogs, many are purebred, all are wonderful. “

Barry KuKes, Community Outreach Director for the Halifax Humane Society, agreed that shelters have wonderful pets waiting to be adopted.

“Puppy fraud became more common when Covid emerged as the scammers could use the virus as a reason the buyer couldn’t meet the puppy before sending the payment,” KuKes said. “Some breeds of puppies can cost many thousands of dollars, but scammers would sell the puppies for as little as $ 500, so a lot of people would answer. The scammers sell the same puppy they don’t have often and steal thousands of dollars from naive adoptive parents.

The best way to avoid fraud is to adopt from a shelter, he said, with 4 to 6 million animals being put into shelters each year.

“If a person has to buy from a breeder because they insist on a puppy, never pay for the puppy before you get the puppy,” said Mr Kukes. “A deposit of $ 50 to $ 100 is acceptable, but meet the puppy and breeders first. Have the address, phone number, name of the person and as much other information ready as possible. “

He also remembered a scam story.

“I have a friend who bought a yellow lab puppy from a breeder in the Oviedo area,” he said. “He picked up the puppy and it was the same one he originally picked, but the puppy looked a little different. As the puppy got older it became clear that the puppy was a yellow Labrador-Basset mix. He felt cheated for paying for a purebred dog and getting a mixed breed. The dog was still precious and a great dog, but my friend was misled and taken for more money than he should have paid. “

To find a reputable breeder, cat and dog breeders must obtain a hobby breeder permit from Volusia County Animal Services to ensure the protection of the animals and the consumer.

At the national level, the Humane Society Legislative Fund is a priority in passing the Puppy Protection Act, which aims to improve the lives of dogs kept by commercial breeders. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has launched a campaign to prevent Craigslist from allowing animals to be trafficked on its platform.

About Clayton Arredondo

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