Online Shopping For A Puppy? Be careful
Question: We want to have a puppy for Christmas and have found one online. What do you think of these kinds of transactions?
Reply: For starters, I think puppies as a Christmas present are a colossal mistake (a topic I’ll cover soon), but there is a world of caution flags surrounding these kinds of transactions. Is it possible to find a puppy online and things to look out for? Yes, but you need to be extremely careful and follow a few rational steps to avoid getting scammed.
Fake breeder websites are a common way to get scammed online. Ads on Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook include scammers disguised as real people who put up a dog for sale that “they just want to find a new home” for, but you pay for the shipping. Many online puppy scams start with an advertisement. adorable puppy complemented by irresistible photos, often at a significantly reduced rate compared to what is usually found, as many people are looking for a cheaper price for purebred puppies.
Believe it or not, statistics show that the people most likely to fall victim to this type of scam are teens and their twenties. Once you respond to an ad, most likely via email, you often learn that the animal is located somewhere in the west or overseas. Their only request is that you cover the “inexpensive” shipping costs, usually through Western Union or MoneyGram. And that’s the hook.
Additional costs will follow soon such as “additional delivery costs”, “customs clearance costs”, “vaccinations” and “insurance”. Other red flags on bogus breeder websites are obvious misspellings and stock photos taken from other websites.
Here are some tips to avoid getting pushed around: You always want to be able to speak with breeders in person or over the phone. Additionally, you are looking for breeders who are interested in learning more about you and your dog care skills. Consider finding a breeder close enough to make a personal visit.
This is what I did two years ago. Visiting a breeder’s facilities is one of the best ways to see how legitimate they are. Trust proud breeders to show you their property. If they don’t want to show off or be proud of their facilities, stay away. You look for proper conditions and the general attitude of dogs to assess the quality of the breeder. Adult dogs should be friendly, social, and not afraid of you or other visitors.
I am not crazy about breeders who have many different breeds of dogs. Ideally, they should not specialize in more than one or two breeds and should provide a living space appropriate for the size and breed of their dogs. The breeder should know the characteristics of his breed, his history and any potential genetic or developmental issues.
Ask to see certification that both parents of the litter have been genetically tested for breed-related issues. Insist on a formal contract. This should detail the schedule, all associated costs and a copy of the health certificate. If there is something wrong with your puppy, a reputable breeder will help you with what you need or accept the dog’s return for a full refund. The fakes won’t do that.
Finally, perhaps your best protection against a scammer is to take your time and get referrals. This is where the “new puppy fever” can get us into trouble. Typically we are very attached to the idea of having a puppy, we see a photo and we fall in love. But we’re talking about a relationship here, and I think it’s important to have a very measured, pragmatic, and careful approach.