What gift does your child want most this holiday season? A new puppy! Even adults can feel their inner child go all warm and giggly at the thought of bringing home an adorable, fuzzy new family member. And why not? Millions of Americans and pet lovers around the world know first-hand the priceless value dogs (and cats) add to their lives.
Sadly, this is exactly why puppy scams abound during the holiday season. (Actually, they are a horrid problem that exists year round.)
Don’t be taken in by puppy scams!
Here at Pacific Pet Transport, our whole world revolves around pets. We can’t think of anything more contemptable than inhumane treatment of animals. Or thieves that try to steal your money through puppy scams. Those thieves’ favorite marketing venue? The internet. In fact, the Better Business Bureau believes 80% of all sponsored advertising links displayed to Americans searching online for pets are fake.
Most of these ads – usually on free sites such as Craigslist and Facebook – purport to offer “rescue” pups, although some focus on expensive “designer” breeds such as Boston Terriers or Labradoodles. They always include an irresistible photo to seal the deal. How can you turn away from that cute face, or those sad, beseeching eyes? All you have to do is send money, and your new puppy will be on his way to you.
Sometimes the scammers go so far as to steal the identity of a real business in order to look more legitimate to you. Puppy scammers often victimize pet transport companies such as ours in this way. They will hijack our logo and use it on ads and emails, pretending to be us. They’ll tell you the puppy is free, but there’s a fee to “ship” it. (Scam pups are never nearby, because that way you could ask to see them or go get them yourself, thereby exposing the scam.)
Two things to remember:
- Legitimate businesses NEVER ask you to send money via MoneyGram or Western Union.
- The reality is, there is no dog. They’re simply phishing for your money.
Real, reputable pet shippers belong to the IPATA
That’s the International Pet & Animal Transportation Association. If you see an ad from a “shipper,” you can check IPATA’s online membership directory or call them to confirm that company exists. And if something seems off to you, check their list of known pet scammers. The list is updated often. IPATA also offers excellent tips on detecting puppy scams. And, by the way, no reputable animal transport company sells pets.
Are you ready for a REAL puppy?
The holidays are not necessarily the best time to bring a young dog into your home. Puppies need a lot of sleep. And they require constant attention, day and night. Even with that, they get into things. Can you handle all that right now? If so, forget the internet and head to your local shelter. There, you’ll find a plethora of pups, and adult dogs, too. (And, yes, cat lovers, fabulous felines as well.)
Shelters are filled with dogs of all ages, types, sizes, and personalities – all dreaming of a secure, loving home of their own. Perhaps for the holidays. Another great source of tail-wagging future best friends? Breed-specific rescue groups. If you’re looking for a particular breed, you can also buy a pup from a professional breeder. (You’ll know they’re for real when they invite you to visit in person, to meet their available dogs.)
But beware puppy mill babies
Shelters, rescue groups, and reputable breeders take loving care of the animals in their charge. Nutritious food, appropriate housing, medical care, and plenty of socialization. You get a dog who is happy and healthy. But those little tykes in the window at the pet store? Maybe not. That’s because many of them come from puppy mills – informal “breeders” who treat female dogs as machines to crank out puppies as fast as possible, with minimal concern about the mommas’ welfare.
However, an increasing number of concerned pet stores no longer sell puppy mill puppies. Instead, they serve as satellite rescue centers, partnering with local shelters to find great homes for great canines.
If you’re in the market for a new dog this holiday season, start by reading this excellent article from Britain’s Pets4Homes. Then do the right thing – adopt. Because there’s no “holiday spirit” in puppy scams, only a terrible cycle of lies and mistreatment.