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Don’t get sucked in by Internet puppy scams!

By Gary Bogue
Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 at 6:37 am in dogs, Internet Puppy Scams, Puppy, Puppy Mills.

Don’t be fooled by adorable pictures and “Free to Good Homes” ads.

In response to recent reports regarding the growing trend of Internet scammers offering purebred puppies for “free to good homes,” the  American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers potential pet parents some valuable tips to avoid such scams.

“The best way to avoid being scammed is to simply never buy a dog you haven’t met in person,” said Cori Menkin, Senior Director of Legislative Initiatives for the ASPCA. “Internet scammers lure people with cute pictures of cuddly puppies, but the Internet is a vast, unregulated marketplace. People need to do their homework before they decide to get a pet through the Internet.”

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, hundreds of complaints are filed every year from victims who were scammed when buying a dog on-line.

When looking for your pet on-line, the ASPCA suggests these simple tips:

** Always check references, including others who have purchased pets from a specific breeder, as well as the veterinarian the breeder works with.

** Be sure to deal directly with a breeder, not a broker.

** Never send Western Union or money order payments. If it’s a scam you’ll never get them back.

** Always visit. Reputable breeders and rescue groups will be more than happy to offer you a tour.

** If you are told that there will be no refunds for a sick puppy, you are most probably dealing with a puppy mill. A reputable breeder or rescue group will always take the puppy back, regardless of the reason.

** Always pick your puppy up at the kennel. Do not have the puppy shipped or meet at a random location.

Because there are homeless pets awaiting adoption in every community across the country, it is strongly recommended that you  make pet adoption your first option when you’re thinking about bringing a dog or cat into your home.

There are thousands of animals waiting for good homes at local animal shelters, including purebreds and puppies.

The ASPCA says if you feel you have been a victim of a puppy scam, contact the following:

** The Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

** The Better Business Bureau at http://odr.bbb.org/odrweb/public/GetStarted.aspx

For more information on puppy scams, please visit http://www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=cruelty_puppymills_scams

Be careful. It’s a mean old world out there. /Gary

To find out more about the ASPCA and the good things they do see http://www.aspca.org/site/PageServer

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