LOS ANGELES, CA (December 12, 2017) – This holiday season, PuppySpot, the nation's most trusted service for connecting dog lovers with responsible breeders, urges prospective puppy owners to adopt responsibly, paying close attention to pet scams and ensuring their puppy comes from a reputable, verified source. PuppySpot advises following these tips when considering a puppy during the popular holiday gifting season:
- Make Sure You're Ready – A puppy shouldn’t be considered a seasonal gift. A puppy is a living, breathing family member that requires a forever home and a lot of attention. Be honest with yourself and whomever the puppy’s caretaker(s) may be, asking the right questions and then determining whether you are prepared to take on the responsibility, time and effort that go along with caring for a new pet.
- Choose The Right Breed For You – Searching for the right puppy for you and your family should be a well-researched and thoughtful decision based on a variety of factors unique to you and your lifestyle. For example, do you live in an apartment without outdoor space? Work long hours? Then, perhaps a smaller lapdog that doesn’t require a ton of exercise is the best fit. Do you have allergies or a health condition that requires a non-shedding breed? A poodle or poodle mix may be a great choice. Or perhaps you work from home and have a large yard or lead an active lifestyle? Go for a larger breed that loves to play fetch and take long walks!
- Research Your Puppy Source – Whether getting a pup from a breeder, shelter, or rescue – it's imperative to vet the source thoroughly. Read reviews from other puppy owners who have gone through the same experience. Speak directly with the breeder or shelter to ask the right questions. For example, if selecting from a breeder, make sure the breeder is USDA licensed or legally exempt from licensing. How long have they been in business and what's their experience level? Understand where your puppy is coming from – its history, any known health issues, current state of care, etc.
- Your Puppy’s Health Is The #1 Priority – Make sure a licensed veterinarian examines your puppy and provides a thorough health report before the puppy is released to you. Obtain records of vaccinations to ensure the puppy is current on all the necessary immunizations for his/her age. Ask about a health guarantee or reimbursement, should you discover your puppy has a genetic or hereditary illness.
- Ask for Current Photos and/or Video – Oftentimes, geographical limitations make it impossible to visit your puppy in person, so ask your breeder or shelter/rescue for up-to-date photos and videos to not only see what your puppy currently looks like, but also to observe behavior, temperament and socialization with other puppies, adult dogs, and humans! Red flag: if you receive suspicious photos that look like stock images, or where the puppy doesn't look real – you may be target of a scam.
- Obtain Documentation – Ask your puppy source what paperwork has already been filed and what you will receive with your puppy. Important paperwork could include everything from registration papers to veterinary health records or proof of genetic testing. Similarly, ask to review any contracts you will be signing. These agreements could include anything and everything from neutering/spaying to re-homing provisions. Beware – if the source refuses to supply any documentation, they are likely fraudulent.
- Never Wire Money via Western Union or Moneygram – This is the number one way to spot an online pet scammer. Not only are these payments notoriously difficult to trace, but are impossible to cancel or reverse. A reputable source will offer alternative, safer payment methods such as credit cards or PayPal.
- Pay Close Attention to Strange Communications – If your puppy source suddenly offers up a bogus excuse or story as to why they need payment right away, red flag. If communications via email or text are filled with misspellings and odd grammatical choices, beware, as most pet scammers reside in foreign countries. And lastly, if your source becomes unresponsive or difficult to get answers from, move on. You are right to be suspicious of any source who refuses to speak on the phone. After all, just as you’re screening them, if they are a responsible source, it will be at least as important to them to screen you to make sure their puppy is going to a good home.
If you've been a victim of fraud, please contact us at [email protected] and:
- Call the Federal Trade Commission. 1-877-FTC-HELP
- Call Homeland Security Investigations at the Department of Homeland Security. 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (866-347-2423)
- Contact the FBI cybercrimes unit
If you sent money through Western Union, MoneyGram or a Green Dot MoneyPak, you should also contact those companies directly. They can offer information about the transactions, and download their complaints into the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel database, which is used by police around the country.
PuppySpot's mission is to make lives better by placing healthy puppies into happy homes. Based upon a fundamental belief that finding a puppy does not have to come with so many x-factors, PuppySpot does not ask for trust, but seeks to earn it through transparency and action. PuppySpot is a USDA-licensed company and winner of the Feefo Gold Trusted Service award, an independent seal of excellence that recognizes exceptional businesses, as rated by real customers. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.Media Contact: