Consumer safety experts issue warning to online pet adopters - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Consumer safety experts issue warning to online pet adopters

Posted: Updated:
(MGN photo) (MGN photo)

Consumer safety experts are warning people not to be bitten when buying dogs over the internet.

The Better Business Bureau in Connecticut said there has been widespread fraud when it comes to the sale of purebred puppies and pets.

The BBB said people have lost hundreds, even thousands, of dollars by purchasing purebred puppies from deceptive breeders.

“We love our pets,” said Howard Schwartz, executive communications director of the Connecticut Better Business Bureau. “We get excited about them and our emotions often play into these scams. Con artists know this and they try to lure clients with various offers, such as a pedigree pup for half of the common market price.”

The BBB cited information from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that said many of the animals sold through non-reputable breeders come from “puppy mills.”

Puppy mills are commercial breeding operations that place profits above the health of dogs, according to the ASPCA.

Scammers often lift pictures and descriptions of dogs from other websites in an attempt to lure their victims.

Typically, rogue purebred sites that advertise lower than legitimate market value for dogs get the victim to pay extra fees for shipping, paperwork, veterinary visits, vaccinations, special shipping crates and unnecessary insurance.

In some cases, potential pet owners go to the airport only to never have their pet arrive.

The BBB urges customers to be wary of websites that ask for money to be sent in advance by wire transfer or other unsecured methods.

Classified advertisements can be placed by criminals in other countries. The pets on those classifieds may also have been stolen from other pet owners.

The BBB recommends following these tips when looking to adopt a pet:

  • Consider buying locally.
  • Don't be swayed by a fancy website.
  • Make sure the price makes sense.
  • Research the seller and obtain references.
  • Ask for medical records and pedigree.

To aid in that research, people and visit the Connecticut BBB's website here.

Copyright 2015 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.