As more and more Americans turn to the Internet to find the pet of their dreams, horrendous pet scams have now skyrocketed, as criminals and con artists today seek to take advantage of each and every unsuspecting pet lover.
According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, hundreds of complaints are now filed each year by victims who were conned or swindled when attempting to buy a pet online.
One potential pet parent was hoping to add a lovable Yorkshire Terrier puppy to her family, when she spotted a classified ad.
“It was over my morning coffee that I saw the perfect ad for a Yorkie named Nancy,” says Diane. She sent an email to the address listed, and she immediately received a response—She could have this puppy if she promised her a loving home, and immediately sent $500 to cover the puppy’s shipping costs.
“I corresponded for an entire week with this man who claimed to be a missionary,” Diane explains. Diane then sent the requested $500 payment via Western Union, but once she sent the code for the money transfer, she never heard from this so called “missionary” again. And, of course, she never got the non-existent Yorkie puppy named Nancy.
Like so many trusting animal lovers, Diane had fallen victim to one of the numerous 'Free To Good Home' pet advertisements that are currently circulating on the Internet, and in the classified sections of America’s many newspapers.
But sometimes, a real puppy actually does exist.
Another horrendous Internet scam being perpetuated today on unsuspecting pet lovers are the atrocious Puppy Mill Owner ads, who are actually pretending to be Animal Rescuers. When they have some puppies that they just can’t unload on a pet store, they quickly turn to the Internet, and there, they quickly pose as animal loving pet rescuers.
'Free to a Good Home – an Adorable Poodle Puppy, Recently Rescued from an Abusive Situation.'
When one replies to this type of ad, the so called ‘rescuer’ immediately replies that although the rescued pup is free, the person wanting it will have to pay its handling, medical, and transportation costs – and the amount requested for all of this is usually hundreds and hundreds of dollars.
And if you do pay, you will most likely receive a puppy – but it’s very often not the cute and healthy little puppy that you expected – since it’s really a Puppy Mill Pup - it’s often malnourished and quite sick – and your veterinarian bills to make it healthy, may be astronomical.
And, if you, yourself have some puppies or kittens in your own home that you wish to give away to another good home, free of charge - never, ever, place an ad in the newspaper or on the Internet, advertising ‘Free Kittens' or 'Free Puppies.’
Quite often these days, the people who respond to these types of ads are also merciless con artists attempting to make a fast buck.
Instead of providing your free pups or free kittens with a loving new home, as they so proudly proclaim that they will - in reality, they can’t wait to get their hands on them – for free – so that they can quickly sell them off to a research lab to be tortured, or to a dog fighter, as ‘Pit Bull Bait.’
Getting free pups or kittens just handed over to them by a gullible pet owner is a hell of a lot easier than having to snatch them off the street, or from someone’s backyard.
The world is truly a horrendous place for our animal friends, these sad days, and now, the Internet has made it even worse.
So how do you avoid all of these abysmal pet cons, and scams, and animal cruelties?
The very best option, of course, is to actually visit your local animal shelter, humane society, or pet rescue group, and Adopt – Not Shop - for your next pet, even if you have your heart set on a ‘purebred’ pup or a ‘pedigreed’ cat – America’s Animal Shelters are now all very sadly overflowing with them, as well.