COLORADO PUPPY SCAM is on the rise: What to know before buying a new pet

THORNTON, Colo. (KDVR) – Sheryl Slankard thought she’d have a goldendoodle puppy over the holidays when she sent thousands of dollars to a breeder in Utah. That puppy has never been to her home and likely doesn’t even exist.

“Most breeders I find locally have waiting lists of up to two years to get a puppy. I went online trying to find a doodle,” said Slankard.

Her search brought her to the website, “TheDoodlesKennel.com,” which advertised puppies that matched exactly what she was looking for. Slankard says the site lists rave reviews, contact information and even photos of the breeder’s family. She thinks it’s legal.

Slankard paid $1,300 through online payment app Zelle for a puppy named Angie, but the costs didn’t stop there. The seller asked for $2,000 for a crate to ship the puppy, which Slankard paid for, then another $2,000 for insurance.

“That’s when I said ‘no, that’s not true. I have no more money, I cannot send you money. ‘ And they told me to just go buy a gift card from Walmart for $2,000 and then they’ll give me a refund when she gets here,” said Slonkard.

That’s when she started to realize this was a scam. Slankard eventually lost contact with the seller. She never received the puppy or the $3,300 she paid for.

“I feel humiliated that it happened. I really haven’t told a lot of people because I’m so ashamed of what I’ve done,” said Slankard.

According to the Better Business Bureau, these “puppy scams” ​​are on the rise. According to Scam Tracker, reports of these types of scams in Colorado have quadrupled since before the pandemic. In 2019, only 22 cases were reported, compared with 110 in 2020 and 97 so far this year.

“Unfortunately, it has become very common, especially with the pandemic. People are at home, they have more time to devote to a furry companion,” said Keylen Villagrana, spokesperson for BBB Great West + Pacific.

Villagrana says there are easy ways consumers can protect themselves when buying a pet through an online breeder.

  • Know the average price of the puppy you are interested in to avoid pricing it too well for the truth.
  • Know which company breeders are using to transport their dogs and see their certification through the US Department of Agriculture.
  • Ask to make a video call with the breeder and the puppy.
  • Check claims with the BBB.
  • Get something in writing detailing all the costs and fees for the puppy.

“A legitimate breeder will work with you and they will be aware of possible charges,” Villagrana says.

Slankard was able to find another puppy through a local source. She said their new dog, Callie, is a silver lining for this unfortunate situation.

“When things happen, we have to grow from it. I will never let this happen again and I want the message to get out so other people don’t let it happen to them,” Slankard said.

https://kdvr.com/news/problem-solvers/puppy-scams-on-the-rise-how-to-be-aware/ COLORADO PUPPY SCAM is on the rise: What to know before buying a new pet

Emma Bowman

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