ABC reported Friday evening on a particularly nasty Nigerian internet scam. It’s not a new one by any means; in fact, it is listed by the Better Business Bureau as one of the top five holiday scams. And it certainly gains strength during the holiday season. The scammer advertises puppies for sale and posts cute pictures on various internet sites. Someone looking for a puppy as a girl for children or perhaps a spouse.sends money as directed, but no puppy arrives…that’s because the scammer never owned any puppies to begin with.
The VFDCB reminds Commonwealth residents that there are many responsible, caring dog breeders right here in Virginia and ordering a puppy online is not necessary except possibly for rarer breeds.
Why is buying a good family pet more difficult and time consuming than buying anything else? Say you want a new toaster, You go to Consumer Reports or perhaps read reviews on Amazon or other retail sites. You decide which model you want, order it from a respected distributor of that brand, and voila! You have a new toaster. It just doesn’t work that way with puppies.
First of all, there’s a lot of variation in puppies. Selection of the parents, care of the mother, socialization of the puppies, veterinary care for the litter (as in vaccinations and deworming), and the way the puppies are raised in general all have a lasting impact on the puppy you take into your home. And those things are really hard to gauge just by looking at an internet site or an ad.
Many excellent breeders have websites and make their first contacts with puppy buyers through email. But websites depicting healthy puppies rolling and playing in a lovely grassy backyard are easily faked. Unless you visit the breeder, you have no way of knowing how your puppy was really raised. Like any other purchase over the internet, it’s buyer beware!
A good breeder:
— welcomes scheduled visits and encourages the buyer to meet the puppy and its mother before making a commitment;
– asks lots of questions about the buyer’s lifestyle and plans for taking care of the puppy;
— provides information about the breed and advises the buyer if it would not be a good match for his lifestyle;
– includes AKC registration papers and a health record with the purchase; and
– offers to take the puppy back if it doesn’t work out.
The AKC site offers all kinds of information about choosing and buying a puppy, starting with the breeder referral service. Through AKC you can contact the national breed club for your chosen type of dog and ask for contact information for breeders nearby.
But suppose the only breeder you can find for your chosen dog lives miles away? If you are unable to travel to the breeder’s facility, you’ll have to do a little more research. Find out whether the breeder is a member of a local kennel club or the breed’s national club and check him out with those organizations..Ask for references. Conduct a search on the internet for complaints about the kennel or breeder. AKC offers a Breeder of Merit title for those who have been involved with the breed for five years or more, health test their breeding stock, have proven their dogs’ quality in conformation or performance events, belong to an AKC member club, and who insure that all puppies are registered.
Buying a puppy is not like any other “consumer experience,” but it is certainly more rewarding in the long run than buying a new toaster! If we can help, contact us!