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Think Twice about Purchasing a Puppy as a Holiday Gift to Avoid Getting Cheated

Connecticut Better Business Bureau urges consumers to be extremely careful when buying a puppy as a holiday gift because of the proliferation of scams associated with puppy sales.

Connecticut BBB Urges Givers to Carefully Consider Giving Any Pet as a Gift

A new pet will bring smiles to the faces of most children; however, gift-givers should keep in mind that unless the family is also enthusiastic about the new addition, the pet could end up at the animal shelter.

Many animal experts recommend against introducing a new pet, especially a young one, into the family during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.  If you have your heart set on surprising the family, give them a “gift voucher” for the dog and pick one out together after the holidays.

In particular, Connecticut Better Business Bureau urges consumers to be extremely careful when buying a puppy as a holiday gift because of the proliferation of scams associated with puppy sales.

Regardless of when you buy or rescue your new dog, BBB and the American Kennel Club offer the following advice:

Don’t fall victim to a puppy scammer.  Because of the emotional investment in buying a puppy, scammers are looking to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers.  Make sure to ask around for a breeder, rescue group, or shelter referral.  Always check out the business’s BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org.

Never send money without first checking a breeder or shelter’s credentials. If you locate a puppy through a website, do not send money without speaking to the breeder and checking references and credentials first.  Ask if the breeder is a member of an American Kennel Club-affiliated club and contact the club to verify membership.

Don’t support puppy mills. Unless you can visit the breeding facility before the purchase and bring your puppy home personally, do not purchase a puppy from a website.  When you have a puppy shipped from another area, you don’t know how that puppy has been treated, how healthy or young it is, or whether or not the puppy exists at all.  As a veterinarian for referrals to reputable facilities.

Don't be fooled by a well-designed website. Unscrupulous scammers will often create a professional-looking but fraudulent website designed to lure the potential buyer in with cute puppy pictures.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Beware of scammers who offer to "re-home" their purebred puppy in exchange for transportation or vaccination fees. If a free purebred puppy sounds too good to be true, it usually is.  Scammers will continually ask for more money for unexpected and fraudulent costs.

You will find additional helpful holiday and consumer tips at http://www.bbb.org.

-Submitted by Howard Schwartz Executive Communications Director, Connecticut Better Business Bureau

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lesley Ferguson Simoni November 30, 2012 at 08:56 PM
@ Wyatt - many shelter dogs do go on to become therapy dogs. We have actually placed dogs from our shelter into nursing homes, where they are loved and doing well.
victoria verderame November 30, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Reading some of the comments above really upset me. I adopted my dog from Labs4Rescue. He is not pure lab, but a mix. However, there were many purebreds on the site with paper work! Adopting doesn't mean that you get "jipped" out of being able to have a pure bred. Plus, my pup is already one of the best watch dogs I have ever known. Over the summer we were walking at night in the dark near my condo, he heard two voices and immediately stopped, put his tail up, stepped out in front of me and began to bark. I have never felt safer then I do now with him on patrol. You should check Petfinder, some organizations can be picky but I have nothing but good things to say about Labs4Rescue and Nutmeg Rescue. Its a wonderful network of connected adopters, fosters, and volunteers.
sam December 01, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Wyatt, if you can't pass the requirements of an adoption group, then you shouldn't have a dog. This is EXACTLY the problem!
Elissa Bass December 01, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Victoria, YES! There are rescues for nearly every type of pure breed as well - it is so easy to find the perfect dog for your family if you just do the research!!!!
Highway Worker December 03, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Everyone here missed a very important point. In today's day and age there is no reason for a family not to do their homework on a specific breed before choosing a dog. The Uggie you see on film that stole everyone's hearts this year was a rescue because his first owners could not handle him. There are websites that offer compatability testing. Whether you like it or not, you must be aware of a breeds needs. They will not fit into your family lifestyle if it is not similar to the breeds natural traits.

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