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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.

Leslie Yager November 30, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Tails of Courage at PetSmart Norwalk this Sunday, Dec. 2nd, 525 Connecticut Ave., Norwalk, CT 12:00 noon - 2:00pm Responsible dog adoptions possible for the holidays.
Leslie Yager November 30, 2012 at 02:12 PM
...or inquire about Mindy-Lu who is being fostered nearby http://patch.com/B-cChY
KerriAnn Hofer November 30, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Much of this advice applies to puppy purchases year round and can be simplified to one sentence -- DO NOT BUY A PUPPY UNLESS YOU KOW WHERE IT CAME FROM AND HOW ITS PARENTS WERE RAISED. This applies, of course, to PET STORE PUPPES. Pet Stores, like websites, may look inviting, but you won't know what conditions the puppy (and its parents) came from. Most pet store puppies come from commercial breeding facilities and by purchasing your puppy from a store you are supporting that industry. If you are going to purchase a puppy, make sure that you are getting one from a quality breeder -- someone who will let you visit and meet the puppy's parents and who will take the puppy back if it isn't a good match. Many thanks to the BBB for their support!

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