Puppy Buying Scams on Rise during Holidays

Online Puppy Scams: How to Avoid Them and Support Ethical Dog
Breeding, especially during the holidays.
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INDIANAPOLIS - Dec. 20, 2023 - PRLog -- PRESS RELEASE  12/20/23

Jonathan Lawler, Public Policy Director, Indiana Council for Animal Welfare. 317-627-6703

Online Puppy Scams on the Rise in Indiana: How to Avoid Them Especially during the Holidays.

Indianapolis, Indiana - With the holiday season approaching, many people in Indiana are
looking for a furry friend to join their family. However, buying a puppy online can be a risky and costly decision, as online puppy scams are on the rise in the state.
According to the Better Business Bureau, online puppy scams are up 60% since 2017, and more than 500 complaints have been filed by consumers who have lost money or received sick or nonexistent puppies.  Online Pet Scams make up about a quarter of all online shopping frauds reported to the BBC. Some of these scammers use fake websites, photos, and testimonials to lure unsuspecting buyers, while others pose as legitimate breeders or rescue organizations.

The problem is exacerbated by the recent ordinances passed by some Indiana cities, such as Indianapolis and Carmel, that ban the sale of puppies in pet stores, unless they come from shelters or rescues.  While these laws are intended to prevent puppy mills and animal cruelty, they also have unintended consequences. They force local stores and breeders, who follow ethical and humane standards of care, to close down or relocate, leaving a gap in the market that online scammers can exploit. They also deprive consumers of the opportunity to see and interact with the puppies before buying them, and to verify their health and pedigree.
"We fully support folks who choose a shelter or a rescue. The problem is a rescue animal is not the right fit for everyone and folks are obviously continuing to purchase puppies. ICAW's duty is to make sure these puppies come from ethical breeders and not puppy mills. Every time a city or county passes a ban ordinance instead of implementing standards of care, they open up a new unregulated black market for puppy mills. It is beyond frustrating as we are working to get these substandard breeders shut down. The best way to shut down a puppy mill is to cut off their funding and these well intentioned, but uninformed bans actually create a bigger market for them." said Jonathan Lawler, Public Policy Director for the Indiana Council for Animal Welfare.

Jonathan, warns consumers about the dangers of online puppy scams and urges them to
support ethical dog breeding in Indiana. "Buying a puppy online is like playing Russian roulette. You never know what you are going to get, or if you are going to get anything at all. You could end up with a sick, injured, or genetically defective puppy, or no puppy at all. You could also be supporting cruel and illegal puppy mills that operate in unsanitary and inhumane conditions, and that breed dogs without regard for their health or welfare. When a local unit of government bans pet stores or breeders it really shows they lack understanding of the dog breeding world. It doesn't help that some lobbying groups portraying themselves as animal advocates sell them (local legislators) on
this feel-good legislation and then turn around and fundraise on the backs of the animals and consumers we are trying to protect."
ICAW advises consumers to do their research before buying a puppy, and to avoid websites that offer low prices, free shipping, or can provide any breed. ICAW also recommends visiting local stores and breeders that follow ethical and humane standards of care, and that are licensed and inspected by the state or even better, source their puppies from Canine Care Certified breeders or as breeders are Canine Care Certified themselves. Canine Care Certified is a is a nationwide, voluntary program that addresses the health and overall welfare of dogs in the care of breeders in the United States. It is the only program that not only incorporates measures of the physical health of dogs and puppies raised by breeders, but also strongly emphasizes their behavioral well-being. It was established by Dr. Candace Croney.

Jonathan says that these businesses provide quality puppies that are healthy, socialized, and well-cared for, and that they also offer warranties, guarantees, and after-sale support. He adds that buying a puppy from a local store or breeder also helps the local economy and creates jobs.
Jonathan also reminds consumers that buying a puppy is a serious and long-term commitment, and that it should not be a spur-of-the-moment decision. He says that consumers should consider their lifestyle, budget, and preferences, and choose a breed that suits their needs and expectations. He also says that consumers should be prepared to provide their puppy with proper care, training, and socialization, and to spay or neuter.

Jonathan concludes by saying that buying a puppy can be a rewarding and joyful experience, as long as consumers are careful and informed. He says that by avoiding online puppy scams and supporting ethical dog breeding, consumers can ensure that they get a healthy and happy puppy, and that they also contribute to the welfare of dogs and the improvement of standards in Indiana.

The Indiana Council for Animal Welfare is an organization dedicated to supporting ethical
breeding and to eliminating substandard breeding practices here in Indiana.

For more information, please visit ICAW.org.

If you feel like you were scammed by a pet store, breeder, or online seller, please contact the Indiana Attorney General's Consumer Complaint line at 800-382-5516

INDIANA COUNCIL FOR ANIMAL WELFARE - Home (icaw.org) Canine Care Certified Standards - College of Veterinary Medicine - Purdue University Attorney General: Consumer Protection Division: File a Complaint

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Page Updated Last on: Dec 21, 2023

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