Waking up Christmas morning and seeing an adorable puppy under the tree is the ideal holiday gift, but Better Business Bureau Serving Central California & Inland Empire Counties advises that prospective pet owners wait until a less hectic time of the year to do so, or to make sure they do extensive research ahead of time to avoid heartbreak – as scammers love to prey this time of year.
Bringing home a puppy for the holidays is not always a bad idea. For some families it is actually the perfect time as you may be off of work for a week or so, and the kids are on vacation making it easier for the new puppy to get acclimated to their new home.
The key to making a Christmas puppy a successful gift is to do research ahead of time. Many soon-to-be pet owners are completely unprepared for what a new puppy entails, for instance the hard work of raising a puppy and the expense that comes along with it. Puppies are a lifetime of responsibility so if you are not completely sure then consider gift wrapping puppy supplies to symbolize the gift of a dog to come.
BBB also reminds consumers to be extra cautious during the holiday season as there is the potential for fraud or poor puppy practices.
Consumers should do their research on the breeder, business, or organization selling the puppy to avoid potential health problems or scams. According to the ASPCA, the Midwest – specifically Missouri – had the highest concentration of “puppy mills,” which raise the dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without any adequate veterinary care, food, water or socialization. These so-called “puppy mill” dogs are sold across the internet, to pet shops, and newspaper ads.
Regardless of when you bring home a new dog, BBB and the American Kennel Club offer the following advice:
Always visit with the breeder: Any reputable breeder or rescue group would be more than happy to show you a tour and have you select the dog you want in person rather than an online photo.
Don’t be fooled by a well-designed website: Almost anyone can create a professional looking website and scammers will use that to lure a potential buyer. They often download cute puppy pictures posted from an actual breeders’ website.
Pick up your dog: If you’re buying from a breeder or even a shelter always pick up your puppy in person rather than having it shipped. Scammers promise to ship the puppy after you’ve paid bogus fees, but that rarely ever happens and you are left puppy-less.
Avoid puppy mills: Unless you take a tour and visit with the facility you don’t know how your new furry friend has been treated, what health problems they have, or if they even exist.
If it sounds too good to be true, it is: Beware of scammers offering to “re-home” their purebred puppy in exchange for transportation, vaccination, or a “re-homing” fee. If a free purebred puppy sounds too good to be true, then it most likely is.
Pay with your credit card or by check: If the breeder pressures you to wire money or to load a prepaid debit card, than it is most likely a scam.
Report any scams: If you or anyone you know has experienced a dog-related scam they should report it to their local authorities as well as their local BBB.
To checkout more business reviews, file a complaint, and view more holiday tips – visit us at bbb.org.