When It Comes to Online Puppies, What You See Is Not What You Get
Many families who spent much of the year in their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic turned to the Internet to look for a pet. Unfortunately, more people looking for pets online means more people looking to profit. In 2020, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has reported a record-high number of scams related to online puppy purchases.
According to the BBB, the number of pet scams reported in 2020 will be more than double the number reported last year, and five times higher than in 2017 with families reporting that they paid for dogs they never received—and maybe never existed. These scams resulted in families losing over $3 million.
But falling for a scam isn’t the only risk to buying a puppy online. Puppy purchasers have also reported receiving different puppies from the ones they “ordered,” sick puppies or a seller that disappears once the dog is shipped.
And even if your mail-ordered pup is as cute and healthy as you hoped, there are real risks you may not have considered to buying a dog over the Internet—ones that harm dogs. Online, every seller markets themselves as a responsible, caring breeder of high-quality pups but the thousands of dollars sent to a far-away seller may actually be helping keep a puppy mill in business.
Cruel breeders use deceptive photos and slick websites to fool families. They exploit weak laws that allow them to keep dogs in conditions no one who loves dogs would accept. They use their profits not to provide better care for dogs, but to breed and sell more puppies.
No animal lover wants to support cruelty. If you’re looking to add a dog to your family, please consider adoption and work with a reputable local shelter or rescue, or visit a responsible breeder.