June 19, 2009, Newsletter Issue #51: Puppy Buyer Beware

Tip of the Week

Western Union scams, puppy mills, sick dogs...the list of things that can go wrong when you shop for a new puppy is endless. Instead of seizing the day, anyone looking for a new puppy should have a motto of puppy buyer beware. Before you decide to avoid the whole thing and just buy another stuffed animal, try some of these common sense puppy scam busters:

Use more than one form of communication. If you're communicating by email, the breeder should offer to talk to you over the phone after the first email or so back and forth. After all, a legitimate breeder checks out potential owners just as closely as they check out breeders. While you're listening for the sound of a lot of dogs in the background to flush out a puppy mill passing as a breeder, the breeder is listening right back to screen out puppy mills after his or her puppies. Don't pay by cash or by wire transfer. Credit card transactions protect you from unscrupulous breeders. If a breeder doesn't accept credit cards, suggest Paypal, which makes it easy for him or her to handle cards. Better yet, protect yourself even further by suggesting that you use an escrow service. If you don't feel comfortable, walk away. You may be subconsciously picking up on some clues that the breeder is dishonest. Let your instincts protect you from smooth talking scam artists.

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