Shopping for a puppy online?
Five tips to avoid a scam or puppy mill
1. Avoid online sellers willing to ship pets. Never buy or “adopt” a puppy over the internet without meeting the seller, the puppy’s mother or seeing the kennel conditions. If the seller is offering to ship the puppy overnight or via ground transport, ask about the route the puppy will take. Often the puppies are picked up at the breeder’s facility by a trucking company, trucked to a puppy distribution center in Missouri, such as Pet Ex, where they are warehoused with little care. Shipping to the final destination, their new home, could be hours or even days. Avoid online sellers asking for payment via a credit card or an online service such as Paypal or Western Union. Some puppy scammers promise free puppies as long as you pay the shipping, but never send the puppy. Other scammers pose as a rescue or shelter and may reach you via email asking for help.
2. Avoid local puppy flippers rushing the sale. Local online sellers often obtain their puppies from a broker which provide weekly shipments and cannot answer questions about the parents. Ask many questions about the parents before you arrive at the pick-up location. Learn more about a local Oxford couple recently arrested for selling ill puppies.
3. Never meet the seller in a parking lot to exchange the puppy. Instead, ask the seller to meet at your veterinary clinic for a wellness check or for permission to speak with their veterinarian to confirm health history and proof of vaccinations.
4. Avoid sellers with multiple online ads featuring a variety of different breeds. Online retailers often have multiple phone numbers, ad profiles, use aliases and avoid providing their address until the day you plan to meet.
5. Beware of online puppy broker web sites. Sites such as Puppy Find, Next Day Pets, Oodle, Terrific Pets, Puppy Trader, Dogsnow, Animaroo, Purebred Breeders, Lancaster Puppies, and many more act as an agent for breeders, in most cases taking a fee to arrange the puppy transaction.
Learn more on Stop Online Puppy Mills
So how should I find a pet?
Families looking for a puppy or kitty can also go to their local animal shelter, animal rescue groups and Pet Finder.com - a comprehensive website with thousands of animals up for adoption. Some rescue groups are certified for best practices by the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance. Many of these groups offer a “foster to adopt “program that allows families to make sure the pet is right for them before adopting.