Considering Purchasing a Pet Online? Think Again!

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According to a study conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) in 2017, pet ownership stands at 68% in the United States. Approximately 48% of all households in the United States have a dog while 38% have a cat. In an additional study done in 2016, the APPA reports that 34% of dogs are purchased by breeders, while 23% of dogs and 31% of cats are obtained from an animal shelter or humane society. With those numbers in mind, the APPA estimates a total of $69.36 billion will be spent on pets in 2017.

Looking for the perfect addition to the family can be an exciting and stressful experience. If a family has a specific breed in mind, it’s common for them to automatically search for a breeder online. However, the Humane Society of the United States reports that 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred.  With approximately 3.3 million dogs entering animal shelters nationwide every year, that means there are 825,000 purebreds living in shelters each year that need homes!

Due to the high demand in puppies from shelters and humane societies, consumers are left vulnerable to online pet scams. The BBB International Investigations Initiative conducted an extensive study of online puppy scams. You can read the full story here.

The investigation also offers the following tips to avoid puppy scams:

  • “Avoid buying a pet without seeing it in person.
  • Never send cash via money order or Western Union to a stranger.
  • Always use a credit card in case you need to dispute the charges.
  • Do research to get a sense of what a fair price is for the breed you are interested in adopting. Think twice if someone is advertising a purebred dog for free or at a deeply discounted price … it could be a fraudulent offer.
  • Report and learn about fraud in your area at BBB Scam Tracker.” (CBBB)

Source: American Pet Products Association, Humane Society of the United States and Council of Better Business Bureaus