Bringing a new puppy into your family over the holidays may sound appealing, but Better Business Bureau of North Alabama (BBB) advises consumers to think twice before giving a puppy as a gift this holiday season.
Many animal experts counsel potential pet owners to avoid introducing a new pet, especially a young one, into the family during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. The holidays can be stressful enough without the added responsibility of training a new pet. One alternative is to give a “pet voucher” for the dog, then pick one out together after the holidays.
Regardless of when you buy or rescue your new dog, your BBB and the American Kennel Club (AKC) offer the following advice:
Always check out the breeder or store’s BBB Business Review. Don’t fall victim to a puppy scammer. Scammers may make an emotional appeal to unsuspecting consumers, commonly through classified ads in the newspaper or on sites like Craigslist. Better ways to find a good breeder are by asking friends for referrals, looking at a rescue group or animal shelter, or visiting BBB’s Directory of BBB Accredited Breeders.
Never send money without first checking a breeder or shelter’s credentials. If you locate a puppy through a website, do not send money without speaking to the breeder and checking references and credentials first. Ask if the breeder is a member of an AKC-affiliated club and contact the club to verify membership.
Don’t support puppy mills. Unless you can visit the breeding facility before the purchase and bring your puppy home personally, do not purchase a puppy from a website. When you have a puppy shipped from another area, you don’t know how that puppy has been treated, how healthy or young it is, or whether or not the puppy exists at all.
Don't be fooled by a well-designed website. Unscrupulous scammers will often create a professional-looking but fraudulent website designed to lure the potential buyer in with cute puppy pictures.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Beware of scammers who offer to "re-home" their purebred puppy in exchange for transportation or vaccination fees. If a free purebred puppy sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Scammers will continually ask for more money for unexpected - and fraudulent – costs, and you may never receive the puppy.