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Think Twice about Purchasing a Puppy as a Holiday Gift

Connecticut Better Business Bureau urges consumers to be extremely careful when buying a puppy as a holiday gift because of the proliferation of scams associated with puppy sales.

Connecticut BBB Urges Givers to Carefully Consider Giving Any Pet as a Gift

A new pet will bring smiles to the faces of most children; however, gift-givers should keep in mind that unless the family is also enthusiastic about the new addition, the pet could end up at the animal shelter.

Many animal experts recommend against introducing a new pet, especially a young one, into the family during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.  If you have your heart set on surprising the family, give them a “gift voucher” for the dog and pick one out together after the holidays.

In particular, Connecticut Better Business Bureau urges consumers to be extremely careful when buying a puppy as a holiday gift because of the proliferation of scams associated with puppy sales.

Regardless of when you buy or rescue your new dog, BBB and the American Kennel Club offer the following advice:

Don’t fall victim to a puppy scammer.  Because of the emotional investment in buying a puppy, scammers are looking to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers.  Make sure to ask around for a breeder, rescue group, or shelter referral.  Always check out the business’s BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org .

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 American Kennel Club-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.  As a veterinarian for referrals to reputable facilities.

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.

You will find additional helpful holiday and consumer tips at http://www.bbb.org .

-Submitted by Howard Schwartz Executive Communications Director, Connecticut Better Business Bureau

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Leslie Yager November 29, 2012 at 03:11 PM
there are rescue puppies being fostered locally and featured on Patch, so very easy to avoid abetting the puppy mills... http://patch.com/B-cChY
David Klang November 29, 2012 at 09:15 PM
DAWS (in Danbury) always has spectacular dogs who just need a place to call home. I like puppies as much as the next person, but don't overlook the slightly older ones. I got a mixed-breed hound there a few years back and he is the love of my life (don't tell my wife I said that).
Greg Kuehn November 29, 2012 at 11:02 PM
I can't say enough positive things about DAWS. Amazing local organization that goes to many great lengths to help animals. If you've ever considered adopting, this would be a great place to start. Aside from knowing that they provide great medical care for all of their animals, they also invest a lot of time in training, something you're not going to get just anywhere. http://www.daws.org
Tina Aronson November 30, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Great advise! Rescue is always the way to go, there really is a dog out there for everyone if you just do your homework. Please never ever support puppy mills, that means 'most' puppy stores as well!
Mutt November 30, 2012 at 02:55 AM
I think some purebred breeders can be just are bad as puppy mills. Really bugs me that some uppity breeders will kill a puppy because it isn't up to their standards of perfection. I'd say go with a mutt.
marcia chang November 30, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Reputable breeders will not sell a puppy/dog without first getting to know the prospective buyers. They are very caring about where their dogs go. If a breeder is willing to sell you a dog as a SURPRISE...do not trust that breeder. As much as adopting a dog is a fine thing, buying a dog from a reputable breeder is also a legitimate thing to do. Many peple are interested in preserving the integrity of the variety of the dog breed. If a puppy does not meet the standard, that puppy is sold as a PET, and NOT destroyed, at least, not any real breedeer that I know. Most legitimate breeders require neutering of the puppy. This way, the breed will never get into the hands of a puppy mill, to be exploited. Also, the breeder will ask that if the purchaser can no longer care for the dog, it be returned to the breeder to be placed in another caring home. Adopt..YES; purchase from a reputable breedeer...ALSO YES!!
Seraleah Humphrey November 30, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Amen, Marcia! Very important to echo what you said. Reputable breeders do NOT destroy puppies - they sell them as 'companion pets', which are neutered vs. 'show' puppies. And that designation is for breeding purposes, since all of us show dog owners know our dogs are an integral part of our family. And people get purebred dogs because they're usually looking for a certain temperament, looks, and characteristics prevalent in that breed which fit their lifestyle. DAWS does a fabulous job so adopting a mixed breed or rescue from them or from a legitimate Breed rescue organizaton is another wonderful option.
Leslie Roe November 30, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Thanks to those posting re: DAWS! I am proud to volunteer there, and can attest that all our residents get the best care available. Come see us or visit our site at www.daws.org to bring someone home for the holidays! Have a Happy and Peaceful.
Carl Kolchak November 30, 2012 at 08:00 PM
I once called the Stratford Cat Project looking for a kitten to adopt and they wanted to interview my family and do some kind of background investigation before they would even consider letting us have one of their abandoned kittens. I think they asked for blood samples and our Credit Scores and wanted us to take a Rorschach test. Needless to say, we drove to the pet store and bought a little furry kitty that day, no questions asked.
Larissa Watt December 01, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Yes, animals do not make good gifts unless you know for sure the recipient is ready for a lifelong commitment.
David Klang December 01, 2012 at 10:36 PM
I should say that I also have a purebred Golden Retriever from a local breeder. She was meticulous in matching dog to owner, to make sure the puppy would have a happy and safe home. There are solid breeders out there; I just got to a place where I wanted the rescue dogs to have a shot.

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