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I was reading through my email today, when I came upon this article:
Lucy’s Law: Vets Reveal True Cost of Click-and-Collect Pets - Katzenworld
And it made me realize that the frequency of these incidents have likely gone up since the start of COVID-19.
I know that there is a similar thread to this, but since there have been some recent scams being reported, I figured I would go ahead and make a post about safely buying puppies on the internet.

Never hand your SSN out to anyone, or any other information other than what is required to make the transaction. Don’t post your phone number on a webpage, or download anything. You don’t need software to make a purchase.
Bad spelling/grammar in email is a sign of a scammer (or me), as is an insistent plead that you make an initial deposit, usually a good sum of money, RIGHT NOW, wired straight to a bank. This deposit is typically a good portion of the sum, which is usually cheap in comparison to the price of a well-bred dog (say, $500-$750 compared to $1,500-$2,000).
If the website has a PAY NOW button, these people are in it for the money. Retreat!
If the website looks new and shiny, run the other way. Most breeders worth your time don’t have a website at all, let alone one created on Wix by a pro.
Be aware that there are fraudulent websites out there specially designed to make you think everything’s all right. Even if everything (health tests, conformation, well-known breeder) checks out, don’t call the number posted on the website, send an email, or click on anything. Find the number in the yellow pages, if you can.
Never buy a puppy off of a broker site.
And, of course, never meet up in a private place (such as a parking lot) with a stranger. You could get robbed or worse.

Helpful links:
How to Spot a Puppy Scam – American Kennel Club

Current Pet Scams

People are getting scammed with fake puppies. How to spot one.
Another story:
Coronavirus pandemic coincides with spike in online puppy scams
 

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FloofyPoodle that is a really great post on how to avoid fakers and scammers. Thanks for posting it. I actually would never buy a puppy online. Our three current dogs were picked up at their respective breeders. Lily came from about half an hour from our home. Javelin's breeder involved taking the ferry to Connecticut and back so a few hours. Peeves breeder is near Syracuse so a long day of driving for him. Peeves was the only one of the three where we hadn't visited in person before gotcha day since he is the second dog from the same breeder. BF had one from her before and I trusted his recommendation since I had known that dog.

Dianaleez I don't see any direct listing of puppies for sale on the AKC website, but rather "classified ads" for breeders expecting litters. I looked at poodles of course and although I only looked at the first page of listings all of the breeders were AKC breeders of merit so there has been some level of qualifying the breeders. The listings of upcoming litters refers you to the breeder. There is no evidence that I saw of the AKC being the broker of the deal for the puppy. Did I miss something?
 

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Great info! Thank you! But regarding this...

Most breeders worth your time don’t have a website at all, let alone one created on Wix by a pro.
Wix actually enables anyone to make a website fairly easily. To me it would more likely be a sign they didn't hire a pro.

A bigger red flag is a "one click" type shopping experience. Good breeders don't seem to use their websites as a storefront. They use them to share photos, or maybe a brief "About Me" page. But you can't make a puppy purchase on the spot.

This can be offputting for potential puppy shoppers who are used to being able to order anything online. But it's actually a good thing.
 

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FloofyPoodle that is a really great post on how to avoid fakers and scammers. Thanks for posting it. I actually would never buy a puppy online. Our three current dogs were picked up at their respective breeders. Lily came from about half an hour from our home. Javelin's breeder involved taking the ferry to Connecticut and back so a few hours. Peeves breeder is near Syracuse so a long day of driving for him. Peeves was the only one of the three where we hadn't visited in person before gotcha day since he is the second dog from the same breeder. BF had one from her before and I trusted his recommendation since I had known that dog.

Dianaleez I don't see any direct listing of puppies for sale on the AKC website, but rather "classified ads" for breeders expecting litters. I looked at poodles of course and although I only looked at the first page of listings all of the breeders were AKC breeders of merit so there has been some level of qualifying the breeders. The listings of upcoming litters refers you to the breeder. There is no evidence that I saw of the AKC being the broker of the deal for the puppy. Did I miss something?
I was referring to the ads in the AKC Marketplace. They describe it: "Finding trustworthy dog breeders, groomers, and trainers can be challenging. AKC Marketplace is your trusted resource to help make a lifetime of responsible dog ownership safe, happy, and healthy."

It's how I initially found Normie's breeder. He was from here in Tennessee so I was able to check things out.
But I did trust the listing there more than I would have a general 'dogs for sale' list.

You're right. It's breeders with puppies. But I still wonder if other than AKC membership they do any other vetting. I'm wondering if I was being a bit too trusting and just hit it lucky.
 

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The first page of poodle ads were all from AKC breeders of merit and there are review criteria to earn that designation.

Here is a link to the application that lists criteria. https://images.akc.org/pdf/Breeder_of_Merit_Application.pdf
Thanks. I feel less naive, but I'm still glad that I checked around.

I had no idea just how bad faux-breeders have gotten. I say 'faux' because what they're doing is not breeding, it's just reproduction.
 

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Re the AKC Marketplace, I have seen at least one, so more is likely, breeder who had listed multiple litters in just a few weeks. This is their About on the Marketplace listing:

"...breeds AKC Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, AKC Toy & Miniature Poodles, and darling Cavapoos. I am a small breeder, I am licensed with the USDA and the state of Missouri. All inspections with AKC, USDA, and MO we have passed with flying colors, and they all had wonderful comments to say!"

and when going to their website, you see this:

"Breeder of AKC Registered Toy & Miniature Poodle Puppies, AKC Registered Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppies, and Cavapoo Puppies.
We are a small family owned breeder of AKC Registered Toy & Miniature Poodle puppies, AKC Registered Cavalier King Charles Spaniels puppies, and darling Cavapoo puppies. We are licensed and inspected with USDA, AKC, and with the state of Missouri. Our puppies are raised by myself, my husband, and our teenage children at our home.

467730


image317

Waiting List Reservation Fee or Deposit

$0.00
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BUY NOW
Pay with PayPal or a debit/credit card


8 poodles and 4 CKCS have testing listed on the OFA site.

This one just has me scratching my head.

I suspect that to list in the AKC Marketplace, a breeder must only need to be in good standing with the AKC and then pay the listing fee, however AKC sets that up.

I would only say not to assume that a listing on the Marketplace means they're vetted somehow by the AKC.
 

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Rose as I said last night I only looked at the first page, but saw that there are many pages of ads. I agree that I would still exercise great caution buying a puppy through an entirely online experience whether you find the breeder using google or the AKC marketplace. I know there is a fee for listing in the AKC marketplace since CGC evaluators can place ads there too and I chose not to list since for the time being I can rely on word of mouth for the amount of folks I would want requests fro service from. It isn't like being a breeder where you have puppies or you don't. If you get a reputation for saying no then you won't get calls. My referring friends always talk to me before they give my information to anyone.

BTW Missouri is an area that has lots of commercial puppy farms.
 
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I just want to add that you should always try to do meetings in PAIRS (friends, relative, spouse,etc), this goes for both breeders and buyers. Just the other day here, a breeder went to meet her buyers in a hotel parking lot and two men held her at gunpoint when she asked for her money. They were caught and arrested, but with the world getting crazy please think of your safety first and foremost!
 

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Or if you can't take someone with you make sure you text a close friend or family member when you arrive and again when you leave. When I go to training visits in homes (not right now) I text BF with the address, an estimate of when I will leave and then text again when I do leave. If he doesn't get the 2nd message at roughly the time he expected it he will call me and if I don't answer then he will call police.
 

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I agree that I would still exercise great caution buying a puppy through an entirely online experience whether you find the breeder using google or the AKC marketplace.
This cannot be stressed too much. Most of us know to exercise caution when dealing with an unfamiliar source or provider, especially online, but the same caution might be skipped when a product (puppy, that is) is coming from a generally recognized and trusted source. I'm not at all saying that what I found is common, but it was a surprise. Given the numbers of breeders listing there, I'd just remind people to verify first, then trust.

BTW Missouri is an area that has lots of commercial puppy farms.
I've been horrified since learning some time ago that the Midwest, particularly Missouri, Kansas, and other farming states, are the largest producers. It made sense tho after reading that the mills/farms were kickstarted after WW2 when farmers were looking for alternative crops, the puppy mill we know became a cash crop.

Ironically, "After World War II, soldiers came home to a failing agricultural market in the United States. [FN13] The U.S. Department of Agriculture suggested that farmers attempt to support their families by breeding pure-bred dogs. [FN14] With no money and no experience in dog breeding, farmers made use of what they had, often putting dogs in rabbit hutches. [FN15] In an attempt at increasing profits, farmers began “uying cheap low quality dog food or feeding table scraps [to] increase[ ] the profits. The expense of proper veterinary care was a luxury they chose not to have. . . . Medical care was not provided and cleaning and sanitation was ignored.” [FN16] When farmers turned the focus of the business to profits over the comfort of the breeding stock, the first puppy mills were spawned. [FN17] "

 

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This cannot be stressed too much. Most of us know to exercise caution when dealing with an unfamiliar source or provider, especially online, but the same caution might be skipped when a product (puppy, that is) is coming from a generally recognized and trusted source. I'm not at all saying that what I found is common, but it was a surprise. Given the numbers of breeders listing there, I'd just remind people to verify first, then trust.


I've been horrified since learning some time ago that the Midwest, particularly Missouri, Kansas, and other farming states, are the largest producers. It made sense tho after reading that the mills/farms were kickstarted after WW2 when farmers were looking for alternative crops, the puppy mill we know became a cash crop.

Ironically, "After World War II, soldiers came home to a failing agricultural market in the United States. [FN13] The U.S. Department of Agriculture suggested that farmers attempt to support their families by breeding pure-bred dogs. [FN14] With no money and no experience in dog breeding, farmers made use of what they had, often putting dogs in rabbit hutches. [FN15] In an attempt at increasing profits, farmers began “uying cheap low quality dog food or feeding table scraps [to] increase[ ] the profits. The expense of proper veterinary care was a luxury they chose not to have. . . . Medical care was not provided and cleaning and sanitation was ignored.” [FN16] When farmers turned the focus of the business to profits over the comfort of the breeding stock, the first puppy mills were spawned. [FN17] "

I believe Pennsylvania is pretty bad, too. A lot of the less than satisfactory breeders for the East Coast on the AKC site, and also postings on puppy broker sites in general, are from that state. Not saying that there aren’t good breeders there, but make sure to do your research and weed out the bad ones.
 
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