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Better Business Bureau ®
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Northern Indiana
Purchasing a Puppy over the Holidays? Check Your List Twice
November 03, 2012

What could be more charming than surprising the kids with a puppy under the Christmas tree? Not so fast! Better Business Bureau is advising consumers to think twice before investing in and giving a puppy as a present this holiday season.

With emotions high and priorities stretched, giving a puppy as a present during the holidays can be stressful for both you and the new pet.  Puppies are anexciting new addition to any family, but 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.

Regardless of when you buyor rescue your new dog, BBB and the American Kennel Club offer the followingadvice:

Don’t fall victim to a puppy scammer.  Because ofthe 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 breederor shelter’s credentials. If you locate a puppy through a website, do not send money without speaking to thebreeder and checking references and credentials first. Ask if the breeder is amember 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, donot purchase a puppy from a website. When you have a puppy shipped from anotherarea, you don’t know how that puppy has been treated, how healthy or young itis, or whether or not the puppy exists at all.

Don't be fooled by a well designed website. Unscrupulous scammers will often create aprofessional-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 orvaccination 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.

For more tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org for a fulllist of tips in English and Spanish.