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Attorney General Warns of Puppy Scams

The Michigan attorney general’s office said it has seen a rise in complaints about internet puppy scammers.

The stay-at-home order has presented opportunities for things we never thought we’d have time for: walks at lunch, new hobbies, redecorating our homes and even bringing new furry friends into our homes because we can be there to train them.

But there is a dark side to turning to internet marketplaces to adopt a puppy, and the Michigan attorney general’s office said it has seen a rise in complaints about internet scammers.

“Scammers are looking for any way to take advantage of consumers during this pandemic, and puppies are unfortunately not exempt,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “While many people may be eager to bring home a puppy during this time, I urge Michiganders to be vigilant in their search to avoid being scammed. My office continues to prioritize protecting residents from predatory and deceptive business practices, and these puppy scams will ultimately result in heartbreak and financial loss. Always do your homework before making any purchase online to avoid being taken advantage of.”

According to Nessel, scammers are taking advantage of the pandemic and using it to ask for additional fees as well as a reason to avoid in-person visits.

“Taking advantage of Michiganders by exploiting our love of animals is as cruel to the people as it is to the dogs. We are very grateful to … Nessel’s office for taking this issue seriously,” said Molly Tamulevich, Michigan director for the Humane Society of the United States.

What can you do to avoid being scammed? The Michigan attorney general’s office recommends the following:

  • Research the breed.
  • Research the breeder.
  • Research the advertised puppy.
  • Do not purchase a puppy unseen.
  • Use a credit card to make the purchase.
  • Retain all documents and communications from the breeder.

We recommend looking at pets via the Capital Area Humane Society in Lansing, Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter, Cascades Humane Society in Jackson, Michigan Humane in Howell and the countless other resources in the 517.


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