Vets warn of dubious websites duping pet lovers

WASHINGTON - Vets have warned potential pet owners not to be tricked into buying prized pedigrees promised by websites, or they would find themselves duped of hundreds of dollars.

Walter Woolf, owner of Air Animal Pet Movers (AAPM), a pet relocating service, has researched these scams after his company began being mentioned in recent postings by Cameroon-based scammers promising pets at below-market prices.

The scammers offer pets to buyers on popular websites who then wire money to Cameroon or a money-drop in the UK. AAPM and other animal transport companies in the US are listed as carriers in such postings, to legitimise their activities, Woolf said.

After sending the initial amount to the scammers, pet owners are then asked for follow-up sums for insurance costs, unexpected veterinary services, permits, or transportation costs, Woolf informed.

This continues until the victims realise they have been duped and stop sending money, and no pets are ever delivered.

Gail Golab, director, American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Animal Welfare Division, said that potential pet buyers should know who they are purchasing from and should meet the breeder directly before finalising a purchase.This allows the buyer to see the conditions under which the pet has been bred and raised.

‘Many reputable breeders, who are concerned about making sure the pet receives a suitable home, will not sell animals unless they are able to meet and interview their potential owner or owners,’ Golab said, according to AVMA release.

‘If extenuating circumstances prevent you from meeting with a breeder face-to-face, you should check references and credentials first, and never send money without speaking to the breeder,’ he said.

The AVMA and its more than 76,000 member veterinarians are engaged in a wide variety of activities dedicated to advancing the science and art of animal, human and public health.


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