Watch For ‘Rehoming’ Pet Scams Going Around In Minnesota & Wisconsin
Scammers generally use their emotions to get your money. They usually prey on desperate people, like when someone thinks they find a great deal on an apartment. Then you send your security deposit to only find that the place wasn't even for rent. It happens ALL THE TIME in Duluth. They may also prey on kind-hearted animal lovers.
My dad recently lost his dog in a tragic accident. His dog was chasing a rabbit and somehow got through the fence and was hit by a car. It's really a sad situation, and my dad has been devastated.
About a week later he saw a Facebook post about a cute dog that needed to be rehomed. It was a puppy that needed a new home, and there was contact info to get a hold of them. He considered it for a minute, and he sent me and my wife a text asking what we thought. My wife immediately jumped up and said, that could be a scam!
How the scam works.
Someone sees the post about a pet that needs to be rehomed. They then contact the person online to inquire about taking the pet in. According to the Animal Legal Defense Team, a common next step for the scammer is to have the adopter visit a fraudulent website to pay for the animal's shipment or other "charges." Those could be for a travel kennel or some time of insurance. After the adopter sends the money, the animal is never sent. In most cases, the animal never existed.
Local expert Nicole from Animal Allies weighs in.
I talked to Nicole today and asked about what we need to look out for. She said that it's always safer & better to rescue an animal through an organization like Animal Allies. That's because the pets go through a health check to identify any issues. They are also spayed and neutered and brought up to date on all of their shots. When you take in an animal from a private party, you may not know the health of the animal, and you could be inheriting all of those necessary, costly needs.
Never buy a pet online without meeting them first.
You would think that you would want to meet face to face with an animal before bringing them in as part of your family, but surprisingly it does happen when someone sends money without seeing the pet. Nicole says that if you are going through a breeder, you should make sure you visit the breeder so you can see the conditions and determine if they are doing a good job in a safe environment for the pets.