Michigan's Attorney General Dana Nessel along with the Humane Society of the United States are warning consumers of a heightened 'puppy scam' during the pandemic we are living through.

While so many people are currently working from home, the idea of adopting a puppy seems like a great idea. I mean you are home all day, so house training could begin as well as other training. But as with so many things, there are those who are trying to take advantage. That is why the Attorney General has put out this warning.

The A.G.'s office has seen a surge in complaints of internet scammers who are exploiting the situation. Several Michigan residents have been tricked recently into paying for pets that do not even exist. And this is after paying a LOT of money.

Most of the thieves involved in this puppy scam live outside of the country, so the prospect of getting your money back is not in your favor.

Scammers are looking for any way to take advantage of consumers during this pandemic and puppies are unfortunately not exempt. 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.

Another good bit of advice, and this comes totally from me, is to adopt not shop. The Capital Area Humane Society, Ingham County Animal Control and many of the area rescue groups would love to help you find the perfect puppy for your home. And they won't charge you an arm and a leg to get it. Any of these organizations could put your money to very good use.

Each year consumers in the United States spend more than a billion dollars buying puppies without realizing they may be doing business with scammers, puppy mill operators or both. Puppy mills are inhumane dog breeding operations that keep these poor animals in deplorable conditions.

The best way to avoid being scammed online according to the A.G.'s statement:

  • Research the breed
  • Research the breeder
  • Research the advertised puppy
  • Do not purchase a puppy sight-unseen
  • Use a credit card to make the purchase
  • Retain all documents and communications from the breeder
  • Consider contacting your local shelter
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