Purchasing a pet over the holidays? Check your list twice
Mechele Agbayani Mills
Tyler Better Business Bureau
Pets are popular gifts, particularly around the holidays. With emotions high and priorities stretched, giving a pet as a present during the holidays can be stressful for both you and the new pet, even more so if you're not careful. Better Business Bureau is advising consumers to do their homework before investing in and giving a pet as a present this holiday season.
BBB has received hundreds of complaints against dog breeders nationally this year. Complaints ranged from health issues to problems with paperwork regarding pure bred puppies.
The Commercial Dog and Cat Breeders Act was passed by the Texas State Legislature in June 2011. This act requires breeders who maintain 11 or more female breeding animals and sell 20 or more animals per year to obtain a license from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and to submit to state inspections once every 18 months.
If you are thinking about adding pet to your family this holiday season, BBB and the American Kennel Club offer the following advice:
Don't fall victim to a pet scammer. Because of the emotional investment in buying a puppy, scammers are looking to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers. Take the time to look at the business' track record by examining their BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org
Never send money without first checking a breeder or shelter's credentials. If you locate a pet through a website, do not send money without speaking to the breeder and checking references and credentials first. Ask if the breeder is a member 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, do not purchase a puppy from a website. When you have a puppy shipped from another area, you don't know how that puppy has been treated, the cleanliness of the facility, how healthy or young it is, or whether the puppy exists at all.
Don't be fooled by a well designed website. Unscrupulous scammers will often create a professional-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 or vaccination 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.
Consider adoption. There are many reasons to consider pet adoption. Pets are typically healthy, up to date on vaccinations, and many shelters spay or neuter the pets, making it even more affordable. Sadly, more than 3 million dogs and cats are euthanized every year, so by adopting you also may be saving an animal's life.
For more tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org
. To report a fraud or scam, call the BBB Hotline at 903-581-8373.