Effingham, Il (Via St. Louis, MO) – If your family is begging for a cute pet this holiday season, Better Business Bureau (BBB) suggests waiting until a less hectic time of year.
Pet ownership can be complicated and expensive, and prospective pet owners have to be extra this time of year.
“Puppies are cute, but bringing them into your home during the holidays could put stress on them as well as your family,” said Michelle Corey, BBB St. Louis president and CEO.
“Puppies need a lot of time and attention, and necessary training can be difficult when routines are disrupted by holiday parties or other activities.”
Anyone whose heart is set on surprising a family with a pet should consider the family’s schedule and needs first.
One alternative is to give a “pet voucher” that can be used to pick out a pet after the holidays.
BBB also reminds consumers to be aware of the potential for fraud or poor service from companies that sell pets.
BBB has issued warnings about online puppy scams.
Recently, BBB issued an alert on a local dog breeder who failed to provide customers with promised paperwork needed to register their pets with the American Kennel Club.
Consumers also should carefully research the breeder, business or organization that is selling the dog to avoid potential health problems or scams.
Missouri is among the top states for so-called “puppy mills,” which often raise dogs in unsanitary and inhumane conditions.
A 2017 BBB study, “Puppy Scams: How Fake Online Pet Sellers Steal from Unsuspecting Pet Buyers,” estimates that tens of thousands of consumers in the U.S. and around the world may have fallen victim to online puppy scams, with prospective buyers losing anywhere from $100 to thousands of dollars each to the thieves.
The scams are so widespread that anyone searching for a pet online is likely to encounter this fraud.
Also, pet owners and prospective pet owners should be cautious when choosing holiday diets for their dogs or other pets.
BBB and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have issued alerts about the dangers of purchasing dog bones as treats during the holidays.
Regardless of when you get a dog, BBB offers the following advice:
• Avoid puppy scammers. Scammers may make an emotional appeal to unsuspecting consumers, commonly through classified newspaper or online ads. A better way to find a good breeder is to ask friends for referrals or to look for a rescue group or animal shelter. Always check out the firm’s BBB Business Review at bbb.org. Read the results of a BBB study of puppy scams to familiarize yourself further with puppy scam techniques.
• Check a breeder or shelter’s credentials. If you locate a puppy 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. You can also search for a business’s BBB Business Profile at bbb.org.
• Avoid puppy mills. Unless you can visit the breeding facility before 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, 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 potential buyers with cute puppy pictures they have downloaded from other breeders’ websites.
• 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, and you may never receive the puppy.
Courtesy of The Better Business Bureau