Buying a puppy? Beware of scammers.

So, you've decided that you'd like to buy a husky puppy. You've seen them around and they're super cute and you really really want one. Where do you go? Well, most of us would probably do an internet search, but how do we interpret what we find? 

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This is a "puppy for sale" ad a breeder/rescuer friend found tonight. It does NOT meet what most responsible breeders would consider a minimal standard that guarantees puppy buyers a happy healthy dog.

It doesn't talk about basic health testing that should be done on all dogs before being bred - what are their hip and eye scores? It doesn't talk about the breeder's intentions - are they being sold as pets, as racing dogs, as show dogs? Will the breeder take them back if the buyer can no longer keep them, or will they end up in a pound? It also doesn't mention a microchip - which is a legal requirement for all puppies and kittens born in Australia. And it's vague about paperwork - will you get a piece of paper generated by the breeder, or will you get a proper ANKC registration (which would mean the dog is properly "pedigreed")?

But then it gets worse. 

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Yep, that's the same ad. Same (badly spelt) text, same click bait photos. Different name, profile pic and state. Probably not real names or real photos - people OR puppies. Because this isn't looking like a backyard breeder or puppy farmer any more. This is looking like a straight out scammer.

Its not clear what this person (whoever they are) is after. Maybe they want to access personal Facebook pages to mine them for information that can be used for identity theft. Maybe they'll ask for a deposit for a puppy and then disappear. Given that puppies have been known to sell for over $1k, (much to the bemusement of many breeders whose very well bred puppies sell for much less) a bunch of 30% deposits could net a sizable amount. 

So, I guess this is where an old saying comes in handy - "if it looks too good to be true, it probably is." The chance of a responsibly bred, high quality puppy (of any breed) being immediately available on your first internet search, is actually pretty low, because most of the top breeders don't advertise their litters - they have waiting lists and many puppies are already spoken for at birth. To get on that waiting list takes time, research, communication and more time.

Its bad enough when we pay puppy farmers and backyard breeders money to "rescue" puppies from pet store windows or other situations. That cash flow keeps those despicable bastards going. But what if the puppy we're paying a deposit for isn't even a real puppy, just a stolen photo, and the "breeder" at the other end is a fraud who is just going to take some money and vanish?

As always, do your research. Buyer beware.