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AG: Watch out for puppy scams

Posted at 9:50 AM, Oct 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-07 12:05:59-04

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Attorney General’s office is warning people about puppy scams.

People are getting scammed when they're buying directly from a breeder, a pet store, or online.

As of April, Attorney General Dana Nessel's office had gotten 20 puppy scam complaints since 2017.

Here are some tips from the AG's office:

Buying a puppy online

Never buy or put a deposit down on a puppy you have not seen. The AG's office says if you find an ad or website for puppies, who would avoid breeders who offer to ship a puppy anywhere in the US or overseas. You should travel yourself and pick up the puppy in person, per the AG's office.

If you're buying from a breeder, ask to see both the dog's mother and the premises the dog was raised on. Look out for breeders who won't let you visit their facilities, or who seem to have misleading claims on their websites.

If you're buying from a pet store, be cautious: many sell dogs from puppy mills, according to the AG's office.

Watch out for stores that won't identify a puppy's breeder, that try to sell underage puppies, that sell puppies from far away, or that appear to use deceptive buzzwords (like "designer," "hypoallergenic," or "registered") to make you think they're sourcing from family breeders instead of mills.

An easy way to spot an online puppy scam is to conduct an image search of the dog's photo with Google. If it pops up on multiple sites, the sale is most likely a scam.

You can find more information from the AG's office on what to look for before you buy a puppy by clicking here.

Michigan consumers who believe they have been a victim of a puppy scam can file a complaint with the AG's Consumer Protection Division online at

Consumers can also file complaints with the Better Business Bureau at

Or contact the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 or

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