Attorney General Alerts

    A Doggone Scam

    April 27, 2016

    Every day, families across Arkansas decide to add a puppy to their home. Many families go to a nearby shelter to adopt or turn to a trusted breeder, but some will look for their newest family member through an online breeder.

    These breeders have photos of adorable puppies and guarantee they are up-to-date on all vaccinations. Glowing testimonials are even available throughout the site. But consumers should use caution as this could be a scam artist targeting families by advertising puppies at a price lower than other breeders or even offering the dog for free if the buyer pays shipping.

    While this may seem like a good option, many times families never receive the pet, and fraudsters get away with the money.

    Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued today’s consumer alert to educate Arkansans about this scam to exercise caution when looking for a new pet.

    “When a family decides to add a furry member to their household, there are a number of considerations,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This includes whether to adopt or purchase a pet and where to find a pet for their home. Unfortunately, con artists have found a way to prey on these kind-hearted would-be pet owners.”

    Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for families interested in purchasing a new puppy:

    • Visit the breeder or rescue group offering the puppy. Responsible individuals and organizations will allow potential customers to tour their facility.
    • Search the organization’s website for warning signs that it may be a scam. Fake breeder websites can often look real because they steal content from legitimate rescue sites. Look for duplicate sites by copying a line from the website into a search engine and looking for identical wording elsewhere on the Internet.
    • Arrange to pick up the puppy from a kennel instead of meeting the breeder at a potentially unsafe location. Do not rely on the breeder to ship the animal, and never pay for shipping.
    • Check the organization’s references. Talk to others who have purchased pets from this breeder and the breeder’s veterinarian.
    • Pay for the puppy with a check or credit card. If a breeder pressures for a wire transfer or prepaid debit card payment, it is probably a scam.

    Attorney General Rutledge encourages Arkansans to do their research regarding adopting and purchasing pets. If you have questions about a potential pet shipper, the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association provides a list of trusted shippers across the world.

    For information on wire transfer scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Attorney General's office at (800) 482-8982 or or visit or

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