• 39°

Beware of pet sale scams

Undoubtedly, many families will introduce furry new additions to their households this Christmas. Puppies and kittens are wonderful gifts for children and adults alike, but sometimes, the temptation to buy a designer breed can perpetuate the unhealthy and inhumane cycle of pet mills.

It is more important than ever for people to carefully research breeders to find pets that are healthy. It is also important to find reputable breeders that won’t scam you out of your money, leaving you with nothing under the tree.

A few tips from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on avoiding pet scams are:

• Check complaints filed with the attorney general’s office or the Better Business Bureau, and review feedback from other customers. Be skeptical if you find no information; some scam artists change names regularly to trick consumers.

• Conduct an online image search of the pet’s photo to see where else the picture is posted on the Internet. If the same picture shows up in multiple places, it could be part of a scam.

• Visit the puppy in person before paying. If possible, take the puppy to an independent veterinarian for a health exam.

• Don’t trust sellers who accept payment only via wire transfer, prepaid card or money order. These are preferred payment methods for scam artists because once the money is sent, it is very difficult to track or recover.

Of course, we at The Tribune would encourage anyone looking to find a dog or cat for a loved one to consider the Lawrence County Animal Shelter. Supporting your local shelter helps combat illegal or unethical breeding businesses by keeping funds out of the hands of those who churn out animals for a profit.

Also, there are many pets in our local shelter that would love to find a forever home. Mixed breeds are just as loving and make loyal companions, just like their pure breed counterparts.

This holiday season, give the gift of life by rescuing a shelter animal.