Attorney General Mark Brnovich Warns Against Holiday Puppy Scam

Every year there are complaints filed with the Attorney General’s Office from Arizona residents who have bought sick puppies or have fallen victim to a puppy internet scam.  Attorney General Mark Brnovich warns, “Con-artists prey on your emotions by posting a picture of a cure puppy for sale on the internet.  Arizonians are tricked into paying hundreds of dollars for a puppy that doesn’t get delivered and they’re left empty-handed right before the holidays.” 

If consumers feel that they have been a victim of fraud, they can file a consumer complaint by contacting the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6504, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at 1(800) 352-8431.  These centers have bilingual consumer protection staff who are able to assist with complaints.  Complaints can also be filed online by going to the Attorney General’s website at https://www/azag.gov/complaints/consumer.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich has issued tips for consumers on how to avoid scam artists when purchasing a puppy over the holiday season:

  • You should not do business with someone you have not met in person.  If you are trying to arrange a meeting so see the puppy, and excuses are made for not being able to meet, that is a red flag.
  • Visit the breeder’s operation before you commit to purchasing a puppy.
  • Ensure the breeder has paperwork for the puppy written on the letterhead of a reputable veterinarian.  Ask questions and consider contacting the vet independently if you have any other questions or concerns.
  • Be cautious about purchasing a pet over the internet unseen. 
  • Do research about the breeder to ensure he/she is reputable.  Find out the breeder’s full name and address and do an internet search.
  • Consider adopting from a local animal shelter where you know that pets have been vaccinated and checked for any other medical conditions.

It is important to protect yourself as a buyer and make sure that you are getting what you are told you are getting so that you do not fall victim to one of the many scams that seem to surface more around holiday time. 


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