Dog-loving grandma has scam warning for others

September 19, 2011 5:20:32 PM PDT
National Dog Week starts off in Houston with a warning about a scam involving puppies. The trouble started when a local woman placed an ad for a Chihuahua.

You know any time you post an ad on websites like Craigslist that you have to be careful because there is a potential for being ripped off. A Pasadena woman found that out the hard way while trying to find a lovable pet for her granddaughter.

Kandie Mayo's search for a puppy for her granddaughter started with great intentions.

"My son's friend had puppies and they were going to give her one of those but they backed out of the deal," she said. "So grandma went looking for a Chihuahua for her granddaughter."

So Mayo placed an ad on Craigslist looking for a puppy and a seller popped up immediately.

"She had a Chihuahua that she needed to get back to the states because they were over in another country," Mayo explained.

The dog, named Dolly, seemed the perfect fit for Mayo and all she had to do to get the puppy to Houston from Africa was send $100 to a pet shipping company by Western Union. Mayo did but instead of getting a dog, she was asked to send more money -- a lot more.

Mayo said, "She goes, I forgot to tell you we have to add this $1,520 insurance fee that needs to be paid on this dog."

In order to have the dog shipped, Mayo was told it needed to be insured and more money needed to be sent by Western Union. But Mayo was not about to wire any more to money to anyone overseas.

She said, "This is a scam and I am going to make sure the public knows what's going on about this."

Consumers across the country have fallen for similar dog shipping schemes, some losing much more than 100 bucks.

Meera Nandlal with the Houston Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said, "What I would say is never purchase a dog online, or any pet online, because you are not able to actually meet that animal, you do not know what is going on with the pet."

Nandlal says instead of turning to the computer, pet lovers need only look as far as local shelters where hundreds of pets need homes and it won't cost $1,500 for shipping.

"Of course we want to see every animal find a home, we certainly want to do that," Nandlal said. "But we want to make sure you are getting to meet the animal. That's very important. You want to spend time with the animal, you want to bring the whole family down if it is going to be a family pet."

Remember, any time you are asked to send money by Western Union overseas to someone you do not know it is a red flag for problems. If a problem pops up, there is no way to get your money back.

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