Don’t be tricked by puppy mill operators

DOG & PUPPY Scam #1

Switch pictures

A common trick of online scammers selling dogs, is to run an ad that features gorgeous-looking little dogs on their website for sale. Should you actually buy and receive one, you’ll notice that your puppy looks nothing like those you saw.

That’s because the scammer has stolen pictures from a legitimate person’s website and portrayed these as the dogs he is selling. Usually, it’s a reject from a puppy mill, or …. there’s no dog at all.

dog selling scam

DOG & PUPPY Scam #2

Registered and ‘approved’ dogs

This is a scam that is usually deployed to up the price of your Morkie puppy. As much as we love Morkies, they are not purebred dogs. They cannot be registered with any Kennel Club, anywhere in the world.

“NO reputable registry would let you register a mixed breed dog. If you found a registry that would, the papers would be worthless.”

-from the American Kennel Club

There are several new organizations who claim to register the new cross-breed or designer dogs. Although their intentions might be good — for example, to track cross-bred dogs — there’s simply no way to keep liars and scammers out. All that’s needed is your signature to declare the dog’s a Morkie (or whatever. )

International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR)

According to their website:


“The IDCR provides fully certified registration papers and benefits to all Purebred, Designer or Hybrid dogs regardless of the dog’s current registration status “

“Registration with the IDCR shows the pride breeders take in their breeding program and adds validity to the statement that designer dogs are more than just a “mixed breed” breeding but rather that a great deal of thought, time, care and expense is often put into a breeding program focusing on designer breeds.”

They offer certificates with up to 5 generations of dogs for $50 and also sell online ads for breeders who are selling mixed breeds.

However there are no checks on the information you provide; above your signature, it says “I do hereby certify that I am the true owner of the described dog above and that all the information on this application is correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.”

Compare this to the complex procedures for registering a dog with the American Kennel Club here.


AKC registration form

Complex requirements to register a puppy with the American Kennel Club… on TOP OF registering your Kennel, which is a lengthy and legalistic procedure. Obviously this can’t compare to “fill out a form and send it in” type of registries for mixed breeds.

More fake designer dog registries

The Designer Dog Registry 

The National Hybrid Dog Registry

Designer Dogs Kennel Club

The American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC).

ALAA Australian Labradoodle Association of America

International Dog Breeder’s Association

DOG & PUPPY Scam #3

Free to good home

…..or super cheap Morkies. This one really hurts, because in all likelihood there isn’t even a Morkie behind this offer.

Instead, the scammers lure you in on price, and when the hook has been set they ask you to pay for shipping, which is suspiciously consistent at $400.

Buyers are asked to send payments via a Western Union wire transfer or money order. These methods are favourites among crooks because they are the equivalent of sending cash– the money can’t be recovered by the victim.

Since you don’t suspect them, you send the money off – usually to another country, and the dog of course never arrives.

free to a good home scam

DOG & PUPPY scam #4

Fake Morkie Rescue

The ASPCA has identified another despicable scam. Sellers put up a website featuring terrible pictures of animal abuse, and claim they are rescuing dogs from a puppy mill.

There’s no rescue; they ARE the puppy mill and the dogs are sickly, weak and nervous. Instead of doing a good thing by helping dogs, you end up with heartbreak on your hands.

You can tell this is a scam when you see the price tag — the “adoption fees” for these dogs often exceed $1,000!

Breed rescue groups charge nominal fees-usually no more than a few hundred dollars because their goal is not to make money, but to find wonderful homes for their rescues.

How to spot a fake adoption group

fake dog rescue groupsBreed rescue groups online tug at our heartstrings, but too often they’re just a front for cast-off dogs from puppy mill operations.

Petfinder tells us:

“For-profit breeders have increasingly tried to take advantage of the public’s desire to adopt homeless pets by posing as rescue groups, even using the term ‘adopt’ when selling their, all too often, puppy-mill-raised pups” says Kim Saunders, Petfinder’s vice president of shelter outreach.

How can you tell they’re fake?

1. Is the group listed on Petfinder?

Breeders aren’t allowed to list animals; and all the adoption groups on Petfinder have been carefully screened.

2. Does the group list mainly purebred or designer dog breeds — all puppies?

Puppies are outnumbered by adult dogs for legitimate adoption, by about 8:1. Seeing a pet list with lots of purebred puppies and few or no adults or seniors may be a warning sign

3. What services are included with the adoption fee?

Legitimate rescue groups and shelters will be able to tell you the basics about the dog’s health and history. They adopt out dogs that are up to date on shots; neutered; seen by a vet.

4. Can they answer your questions, like “where is the dog currently housed and can I visit him?”

“Can I meet the pet before I adopt him?” A no to either of these questions should start alarm bells ringing. This is not a real adoption or rescue group.

5. Does the group interview YOU?

Real rescues want to be sure their dogs are going to a forever home. They try to match owner to dog and are protective of their animals. Most require written applications and even references.Fakes just want cash or a certified check.