A very, very sad story today on the news out of California… a family bought a beautiful Morkie puppy from a Craigslist seller. Within just 6 days, Copper, the Yorkie Maltese mix, was dead.
As buyer Kathy Nixon said, “It’s very upsetting to see my children go through this.”
Her Veterinarian confirmed that the puppy would have been sold already suffering from the parvo virus. And of course, the Craigslist seller refused to cover the nearly $900 vet bill.
Getting a Puppy? NEVER buy from Craigslist, Kijiji and the like.
Because of puppy mills, both Kijiji and Craigslist have been targets of international petitions demanding they remove the sale of animals and only promote adoption from registered animal rescue groups and shelters, and the re-homing of family pets (for a small adoption fee).
After this backlash, both sites have backed off pet sales to some degree, but do allow people to advertise to re-home their own pet to a forever home. So now, unscrupulous puppy mill breeders pose as regular dog owners, hoping to re-home their pet. There is a “small” fee which is usually anywhere from $200 to $650 and up, supposedly for shipping and other ‘costs’. As one writer put it:
“I thought I would be doing a good deed and providing a forever home. Instead, it was a breeder scam.”
Be sure to ask to visit the breeder’s kennel or home, and see the other Morkies and dogs they have. Otherwise, you could be buying blind.
If the seller insists on meeting you at a halfway point, or somewhere other than where the other puppies and parent dogs are, it’s a sure sign you’re dealing with a puppy mill.
The California Case
Ironically, there is a law in California that protects people who buy dogs…. But this seller insists she’s not a “real breeder.” If you buy from a breeder, defined in California as someone who in a year sells at least twenty puppies or three litters, you have rights if a dog becomes sick within the first 15 days.
- You can return the dog for a refund and get your vet bills covered up to the dog’s purchase price.
- Exchange the dog and get your vet bills for to the amount the dog cost.
- Or keep the dog and get up to 150% of the price to cover the vet bills with proof of the illness
Want more tips on avoiding sick puppies, scams and puppy mill dogs?
Warning signs that you’re probably dealing with a puppy mill or unscrupulous backyard breeder
- The “breeder” is local, but no, you can’t visit. Instead, he or she wants to meet at a halfway point, a mall or car-park
- You can visit – but you see 3 or more different dog breeds running around. This is a red flag that the breeder isn’t committed to one breed or hybrid and is just breeding whatever dogs she has around in order to make money.
- Dirty or stinky facilities. Genuine breeders love their dogs and put their care first. The home and puppy area should be clean and tidy and a safe environment for the puppies and parents.
- Hand painted signs on the road, advertising puppies for sale.
- Puppies are always available, and the breeder will let you take one at Christmas, Easter, etc. No good breeder will release a puppy during these high-stress times and no responsible breeder always has a handy supply of puppies.
- Stay away from anyone who’s selling puppies at a public place like a flea market, yard sale, swap meet or pet store, or out of the back of a pickup truck, car or van.
- Be suspicious of the breeder who doesn’t demand that you spay or neuter your puppy. A genuine breeder will ask you to sign an agreement that your dog will NOT be bred.
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