It’s very sad that even someone who wants to buy a puppy, can be victims of scams and greed.
If you’re looking for a Morkie, that magical blend of Yorkshire Terrier and Maltese dog, the search can be challenging. You want to avoid puppy mill dogs and unscrupulous breeds, and now there’s a whole new level of greed: the free puppy scam.
The more you’re aware of these despicable tactics, the better your chances of avoiding the free Morkie scam.
Four types of scams
The first trick these people will do is feature gorgeous-looking little dogs on their website for sale. Should you actually buy one, you’ll notice that your puppy looks nothing like those you saw. That’s because the scammer has stolen pictures from the website and even books and portrayed these as the dogs he is selling.
Meanwhile your little dog has been bred and raised in the cruel conditions of a puppy mills, where animals are bred and bred for profit, with no regard to their comfort or safety. Imagine a dog spending her entire life in a tiny wire cage, having litters two or three times a year until she dies!
You can avoid this scam by visiting the prospective member of your family in person. Look around and ask lots of questions. If the person you’re buying from can’t answer them, seems vague and there is no sign of the Yorkie or Maltese parent around, chances are good you’re dealing with a puppy mill.
Registered and ‘approved’ dogs
Anyone can claim their puppies have been registered, implying they are high quality healthy specimens. Even crosses like the Morkie can be offered with designations from The American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC) and International Designer Canine Registry® (IDCR).
Unfortunately, The American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC) and International Designer Canine Registry® (IDCR) aren’t recognized by anyone in the animal world and they don’t even check the dogs they ‘certify.’ Once again, you get a very inferior animal for the price of a show dog. These designations mean nothing!
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 all payments via a Western Union wire transfer or money order. These methods are favorites among scam artists 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.
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.
Avoid being scammed
- Be sure to deal directly with a breeder, not a broker.
- Always visit. Honest breeders and rescue groups will be more than happy to offer you a tour.
- Always pick your puppy up at the kennel or breeder. Do not have the puppy shipped or meet at a random location. If the seller suggests meeting at a mall or parking lot – run!
- Always ask for references, from others who have purchased dogs from this breeder and follow up on them.
- Ask for a reference from the veterinarian the breeder works with as well.
- Never send Western Union or money order payments.
- If you are told that there will be no refunds for a sick puppy, you are most probably dealing with a puppy mill. A reputable breeder or rescue group will always take the puppy back, regardless of the reason.
Armed with some knowledge, you can avoid being scammed in your search for the perfect little dog, the Morkie.
Read more: ASPCA’s stories about pet-related scams
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