Adding a new pet to the family can be a very exciting time. Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for animals on our site that will help to make the experience safer and more enjoyable;
If it looks too good to be true – it probably is. 

  • First of all, and most importantly – always buy the animal in person. This will give you the opportunity to inspect the health of the pet, the cleanliness and safety of the location, and best of all, you’ll see if you have a good rapport with the pet.  While a picture may be worth a thousand words, a real live pet will tell the story.  
  • No matter how good the deal seems or how cute the animal is, always pay once you’ve inspected the pet and asked the breeder all of your questions. Only then should you pay. You can consider choosing your preferred third party cashless payment method as an alternate to carrying cash (at your own discretion). Secure cashless payment methods include electronic money transfers (Interac e-transfers). Never mail a cheque or wire money to sellers. Services like Western Union or MoneyGram should be avoided. Typically, scammers will use these services and will even falsify documents from a legitimate company. It’s best to avoid them entirely and keep things local!

Do your homework.

  • Be aware of the laws in Canada and in your province specifically. Selling or buying exotic animals like monkeys, turtles or tiger cubs is illegal and can get you in a lot of trouble. 
  • Take a look at the pictures in the ad. Do they look like they might be generic photos downloaded off the internet? Do not be afraid to ask for more information or pictures of the animal.

It’s in the details.

  • When picking up or viewing the animal, always ask to check out their living conditions. If there are more than 3 dog breeds being raised in that location, be wary as it may be a puppy mill and you may end up with an animal that is not in the best of health. 
  • The majority of scams in the Pets section come in reply to a “Want Ad”. These often start via SMS/Text message. Be wary of any non-local numbers and requests for you to reply to their text via email. 
  • Is the address posted local? They may have posted on a particular site but live in another province so shipping will be necessary. This will open up many possibilities for scams. 

A few extra notes worth considering: 

  • Dog scams are most common with English Bulldogs, Yorkies, Maltese, Chihuahua’s and Huskies. 
  • Cat scams are most common with Bengals and Sphynx as they are very costly and hard to find. 
  • Bird scams are most common with African Greys, Cockatoos, and Macaws.

* Reprinted with permission

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