Scam Ads: SPCA Warns Against Purchasing Pets Through Online Sites Like Craigslist

Posted by Allie Layos
brown puppy
All images via RISPCA/ Facebook

There are many good uses for the Internet, but according to the SPCA, buying dogs probably isn't one of them. 

The Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) is warning the public of the potential problems with purchasing pets through online sites such as Craigslist after a Warwick woman unwittingly purchased a sick puppy through the site.

"The ad stated that the owner could no longer keep the puppy and was only asking $400 in cash," RISPCA posted on Facebook last Thursday. After contacting the seller the woman was instructed to meet in the parking lot of a Home Depot in Natick, Massachusetts to finalize the sale.

brown puppy with bloated abdomen

"Of course, she took the bait and drove from Warwick to Natick, (Massachusetts) alone, and after some discussion, offered the person $200 and the deal was struck," the Facebook post continued.

But the story was far from over, as she quickly noticed that there was something wrong with her new purchase. The puppy, now named Amelia, looked unusually bloated, so the woman took her to the RISPCA to be examined. She found that Amelia had a number of medical issues, including three different internal parasites -- roundworms, coccidia, and hookworms.

"She also had a vaccination record from the seller, which we traced to Texas and Oklahoma," RISPCA wrote. "Since hookworms are not common in our area but are in those two states, chances are the puppy was transported to (Massachusetts) from a puppy mill."

Since the woman has a young daughter and was afraid of a bad outcome, she chose to relinquish Amelia to the RISPCA rather than make her child's "first experience with a puppy a tragic one."

Dr. Ernest Finocchio of the RISPCA believes that the whole situation is an unfortunate one that could be avoided.

"How many times do we have to get this message out to tell people to beware of these scams on social media about these sob stories about dogs who need homes?" Finocchio said in an interview with NBC 10 News.

"I don't hear of any good stories of people adopting animals out of these circumstances that turn out to be good."

In lieu of purchasing an animal through Craigslist, the RISPCA encourages potential pet owners to adopt through their local shelter instead.

"Will we ever learn to avoid these scams, not to mention putting one's self in harm's way by meeting a complete stranger in a parking lot with cash in your pocket?" RISPCA posted on Facebook. "Please spread the word and adopt at a shelter."

Finocchio agreed.

"Our dogs here are less than $100 (and they are) spayed (or) neutered, checked out, no fleas, no ticks, (and have) heartworm medication," he said

As for Amelia, she is on the road to recovery, but still has several days to go before she will be parasite free.

All images via RISPCA/ Facebook.

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Scam Ads: SPCA Warns Against Purchasing Pets Through Online Sites Like Craigslist