Mariah Hughes convinced her fiance Joey Brown that they should get a dog. She decided on a mini-Dachshund because she likes small dogs and they live in an apartment.
“I was kind of hesitant about it and then after a while, I gave in,” Brown said.
Hughes found a breeder online based in Virginia, who sent several pictures and videos of the puppy the couple planned to name Luna.
She paid $600 for Luna, plus $1,100 for a ticket to fly the dog from Virginia. The breeders also told Hughes she would have to pay insurance for the dog to fly between the two states.
“I figured well, I'm not going to get my dog if I don’t pay this,” Hughes said. “So I ended up paying that and I never got my dog.”
Brown admits he was skeptical.
“I’ve been scammed before and I kind of know what it's like,” Brown said.
But the breeders sent photos and videos that reassured the couple.
Krissi Hawke, executive director of the Springfield Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, cautioned anyone looking to purchase a pet to thoroughly research any breeder first.
“Make sure you do a lot of background research on that breeder. You want to see references, you want to see parents, you want to see the puppies,” Hawke said.
You should also meet the puppy before adopting it, she said.
“Don’t just look at a website," Hawke said. “Make sure that you have more information than just a website to go to, to look at.”
The first meeting is also a way to determine if the dog has health concerns, she said, and gauge its temperament.
Hughes and Brown haven't heard from the breeders at all and they have filed a police report with the Springfield Police Division.
The couple said they’ve learned a valuable lesson and said everyone should be careful and not wire money to someone you don’t know.
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