The recent arrest of a Sydney fraudster for selling imaginary puppies concluded a one month investigation by Nepean Police Area Command, after numerous people around the country paid for pure-bred puppies that never arrived.
Nepean PAC Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Jason Pietruskza, warned people to be cautious when making purchases online.
‘These scams start by sourcing images of sought-after dog breeds and posting them online for sale; often at a lower price than other breeders,’ DI Pietruskza said.
‘During the current pandemic, many scammers are also taking advantage of people not being able to travel to meet the puppy in person and charge higher fees to transport the dog interstate.
‘If you think you have been scammed, we urge you to contact your bank or financial institution as soon as possible.’
Police are asking anyone with information about fraudulent activity regarding puppy sales to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.
Mimi Bekhechi, Campaigns Strategist with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said today that there’s also a positive element to the situation.
‘What’s the silver lining in the case of an alleged scammer selling non-existent puppies to numerous Australian families, for thousands of dollars each?’ she asks. ‘Well, fewer puppies born into a cruel industry that treats animals as commodities and robs animals in shelters of a chance at a loving home.
‘Many of the cute, cheeky puppies we see for sale have a tragic backstory behind those big eyes,’ said Ms Bekhechi.
‘Their mothers—confined to cramped, filthy cages—are forced to endure repeated pregnancies until their bodies are exhausted, and they are killed or abandoned. Irresponsible breeding leads to genetic issues like hip dysplasia, skin and jaw issues, and heart murmurs.
‘These puppies are removed from their nurturing mothers soon after birth, leaving them poorly socialised. This means—when we factor in vet visits and socialisation training—any dog who comes from a puppy mill will cost far more than the original price tag.’
Ms Bekhechi concluded by saying, ‘Every time someone buys a dog from a breeder, they also take away a home from a dog waiting in a shelter. Each year, in Australia, over 200,000 healthy, adoptable dogs and cats in shelters are euthanised, because there are not enough good homes for them.
‘If you have space in your home and your heart for a companion (or two), please, save a life and adopt from a shelter. Never buy animals from a pet shop or breeder – and always desex and microchip them.’