The Humane Society of the United States and Michigan Department of the Attorney General strategize to protect consumers from puppy scams

Contact: Kelly Rossman-McKinney 517-335-7666
Agency: Attorney General

April 18, 2019

DETROIT — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and members of her Consumer Protection Bureau today participated in a roundtable discussion with the Humane Society of the United States to discuss strategies to protect Michiganders from puppy scams happening across the state.

Each year, consumers in the U.S. spend more than $1 billion buying puppies without realizing they may be doing business with scammers, puppy mill operators or both. Puppy mills are inhumane, dog breeding operations that keep dogs in overcrowded and unhealthy conditions and are not regulated by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Breeders hide their poor conditions by meeting buyers at offsite locations or selling through pet stores or online.

Since 2017, the Michigan Attorney General’s office has received nearly 20 complaints of alleged puppy scams – two of those complaints were made just this year. These scams include puppy mills that sell a puppy that is not as described or take money online for a pet that does not exist.

Many of these scams result in exorbitant veterinary bills and heartbreak for buyers who unknowingly purchased a puppy that was deathly ill. Puppy scams can also manifest in pet shop sales and in situations with either fraudulent paperwork or no paperwork at all.

Nessel said she’s doubling down her office’s efforts to protect Michiganders from puppy scams.

“For many Michiganders, pets are an extension of their family,” Nessel said. “While every pet deserves a loving home, my office will make it a priority to protect Michigan residents from unscrupulous puppy rip-off artists who break our state’s consumer protection laws in an attempt to line their pockets at the expense of animal welfare.”

 “The Humane Society of the United States is thankful to Attorney General Dana Nessel for her compassion, dedication and forward-thinking when it comes to animal welfare,” said Molly Tamulevich, Michigan state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “Holding fraudulent and dishonest puppy peddlers accountable for their actions will help protect Michiganders and their animals from heartbreak and financial hardship.”

Michigan consumers who believe they have been a victim of a puppy scam can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division online at mi.gov/agcomplaints.

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