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AG Nessel Visits Michigan Humane to Learn About Responsible Adoption, Reinforce Consumer Protection Against Puppy Scams

DETROIT - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel spent Wednesday morning at Michigan Humane to highlight important reminders as many people consider adding a family member during the holiday season. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Department has seen an uptick in complaints related to puppy scams, so Nessel is reissuing her consumer alert to provide tips to help consumers spot and avoid them. 

One specific scam that has been reported asks the consumer to pay the breeder and then a "third-party shipper" is involved to ship the puppy to the consumer's location. In actuality, the breeder and shipper are the same person. The day the puppy is supposed to be sent to the consumer, the shipper contacts the consumer demanding more money for insurance and a special crate - then again for more vaccinations. By the time the consumer catches on, the scammer will often threaten arrest for abandoning the dog. 

The below best practices can help consumers avoid falling victim to these scams:  

  • research the breed; 
  • research the breeder;  
  • research the advertised puppy; 
  • do not purchase a puppy sight-unseen; 
  • use a credit card to make the purchase; and 
  • retain all documents and communications from the breeder. 

"Pets are our four-legged family members," Nessel said. "Michigan Humane is doing important work to ensure every pet can find a loving home. My office also remains committed to holding accountable anyone who tries to take advantage of those looking to add a pet this holiday season. My Puppy Scams Consumer Alert can help educate Michiganders on the risks and reminders when searching online." 

Nessel is also teaming up with Michigan Humane to promote pet adoption through local shelters instead of shopping online. 

"We completely agree with the attorney general that pets are an important part of our family," Michigan Humane President and CEO Matt Pepper said. "And by choosing to adopt a pet from Michigan Humane, families can be assured that they are gaining a new family member from a trusted organization."

In an effort to help even more pets find a loving home during this holiday season, Michigan Humane is reducing adoption fees on select dogs at all their adoption centers through the end of the year with their 'Home for the Holidays' promotion.

"We want to encourage families to consider adopting an adult animal as well, since they have just as much love to give, and joy to bring, as any of our puppies," Pepper noted.

And as a reminder, if you're not in a position to adopt at this time of year, donations are always appreciated to help Michigan Humane create new families year-round.

The Department of Attorney General provides a library of resources for consumers to review anytime on a variety of topics.   

Your connection to consumer protection is just a click or phone call away. Consumer complaints can be filed online at the Attorney General's website, or if you have questions call 877-765-8388.