Be­ware of dog scam on the in­ter­net

The News-Times - - ADVICE/GAMES - Dr. Michael Fox Write c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO 64106 or email an­i­mal­doc­[email protected] Visit Dr. Fox’s Web site at www.

Dear Dr. Fox: There is an out-of-control puppy scam on the in­ter­net. Scam­mers take some­one else’s dog pic­ture off their web­site and post it on their own. They col­lect and post beau­ti­ful pic­tures of pup­pies, plus won­der­ful, en­dear­ing videos of them, then “sell” the dogs which aren’t ac­tu­ally theirs.

Many pop­u­lar smaller dog breeds sell for $2,000 to

$5,000 from rep­utable breed­ers. These scam­mers sell theirs for a bar­gain at $500 to $700. The seller writes a whole page about what a won­der­ful fam­ily the dog will come from, not a puppy mill. One scam­mer I talked to said he was a con­sul­tant in Cal­i­for­nia sell­ing a dog from Vir­ginia.

They only want cash or Western Union money. They won’t take a credit card. They told me they were will­ing to send a puppy with a “pet nanny” on a plane in

-50 wind­chill weather to Min­nesota from Vir­ginia. They wanted me to be at the Minneapoli­s air­port wait­ing for them. I knew the dog would never ar­rive, but another vic­tim would have been standing there feel­ing to­tally stupid, out of money, heart­bro­ken, with no dog!

The scam­mers I talked to all spoke with thick ac­cents, and were a lit­tle hard to un­der­stand. They would never give me their com­plete ad­dress. I came within two min­utes of los­ing $700 to one, be­fore I was able to can­cel my Western Union trans­ac­tion.

There is a web­site list­ing the names of cur­rent dog scams: Look at that be­fore you buy one. I don’t know how peo­ple can be so mean and greedy to do this to oth­ers. Shame­ful!

By con­trast, a res­cue dog is one you can see, play with, and learn if it is trained and fixed. So if that works for you, give one a lov­ing home.

J.T., Alexan­dria, Min­nesota

Dear J.T.: I hope many read­ers of this col­umn will take note of your ex­pe­ri­ence and pass it along to their friends and rel­a­tives who may be con­tem­plat­ing get­ting a dog or puppy.

I have raised this is­sue in ear­lier columns, and ap­pre­ci­ate you shar­ing your story and con­cerns.

Dear Dr. Fox: My 8-year-old stan­dard poo­dle dropped in his tracks af­ter do­ing a short romp around our yard, an exercise he does reg­u­larly.

Just as he fell to the ground, he made a short, shrill sound and then did not move. I ran to his side and tried to re­sus­ci­tate him with chest com­pres­sions and breathing hard into his nose. I be­lieve he died in­stantly. This dog was in per­fect health with no known heart ail­ments. He had been fine all day with ab­so­lutely no signs of ill­ness or dis­tress.

Necropsy of his heart, lungs and gas­troin­testi­nal sys­tem re­vealed noth­ing out of the or­di­nary, and the vet said there was no rea­son to send off any tis­sue sam­ples for anal­y­sis. He pre­sumed it could have ei­ther been an aneurysm or undiagnose­d ge­netic heart de­fect.

I have never felt such an­guish in my life.

Your thoughts?

C.W. Root, Naples, Florida

Dear C.W.: This must have been a ter­ri­ble shock for you.

At least your dog’s suf­fer­ing, if any, was short be­fore loss of con­scious­ness. Most likely, there was a brain aneurysm that rup­tured. Any vas­cu­lar weak­ness can lead to a stroke when there is high blood pres­sure as­so­ci­ated with kid­ney dis­ease in older dogs and humans. And around where you live, dog owners should look out for toxic toads that can kill dogs from what seems like a heart at­tack, but usu­ally with other signs in­clud­ing seizures and drool­ing.

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