As someone who does pretty much does everything online besides tying my shoelaces, it didn’t come as a shock that more and more people are shopping for their next pet online. As long as I have a name and a credit card to go along with it, I can click a button and instantaneously, my pup is on its way – by plane, train or automobile! Yikes.

These days, the consumer is ultra savvy. With the emergence of social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, businesses and consumers have a direct line of communication and know more about each other. Commercial breeders have realized that people are less comfortable buying a dog from a pet store because of the likelihood that the dog originated from a puppy mill. Their solution: Cutting out the now less popular, pet shop (the middleman) and “setting up shop” online!

And because of a loophole, when you ‘sell a live animal directly to the public online’, the United States Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.) is out of the picture. This means zero regulation for breeders that sell directly to the public via the Internet. Deception is easy on the Internet. You can present a picture very different from the one that actually exists. Those websites showing rolling, green meadows, and puppies curled up by the fireplace could be entirely fake.

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, “hundreds of complaints are filed every year from victims who were scammed when buying a dog online.” If you buy a puppy online, not only are you risking supporting puppy mills, you're also risking being scammed out of your money.

I’ll continue to buy my vitamins online but as for my pet, I’m turning off my computer and heading to a local shelter or a rescue-friendly pet boutique!

Jennifer Krause  (Burbank, CA 91506)

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