Is This a Puppy Scam?

puppySomeone Asked You to Pay Through Western Union for a Puppy -- Now What?

We've discussed puppy scams and how to avoid falling for them many times on our blog, but since we've received phone calls about some new pet scam techniques in the past few days, we wanted to give our readers another heads up.

  • First of all, we highly discourage buying a pet from an unknown source, especially someone who is in a different state or country. If you can't go to their house, meet them, and see the pet for yourself, you're already taking a risk.

  • Read this. If any of these typical pet scam details sound familiar, walk away. Particular red flags include a very sad or dramatic story from the pet seller, a "free" pet that just requires paying "transportation costs," and the request that you send payment via Western Union or MoneyGram.

  • Remember, just because someone has a picture of a pet, that doesn't mean it's real. Often pet scammers just find a photo online and pass it off as their own. Pet scammers do not actually have any pets in their possession, so anything they say about a puppy being stuck at the airport or being in danger is simply not true.

  • Same goes for "official" sounding pet company names. Google everything they send you to find out if they are real or not and pay close attention to the email address they use. If it's more sketchy than official, you should stop communicating with them.

  • Specific Example: We recently heard from someone taken in by a supposed breeder called "Bosco Bulldogs" who told their would-be client they were using PetRelocation to ship the pet. A little research reveals this is not a real breeder, and when they called us they found out that of course we knew nothing about the "order." Note: PetRelocation deals with pet owners directly and will never ask that you wire money for our services.

In summary, just be smart. If something seems off, it's probably a scam. Never rush into anything and never send money to a questionable source online, and above all, remember that these problems can be avoided by adopting from your local animal shelter or rescue organization!

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any advice for your fellow pet lovers, and contact PetRelocation if you need assistance planning a pet move.


Photo credit: Jennifer/Flickr


PetRelocation Team




United States


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By Amelia Clarissa Burrell on December 23, 2017 at 6:27 am

I found someone giving a Pug away from free but all I had to pay was 210$ for shipping expenses. It was from Maryland to California. I'm worried it could be a scam because of what the things on here said. He said his wife was sick and in the hospital so he couldn't care for the puppies and I had to send money through western union. I Googled the company that called me and it seemed legit. The man was even willing to pay half to get the puppy to me. Is it a scam??

By on December 26, 2017 at 9:52 am

Hello Amelia,

This situation definitely sounds like a scam - someone requesting Western Union and offering to ship an expensive puppy breed to you for only $210 USD is extremely suspicious. Keep in mind that scammers will use reputable companies' names to add credibility to their story.

We recommend cutting off communication with this person and not paying them. Try finding a puppy locally or going through a rescue in your area to avoid getting caught up in a scam. Best of luck to you!

By Vicki Stadtmiller on December 4, 2017 at 8:46 am

Do you know anything about this breeder They have beautiful puppies for sale but wants you to pay with money gram! Where can I get more information about them?

By on December 4, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Hello Vicki,

We haven't heard of this particular company, so we'd say proceed with caution. Do they operate with any of the warning signs above? (Using MoneyGram, offering "free" puppies, asking you to purchase insurance, etc?)

If you don't know them and can't meet the dog personally, we'd say avoid doing business with them! Try looking for a puppy locally or finding a breeder who wants you to meet the puppy prior to purchasing. Good luck!

By Susan Ferguson on November 30, 2017 at 7:01 pm

Scammed by a person named Zachary Peeler selling Great Dane puppies. Said he was located in Virginia. Wanted a $400 deposit - paid thru goggle wallet. Also tried to scam someone in Oregon, selling her a Bulldog. Her bank alerted her-fraud. Once she confronted him, he wouldn’t respond back. He will not respond back to me/deleted his email/not answering his phone or text messages. Don’t get scammed by Zachary Peeler.

By heather on November 27, 2017 at 8:40 am

I was looking for pomerian puppies. I was talking to this gentlemen about it ..He says his name is Thomas major and he moved and cant have doggies in apartment sent me 5 pictures. At first i was excited for them. Then I told him I would drive to Newwark since its only 3 hours from me and that I would like to meet the doggies. He says that he cant do that and that I need to western union the money to them and that if I do it today they would take payment from 800 to 300 and ship today for us. I ask I can come this thursday to pick up and pay and they keep telling me no they cant meet us they want to ship the dog and be done with it.

By Desiree d on November 9, 2017 at 3:47 am

Hello I recently came across a website called they want $500 for a puppie and to pay thru money gram or western union I spoke with a man over the phone I asked if I could get a new pictures of the puppy he said once I make a payment I can get all the pictures I want ... I want to no if this is a scam can you please help

By on November 9, 2017 at 8:15 am

Hello Desiree,

Unfortunately, if a company is wanting payment via Western Union it is most likely a scam.

We recommend cutting off communication with these people and dealing locally instead. Even better: Please consider adopting a pet from your local shelter!

Best of luck to you!

By Liz on November 8, 2017 at 1:14 pm

We have recently in last 2 weeks put a deposit on a puppy we have seen I. E. Sussex nearWadhurst. They are German shepherd crosses. We were told that we would receive updates and photos of our little darling until time of collection. However despite numerous calls, texts voicemails etc etc we have had no communication from the person called Gemma, and are now thinking that although we went to, what appeared to be her house, we have been scammed. If anyone has had the same experience and paid over your deposit, p,ease send an e-mail to us or to the site. Would be good to hear from fellow victims!!

By Bella M. on October 26, 2017 at 12:15 pm

Hi Doris, I'm about to purchase a 9 weeks old chow chow @ Chow Chow Puppies For Sale based in Florida (@chowchowpups4sale). Found this seller in Facebook. Their asking price is $400 including shipping/delivery. And they only accepting Western Union or Money Gram. Is this a SCAM?

By on October 26, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Hello Bella,

Unfortunately, if a company is wanting payment via Western Union it is most likely a scam. Also, $400 is a very low amount to purchase Chow Chow puppies for, including shipping.

Most likely this is a scam, so we recommend cutting off communication with these people and dealing locally instead. Even better: Please consider adopting a pet from your local shelter!Best of luck to you!

By Doris Beyer on September 10, 2017 at 7:11 pm

Do you know if Deluxe English bull dog is a scam? They are asking me to send $900 for an 11 week old English bulldog, to go to a Walmart near me and send a money gram and that I can get it same day delivery, they say using the best pet transport in the US? Any suggestions?

By on September 11, 2017 at 9:49 am

Hello Doris,

We have not heard of this company and based on how they are requesting money, it is most certainly a scam.

We recommend cutting off all communications with them and do not send them any money. In the future, try looking locally for a puppy or, better yet, visit a local shelter. Best of luck to you!

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