Texas ranks No. 2 for states with the most puppy scams, data shows

Veterinarians.org says the average amount of money lost from a puppy scam in Texas was $913.20.

Bernese Mountain dog puppy (WKMG 2020)

SAN ANTONIO – ‘Tis the season of gift-giving, but if you’re thinking about getting a puppy as a Christmas present, you may want to think twice.

According to data from Veterinarians.org, Texas ranks No. 2 when it comes to states with the most puppy scams. The website compiled data from the Better Business Bureau along with population data from Statista Research Department to determine their rankings.

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From Jan. 1 until Oct. 31, 242 puppy scams were reported in Texas. The average amount of money lost from a puppy scam was $913.20, data shows.

California ranks No. 1 with 345 scams reported during that same time frame. Florida trailed close behind Texas with 219 scams reported.

Researchers say the data shows a 165% increase in puppy scams from the same time frame in 2019.

Due to COVID-19, some scammers claimed that potential buyers could not view the puppy in-person due to social distancing guidelines but would still require a deposit to secure the dog, researchers said. These cases would often require payment through a wire transfer or through peer-to-peer payment apps such as Venmo, where buyers may not be able to get a refund.

To avoid a potential puppy scam, Veterinarians.org offers these five warning signs if you’re looking to buy a dog.

  • If a seller will not let you see the puppy in person before you pay or if the seller does not send you pictures/videos prior to purchase.
  • The seller wants you to send money through a wire transfer or through a peer-to-peer payment app, such as Venmo, or through a gift card.
  • The seller asks for additional payment for things like a climate-controlled crate for shipping, vaccination, or transportation insurance/life insurance. Sellers may send emails claiming the shipping/crate rental fees will be refunded, however, they often are not.
  • The seller’s website makes no mention of the puppy’s parents and they aren’t able to provide health records or an AKC certification.
  • A purebred breed is being sold for a significantly lower price than the average price for a puppy of that breed.

Those interested in adopting a dog can use the AKC Rescue Network website to find breed-specific rescue groups. You can also use the AKC marketplace website to find responsibly-bred AKC puppies.

Veterinarians.org says 10 to 30% of dogs in the shelters tend to be purebred dogs. If you’re interested in adopting a pup from a shelter nearby, you can visit the San Antonio Animal Care Services website to view adoptable pets.

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About the Author

Emily Martin is the KSAT Insider Membership Producer. She earned a journalism degree from Texas State University, where she was news director at KTSW, the campus radio station. She has also interned at KXAN and KUT in Austin.

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