A doggone scam

National News

This undated photo, provided by the Biewer Terrier Club of America and American Kennel Club, shows two Biewer Terriers. The American Kennel Club announced Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, that the Biewer — pronounced like “beaver” — became its 197th recognized breed. That makes them eligible to compete in events including the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club show, which will be held in June this year instead of its usual February date. (Courtesy Biewer Terrier Club of America and American Kennel Club via AP)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — How much is that doggie online? If the price is a little too reasonable, watch out. Puppy scammers seized an opportunity in the last year when the demand for “pandemic puppies’ skyrocketed.

When it comes to puppy scams, a local pet store manager has heard it all. Whether you buy from his shop, or get a dog someplace else, he has advice for anyone shopping for new pet.

Cute puppies tug at our heartstrings and cause many people to loosen their purse strings.

“I talk to people on a daily basis, I have a gentleman who, as I told you before, that lost $3500 on a scam, trying to actually do a breeding program on one of his dogs. I talked to a lady before that who spend $1,000 to get a dog and obviously low and behold, the dog doesn’t exist,” Ryan Oaks, Manager of Mini-Critters said.

Independent pet store, Mini-Critters has been around for four decades.

“We only buy from local breeders. We buy from breeders in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota and just a couple in Nebraska,” Oaks said.

He says some pet shops get a bad rap because that isn’t the case.

“There are a number of trucks that go around the country and literally buy dogs from every Tom, Dick and Harry, and travel around the country and sell them,” Oaks said.

When it comes to getting trapped in an online puppy scam, the old adage rings true.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A lot of of these scammers use stock photos You’ll see the same cute puppy 50 times over,” Oaks said.

A good tip is to do a reverse image search on the photo to see if it appears on other websites.

A Spearfish couple wishes they would have done that on this image of a French bulldog puppy in a peal collar, named “Hope”

“It was pretty disappointing because I really wanted that puppy. And she was a beautiful dog. I don’t know where they got those pictures and stuff,” Jeannie Hudson said.

Coming up Friday at 10 p.m. our sister station KELOLAND News Investigation will reveal how a couple of Arkansas men, with a history of doing this same exact thing in the past, trapped not only the Hudsons of South Dakota, but people all across the country in their puppy scam.

It’s an unprecedented look behind the scenes at how the scam operated and how they got caught.

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