Use extreme caution if buying a puppy


I want to share with everyone true stories and experiences that people have shared with me recently and the near past.

I’ve heard many things in the past few years about good people trusting people, being cheated out of their money, trying to adopt or purchase puppies online, in newspapers or general media. I myself was cheated 10 years ago by the Mexican puppy trade, people smuggling over the border, under-age sick puppies, purchased very cheap in Mexico to be sold to people here in the United States. They usually died within a few days from disease or parasites, leaving people with expensive vet bills and broken hearts.

With no one to hold responsible because these monstrous people met them on a corner or at a 7-Eleven or some small business with no receipt and no way of ever contacting them again. It’s their plan, they make $300 or $400 on each puppy free and clear every time with no restitution for all the problems the puppy will have. They are still doing it today; I hear it from people at my salon every week.

Another way people are cheated is by sending money through Western Union. Bad people advertise in the media showing adorable puppy pictures that aren’t even their puppies, that way they can never be found and held responsible. When you use Western Union to send money you can never get it back, that’s their plan. They’ll even charge people for a cage, shipping, food and toys, all of which they never send. This happens every day.

They have temporary phone numbers most often with long-distance area codes to make you think they’re so far away the puppies have to be shipped, when in reality they could be next door. As soon as they cheat enough people, they will change the phone number. They will also use different phone numbers and ask you to meet them halfway pretending to do you a favor to justify not coming to their home, so you can’t see where they live and hold them responsible.

One lady told me she went to an address that she found online on Craigslist and they told her to come to their house. When the woman got there, a lady came out from the side of the house with puppies in a cage and told the lady they couldn’t come in her house because her mother was sick and was asleep.

When the puppy died two days later, she went back to the house because the phone number didn’t work anymore and the woman didn’t even live there. What she did was hide on the side of the house and pretend that she was living there.


In Norwalk, one of my dear friends, Mrs. Ruiz, sent a man $900 a month ago for two adorable puppies she saw online. As soon as she came into my salon and told me she was supposed to pick them up at the airport, but they never arrived, I knew she had gotten cheated.

Her tiny Chihuahua, Taco, died two days before her second cancer surgery, it was more than heart breaking. He was 16 years old, then right after her surgery she found out she was not going to get the two puppies promised to her from a man that supposedly lived in Oklahoma.

This was my last straw.

We have given his phone number to several authorities and informed our local animal control about these atrocities. So, what are they doing about this problem? People are still getting cheated. The problem is not so much puppy mills in other states, it’s right here happening locally every day of the year.

Why isn’t someone doing anything? Everyone needs to know what is happening and become aware. The new pet shop law is useless. Bless the people who adopt from their local animal shelters, but it’s not stopping the state-wide puppy mill problem at all; they simply sell to whomever will buy.

We can buy guns. We can buy cigarettes and cigars. We can buy alcohol. We can now even buy weed. But we can’t buy puppies and kittens from a pet store…seriously? The American Kennel Club in North Carolina and many others are working on repealing this useless law and making a law that makes sense for individuals. Not everyone as a whole is evil and irresponsible. We need to stop punishing good and decent people who want to rescue animals.

So, never meet anyone on a corner to buy a puppy. Go to where they live, get a receipt, get a feeling for them and if you think the puppies are in peril, call the local animal control and report them. See something, say something!

Let’s all stand up for the animals and the people that truly want to help them. Beware of Craigslist, be smart, be kind, and be happy.

Until next time, thanks for listening.

Anna Berardini owns Anna’s Pet Grooming in Norwalk.

Anna Berardinifeatured