Spring is always a popular time for adding new pets to the family. How can you ensure that the process goes smoothly?
One of the most important things to remember when shopping for a pet online is to make sure to meet the animal in person before making any commitments. This includes inspecting the conditions that the animal has been raised in, and meeting the animals parents. Ask the owner or breeder to visit them at their home to see these conditions. Reputable breeders should have no issue showing off their kennels and where the animals reside. If there are more than 3 dog breeds being raised in the same location, be aware that it may be a puppy mill, and the animal may not be in the best of health (and you may be supporting an unethical breeding operation). If you do suspect that this is the case, alert your local SPCA or humane society.
Be aware of Canadian laws, and the laws of your province and municipality when it comes to pet ownership. Selling or buying exotic animals, such as monkeys, many types of turtles, or tiger cubs is illegal and could land you in serious trouble. Similarly, selling or buying native species to keep as pets is prohibited – so as cute as that raccoon, skunk, or squirrel may be, leave them in their natural habitat!
To avoid scams…
Never send or wire money to sellers (or anyone), no matter how good the deal sounds or how adorable that puppy is! Reputable breeders and rescue organizations won’t ask you to wire money – this is a common hallmark of a fraud attempt.
If you are posting a “Wanted” ad describing the type of pet you are looking for and sharing your phone number, familiarize yourself with SMS scams and reply scams. These are a favorite target of scammers.
Be wary of any pet ad with photos that appear generic. Fraud attempts often use images from Google. If you aren’t sure, ask for more photos of the animal you are interested in.
Remember, Kijiji is only intended for local, face to face transactions. If the animal is not living at a local address, make sure you are willing to go inspect the conditions, meet the animal, and transport your new pet back home. Transactions that involve shipping open up the likelihood of fraud.
Certain types of animals are much more common in fraud attempts. If you come across low priced English Bulldogs, Yorkies, Maltese, Chihuahuas, or Huskies, keep your guard up as these breeds are a favorite target. Fraud involving cats is less common, but Bengals and Sphynx cats are used in scams. Exotic animals and birds are also used by fraudsters, with African Grey Parrots, Macaws, and Cockatoos being the most common.
Remember, you can browse pet ads posted by shelters on Kijiji – don’t forget about the animals in your area waiting for their forever home when searching for a new pet.