Attorney General Mark Brnovich wants to warn Arizonans about pet adoption scams.

“Every year, we learn about con artists taking advantage of consumers through internet pet scams,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “Sometimes they post fake ads for pets that do not exist or they sell a pet that turns out to be very sick. Arizonans need to do their due diligence before hastily buying a pet, especially online.”

General Brnovich offers the following tips:

  • Be very cautious about buying a pet over the internet. Just because you see a picture or video of a cute animal doesn’t mean that you’ll get that animal when you send money to a stranger or meet up to adopt.
  • If a seller asks you to pay via wire transfer or gift card, beware—it is nearly impossible to recover money sent through these methods.
  • Before you choose a pet, do your best to visit the breeder's operation to see the operation and the pet in person.
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  • Ask questions and ensure the breeder has veterinary paperwork for the specific pet on the letterhead of his or her veterinarian. Call the veterinarian independently to verify the relationship. 
  • Consider adopting from a local animal shelter where pets are vaccinated and checked for medical conditions by a veterinarian.  
  • If you visit a breeder or seller and find potential animal cruelty, contact the seller’s local animal control agency.

If you believe you are a victim of consumer fraud, you can file a complaint online at the Arizona Attorney General’s website. You can also contact the Consumer Information and Complaints Unit in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, and outside of the metro areas at (800) 352-8431.