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CONSUMER ALERT: Holiday Puppy Scams

Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued a consumer alert reminding Arizona shoppers to watch out for puppy scams during the holiday season. Every year the Attorney General's Office receives consumer complaints from Arizonans who purchased sick puppies or fell victim to internet puppy scams.

For example, consumers claimed the puppy advertised looked different than the pet received or the puppy quickly became ill.

“Con-artists prey on your emotions by posting a picture of a cute puppy for sale on the internet,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “Arizonans are tricked into paying hundreds of dollars for a new puppy that doesn't get delivered and they're left empty-handed right before the holidays."

Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued the following tips to avoid being “bitten” by holiday puppy scams:

  • Don’t buy a puppy or do business with someone you haven’t met in person. If you try to arrange meetings to see the puppy, and the person makes excuses, it could be a red flag.
  • Before you choose a puppy, visit the breeder at the breeder’s operation no matter what.
  • Ask questions and ensure the breeder has paperwork for the puppy on the letterhead of his or her veterinarian. Consider contacting the vet independently to verify the information.
  • Be extremely cautious about purchasing a pet sight unseen over the internet.
  • Do your research. Ask for detailed information about the person selling the pet. What is the person’s full name, phone number and physical address? Do complaints or the word “scam” pop up when you research them online?
  • Consider adoption from a local animal shelter. Pets are vaccinated and checked for medical conditions by a veterinarian.

If you believe you have been the victim of consumer fraud, you can file a consumer complaint by contacting the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6504, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at 1(800) 352-8431. Bilingual consumer protection staff members are available to assist. Consumers can also file complaints online by visiting the Attorney General’s website at

Editor's Note: If you are looking to adopt a pet this holiday season, consider one of our many local rescues or the Pinal County Animal Care & Control.

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