How to Avoid Dog Adoption Scams

Mar 01, 2021     |      Sophie's Circle

A couple happily petting a retriever at an adoption agency in the yard.Adopting a dog and giving him a forever home is exciting for the whole family! But, how do you know you are not going to be scammed? Unfortunately, there are many ways people are using dog adoptions to scam the public. The good news is there are some ways to protect yourself. Use tips to vet your nonprofit agency before you send funds.

How Do Scams Work?
Due to COVID-19, it has become increasingly difficult for local pet adoptions to take place in person. This leaves more opportunity for fraudulent dog adoption ploys online as people turn to the Internet to search for their right match using popular related keywords and breed matching surveys that can lead them to seemingly reputable non-profit adoption websites. While there are some amazing nonprofits you can trust, some individuals are using various marketing tactics to showcase stock photos of dogs they do not have. For example, you may be asked to send money for your adoptee to be transferred with a “crate” fee for shipping him to your area plus “insurance” fees only to find there has never been a dog to send.

Use Only Established Nonprofits for Your Adoption
As you begin your search online for that special dog that touches your heart, one of the best ways to protect yourself against scams is to search only the sites of long-established nonprofit dog adoption agencies in your area. It can be tempting to respond to that Craig’s List posting or click on that website link showing the photo of the type of dog you have always wanted. They may even use keywords like the type of breed you are seeking or “free” in the description. However, unless you are searching a well-known site for pet adoptions, you are running a high risk of becoming another dog adoption scam victim. By limiting your search to tried and true local agencies, you know each one has a solid reputation within your community of matching dogs in need of a good home with their new loving families.

Search Locally
Another helpful tip to reduce your chances of becoming involved in an adoption scheme is to search locally where no “shipping” or “transfer” fees are required. If your dog can be picked up locally, you are better able to assess which fees are both fair and legitimate charges. Plus, there is very little time for scammers to request money or information when you live within a couple of hours of the agency and you can pick up your dog within the day.

Practice Patience
When you catch the excitement of getting a new furry family member, it can be hard to wait for the right dog and equally difficult to resist the urge to go on the website for the unknown business promising the exact dog you have been seeking. Part of the adoption experience is the search for the best match as well as waiting for peace-of-mind with the adoption process. At Sophie's Circle, we are the only dog food pantry in our area and we are known throughout the community and surrounding areas for placing dogs in caring foster homes while they wait for their new well-matched owners. Best of all, in case you have not yet found the right dog for you using our adoption listings, we are adding new furry faces to our adoption page frequently and we feel confident an excellent match for your lifestyle, personality, and preferences will be posted on our listings for adoption very soon!

Be Wary of Free Dogs and Additional Fees
At Sophie’s Circle, the purpose of our fees is to cover expenses, such as spay and neuter fees or a microchipping fee. These are common costs associated with dog adoptions. Adding an adoption fee also helps to place dogs in the care of owners who are able to financially care for their newly adopted pets. If a dog’s picture is shared on Facebook or Craig’s List with the words “free to a good home” or if costs not mentioned upfront begin to emerge as you show more interest with any online ad or website, we recommend taking extra steps to make sure you are not falling for a scam before handing over any funds or personal information.

Ask a Vet
If in doubt, your local veterinarians will have a good understanding of reputable dog adoption agencies, like Sophie’s Circle. They can make some helpful suggestions on great places to start or continue your search. When you have a dog in mind, you can mention the name of the agency to see if this is an established adoption agency, gain some other insightful tips on choosing the right dog for you, or learn more about caring for the dog you are considering.

Start Here!
If you are ready to begin your search for that dog that melts your heart and provides that loyal companionship you have been missing in your life, we have a selection of wonderful dogs for you to view! Simply click on our adoption page to discover the dogs in our area who are in need of their forever homes. Visit as often as you like until you see the one you have been hoping to find. In the meantime, be sure to sign up for our foster program to give you some tail-wagging adventures and consider dropping off some dog food pantry donations to help provide food for the dogs of families in need within our area. You can make a difference today in the life of one dog in need of a forever home, a dog waiting for that right owner, or a dog who has a loving family and just needs some nourishment assistance. Start here; start today!