Attorney General Morrisey encourages consumers carefully consider before purchasing pets during the holiday season

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Charleston, WV (WOAY) – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey encourages consumers considering a holiday pet purchase to watch for fraudulent offers while choosing a four-legged friend.

The advice comes as part of the Attorney General’s Holiday Consumer Protection Week.

Unfortunately, representations of animals bought online and in stores can mislead customers about the true nature of the pet’s health.

Scammers can falsify pictures, and animals that appear healthy can become ill shortly after families purchase them.

Consumers can follow these tips when purchasing a pet:

  • Consider a gift certificate to a local animal shelter or a promise to adopt to ease the stress of a rushed decision and allow everyone to participate in the selection.
  • Never buy a pet without seeing it, especially from someone requesting an “adoption fee” or “shipping fee” via money order or wire transfer.
  • When purchasing a pet from a breeder, research the breeder, visit its operation in person and ask questions.
  • Get health records and verify the veterinarian’s relationship with the pet.
  • Secure proof of purchase with the breeder’s complete contact information.
  • For pets purchased via transport, seek contact information for the veterinarian who provided documentation and vaccines. Also, verify the name and address of the transport company.
  • Be suspicious of ads that offer popular, expensive breeds for free. Scammers may pose as a shipping company or courier to charge extra “shipping” fees for the animal.
  • Require documentation for any registered or pedigreed pet, including its registration with the appropriate kennel club.

Consumers with questions regarding pet purchases can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808 or visit the office online at www.ago.wv.gov

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