Beware The Dog Breeder Puppy For Sale Scam

Sneaky internet tricksters are behind yet another cruel method of conning unsuspecting Brits out of their cash and this time they’re using Briton’s love of dogs to pull off the heartless swindle.

International internet fraudsters, commonly based in Africa or the Middle East, are behind a shocking new scam which aims to con British dog breeders out of thousands of pounds.

The conmen are sending emails to breeders who have puppies for sale and are asking if they would be able to put a deposit down on a puppy or even several pups with a view to the breeder setting the dogs aside to be collected when they are old enough to leave their mother.

The emails, usually written in poor English, will ask for the price of the puppy, before arranging a convenient date for collection with the breeder.

The emails seem legitimate and in many cases they are so cleverly composed that the sender appears to be the perfect dog owner, expressing concerns about health and the well being of the dogs and explaining to the breeder why they are particularly interested in owning one of their pedigree dogs.

Breeders are usually keen to accept deposits on puppies prior to sale in order to ensure new homes are secured in good time and to protect against potential sales to people who might be buying a dog on impulse, this is why the scam has caught so many breeders off guard.

Having taken the time to research the breeder and present themselves as ideal new dog owners, the fraudsters then prepare to trick the breeder out of his or her money.

The Puppy For Sale Scam

Once the vendor has given the prospective buyer a price and agrees that they will accept a deposit to put one of their puppies aside, the buyer issues a cheque and sends it to the breeder. However, when the cheque arrives the breeder will find that the fraudster has written out an amount greater than the agreed deposit price.

Relying on the honesty of the breeder, the scammer awaits notification from the breeder that they have sent too much for the deposit and will then explain that this was an oversight due to being so excited about owning their new puppy, they will then ask for the difference to be sent back to them so they can go ahead and start purchasing care equipment and food for their new pup in time for the collection date. They will always tell the breeder that they will paying the outstanding amount in cash (British Sterling) upon collection, thus enhancing the trust between themselves and the breeder.

The scam relies on the breeder writing out a cheque to refund the difference from the scam artist’s ‘overpaid’ deposit at the same time as paying the fraudster’s cheque into their own account.

Of course, by the time the breeder finds out the original cheque sent by the would-be puppy purchaser has bounced, their own cheque will have been received and cashed by the heartless conmen, leaving the breeder out of pocket and the puppy looking for new owners having been set aside from other possible genuine buyers.

The most worrying aspect of the scam, aside from the financial loss to the breeder is the fact that the puppies can often be left in the lurch as the breeder would have unwittingly told other possible buyers that the pup in question was not for sale due to a deposit being paid on it. By the time the scam has unfolded the puppy is possibly 3 to 4 weeks older and previously interested purchasers are likely to have purchased a new dog from another source.

British dog breeders are among a rare group who are always keener to do business with buyers on the basis of trust and honesty rather than for outright financial gain. The heartless crooks have realised this and prey on the breeder’s desire to secure good homes for their puppies as early as possible thus allowing the scamsters to successfully pull off their con.

The fact that the ‘product’ in question is a live animal also seems to have opened the door to the fraudsters who have discovered that breeders tend to be more trusting in their dealings and don’t suspect for a moment that they may be about to get ripped off as opposed to sellers of less emotive goods such as computers who might be more on their guard to protect themselves against online swindles.

Since dog breeders tend to be individuals who are passionate about their dogs rather than businesses or traders, they are a group who can least afford to write off losses as the result of a scam, especially at times when they are likely to be spending much more on caring for and feeding a new litter of puppies.

Despite not having puppies for sale, my own name and email sometimes appears on dog related websites and I have received e-mails from these people and immediately identified them as bogus. I was lucky enough to be instantly on my guard probably because I’ve seen similar scams perpetrated in other areas and because I didn’t even have a litter of puppies available at the time.

However, it did occur to me that many breeders might walk straight into the trap and I felt we should try and make as many people as possible aware of this sickening new fraud.

I would advise all breeders never to agree any deal until they have actually met with the prospective new owners. If the buyer happens to be overseas, ask for a phone number and chat with them. Ask as many questions as possible about their intentions for the new dog and find out what knowledge they have about the breed in question as well as its care requirements. If the buyer starts to sound uncomfortable with all the questions, be wary. Finally, never send any money on trust. Always wait for payment to clear first.

This is an example of the scam email:

From: jennifer smith [
Sent: 29 April
To: ryan@######
Subject: I HAVE AN INTREST !!!
Dear Sir/Madam

I am jennifer smith a model currently working in West Africa on modelling tour and am interesting in buying one of your puppies. I will like to know the final price of your puppies so that my client can issue and mail a payment to you. Please get back to me with your full name and contact address so my client can issue a deposit payment to you. Let me know your mode of payment.


How to tell if the email your receive is bogus.

The sender attempts to arrange for the puppy to be ‘shipped’ or ‘delivered’.
The sender shows no interest in viewing the puppy with its litter.
The sender insists on sending a cheque.
The sender issues a cheque for the wrong amount.

Ever Wonder Where Your Dog’s Courage Comes From?

We’ve all seen it happen. The small dog give chase to a much bigger, supposedly ‘tougher’ beast, sending it packing with tail tucked firmly between its legs. The animal equivalent of Dudley Moore putting the fear of God in to Mike Tyson.

The saying goes, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.

Maybe this (incredible) picture gives us an insight in to where this inner self-belief comes from….

Your dog is not a wolf. But he once was.

K9 Magazine Wins at Specialist Media Show

I am delighted and very proud to announce that K9 Magazine was recognised by the Specialist Media Show with an award for our digital magazines innovation.
I will write a more comprehensive report of the event – where I was also speaking – shortly, but wanted to put a couple of pictures on my blog in the meantime.

Recognition from the publishing industry is something everyone at K9 Magazine is thrilled about.

Experiences With a .co Domain Name

Last year I took the plunge and invested in some .co domain names. .co is the country code for Columbia but there was a lot of hype around the extension with many people predicting a new domain name gold rush.

For me I was just interested in acquiring a few domains that I knew I could develop and which were memorable and content specific.

The first site we launched under the .co was

My reservations about this domain extension were:

1. I always like to evaluate a domain name based on how memorable it would be if you told someone over the radio. I feared that saying "" would have many people just assuming I missed the .uk off the end.

2. In terms of looking at the domain, I feared that many people would assume the domain was missing an 'm' and was really a .com

Both of the fears remain. If given a choice, a solid .com domain would always be my first choice. But the real dynamite .com's are all gone unless you have a BIG budget to acquire one.

So the acid test now is how well the domain ranks, does Google have any built in prejudices toward the name that will lead to a downgrade vs a comparable .com and do people actually care that they are visiting a .co rather than a .com or

Well it seems Google likes the site – we have established some solid rankings.
It also seems people don't seem to care too much about the ending – traffic is very solid.

So the only question remaining is can we get the site to no 1 for the chosen search term ('dog tips') and will the site be a commercial success.

I'll report back when we have some results!

New Book: Clever Dog Life Lessons From Dogs (by Ryan O’Meara)

A new book claims man can take on some spectacularly successful life lessons from man's best friend.

Ryan O'Meara, dog trainer and publisher of K9 Magazine claims in his new book 'Clever Dog: Life Lessons From Man's Best Friend' that thinking like a dog can improve our happiness, prosperity, friendships and decision making abilities.

In arguably the greatest self-help book of all time written by the man who literally wrote the book on how to get more from life, relationships and careers, Dale Carnegie's 'How to Win Friends and Influence People' tantalisingly revealed a life lesson that deserves the attention of a more comprehensive study.

Carnegie's seminal work named the dog as "the greatest winner of friends the world has ever known".

Continue reading New Book: Clever Dog Life Lessons From Dogs (by Ryan O’Meara)

Animals Slaughtered Without Stunning

Today the British Veterinary Association announced their disappointment at the EU decision NOT to make it compulsory for meat that has been slaughtered without being stunned to be appropriately labelled.

I've discussed this issue with many people and I've found that, often, folks are completely unaware that it is possible, in the UK, for meat to be slaughtered without prior stunning for 'religious reasons'. This bothers me. A lot. Continue reading Animals Slaughtered Without Stunning

petbuzz: social marketing for pet companies (new!)

Very pleased to be involved with the launch of petbuzz, a new social media and marketing agency exclusively for the global pet industry.

We (K9 Media) have been working on building the petbuzz infrastructure and syndication network for the best part of 10 years so it's really exciting to be rolling it out (gently) in 2010.

Continue reading petbuzz: social marketing for pet companies (new!)

The Downside to Owning Female Dogs

I wanted to 'test' out how well my dogs would take to being looked after by my parents.

They being very spoiled dogs, whenever I've gone away in the past I've always had someone they know come and live in my (their) house so they have very little disruption. Asking my parents to actually move home for a while to look after my dogs when I'm away seemed a bit much so I thought, in order to satisfy my own mind, I'd let Mia and Chloe go and stay at my Mum and Dad's house for a 'test' run.

Continue reading The Downside to Owning Female Dogs