You’ve seen them skateboard.  You’ve seen them in your neighborhood.  You’ve gotta have one.  An English bulldog, of course!  Although you have never had a dog before, you think this is the perfect one.  So you do what a responsible owner would do and start researching.


One Pricey Pup

The first places you check out are the breeders in your area.  You find a couple online and decide to give them a call.  Yes, they have puppies for sale.  Yes, they are available.  Yes, they are $1000.  One thousand dollars!?  That is way too expensive for your budget.  You try to haggle with them but they will not budge.  They say they, along with the dogs, are registered members of the American Kennel Club and they have all the documentation for the vaccines and pedigree.  You believe them, but you can’t afford the $1000.


Virtual Pet

You decide the next best place to look is in online classifieds.  Maybe someone has an unwanted litter and you can get a deal.  Post after post is read.  Finally you find the perfect one, someone is advertising that they have a litter of English Bulldog puppies for sale.  They are American Kennel Club registered, are vaccinated,  and have great pedigree; they’re just like the local breeder!  Best of all is the price. Because the seller didn’t want the litter and is moving, they need to get the puppy to you right away, so all you have to do is pay for shipping, about $300.  What a deal.


Puppy Love

Because the seller wants to move fast, you exchange information and are told the best way to pay them is by Western Union.  They tell you not worry about the international address that you’re sending the money to because that’s where they are moving to and they’ll pick the money up when they arrive.  No problem, the sooner you send the money the sooner your new pup will arrive.  So you go to Western Union and wire the money.  You get home and e-mail the seller and wait for an update on your dogs travel, but you hear nothing.


The Dog That Doesn’t Bark

It’s been a week and you’re getting worried.  You haven’t heard anything from the seller and don’t know where your dog is.  So you go back online and search for the name of the person you had been dealing with.  You find and see that someone had an almost identical experience.  Then it hits you, there never was a dog.


How the Scam Works

These scammers are on the prowl for dog lovers who just want to add to their families.  They drool over people who want a specific type of puppy but don’t want to pay the breeder price.  And they hound you to use Western Union because it’s nearly impossible for you to get your money back after you discover it was a fraud.


How Much is That Doggie in the Window?

$1,000 might seem like a lot of money, but when you put it in different terms, it seems reasonable.  The breeder has to pay for all of the dog food, the vaccinations, other health costs, and the shelter; those costs add up, fast.  If someone is offering a purebred dog for free, where you only pay the shipping costs, that should put up red flags immediately.  There is no such thing as a free lunch.  But if you want to be extra safe, check to see if anyone else has gone through a similar experience to what the seller is asking.


How to Buy a Dog Responsibly

The American Kennel Club has written an article for people who are thinking about buying a dog.  They recommend that you make sure you have enough time for the dogs exercise and grooming, that you can afford the monthly food and health costs, and you realize it is a huge responsibility owning a dog.


Tips for Staying Safe

1.     Stay local: it is extremely important for you to see the puppy in person.  Not only will you be able to see its temperament but you can make sure it comes from a good place.

2.     Visit the American Kennel Club: they have a list of registered breeders, if the person your dealing with is not registered that could be a flag.  If the seller claims to be registered, double check the details on the website; make sure the contact information matches up.

3.     Check go online and see if anyone else has a similar experience.  Chances are if the seller has free puppies and is moving quickly, they’re scammers and it has been posted on

Dogs are great addition to any family, but they take a lot of responsibility.  They need to be cared for and can be expensive.  Throw yourself a bone and check to make sure you don’t get the short end of the stick.


See Also

Pet Scams Are A New Trend: How Thieves Use Cute Puppy Ads To Steal Your Money
Strange But True: Poodle Buyer Discovers His Dog is a Ferret on Steroids
Warning to All Dog Owners: Fake Animal Control Officer Scam

About The Author

Scambook is an online complaint resolution platform dedicated to obtaining justice for victims of fraud with unprecedented speed and accuracy. By building communities and providing resources on the latest scams, Scambook arms consumers with the up-to-date information they need to stay on top of emerging schemes. Since its inception, Scambook has resolved over $10 million in reported consumer damages.

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9 Responses

  1. Marilynn Smith

    Why buy a fancy thorough bred dog? Go to your local shelter, tell them the size and general type of dog you want. We have two adorable little ones from a shelter. Unless you want to be a breeder there is no point in paying a breeders price! If you want to be loved and adored by an animal these little ones will appreciate you and life itself a lot more.

  2. mary swain

    i got taken for 1150 dollars when i thought i was getting a purebread puppy from a store called the perfect puppy. i found out they switched the puppy and all of his papers. i love my dog and will keep him safe and very well taken care of. those people will get theirs. god dont like ugly. what gos around comes 2 fold.

  3. chief

    I have been looking for an English Bulldog puppy, they are so expensive and there is so many offers, tons on the internet about giving you the puppy if you will just pay 250 to 300 to have the dogs shipped directly to your door step! Examples are my wife died, or I got a new job and don’t have time for the puppy and this last one, the guy said he retired, which I thought was sort of fishy, who retires and gives up their pet. I don’t think these people are from the US, because of the way they communicate thru type only, I never actually talked to anyone of these creeps. it is sad that people will play on others emotions and the picture of a cute little puppy, just to take you for a ride! I hope there is some way these people get caught and are made to pay for the hurt, time and sadness that reek on others

  4. kirsty

    Never ever buy a dog online from these people who say that they will sell you a dog for £300. It is a SCAM. They make up an excuse that they have started a new job and dont have time for the dog. There is not a dog it is made up. The man who sent the e-mail to me is called philip tomson. He said he lived in the Isle of Man and would ship the dog out to me. When i went to make the payment and received the final e-mail they wanted the money sent to Victoria, Cameroon. If you dont trust your instincts do not do it !!!!!!

    • sharron patetson

      Yes Philip tomsons at it again this time offering Bassethound pup free 2 good home saying he’s frm Edinburgh,then when u email there’s 2 pups, he then claims he’s living in isle o man!!! Once he has u coresponding he claims work forces SALE, then he tells u pup/pups will b delivered by courier!!! He sent me pictures of what he claims is a BH, the pictures he sent are Never s BH, I askd him 2 forward pictures of parents and also his kc name and guess what he hasn’t replied surprise surprise!!!! Iv googled him and he claims 2 have various breeds ranging frm huskies,bulldogs,bassets,labs,retrievers and only his knows what else this person needs STOPPED!!!!!

    • cheryl roy

      I recently saw this guys advert on vivastreet and a few other websites. I contacted the seller as it says he in my local area. I got the whole moved to the isle of whyte story and has no time for the puppies. That the email had pictures of the pups (no attachments on email) he could send me them if I couldn’t get over to see them. I think not Mr tomson wonder what you would say if I said I was coming over. Wonder how much people have been ripped off by this scammer, people like him need to be stopped

  5. audrey

    you have just saved me money by sharing info on this despicable person..but not the heartache at now not receiving the beautiful puppy i had been sent photos of. philip tomson now says hes in the isle of skye..portree ,heron place , but instinct told me to check his info and the postcode didnt match.these people must be stopped asap

  6. Atit Again

    Philip Tomson is now saying he is on Isle of Skye and thanks to your blogs and my instinct we have not been scammed. For us it was a maltese. Notice he is also advertising Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Castlereagh, not to mention I think he has another alias but cannot prove that one. Offering other breeds is final give away.


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