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PET LEASING SCAM: 2019 UPDATE
by Stella Starr, Pet Perspectives
Pet shop rip-offs are so common that CBS news reported it again in September 2018 and sadly, the non-profit AKC is complicit.
AKC’s continued failure to encourage people to buy a puppy or kitten from a hobby breeder who registers puppies with the American Kennel Club is troubling. The hobby breeder is the hallmark of the Cat Fanciers Assoc. and it is also the American Kennel Club’s reason for existing. Puppy mills came much later. Back in the 60s and 70s, pet shop puppies and kittens came from local breeders.
So why would an IRS-approved tax-free non-profit like the American Kennel Club care where you buy your dog? The simple answer is $$$ money, power and personal prestige. Isn't that what’s behind every financial scam? The bottom line is the motivator whether a company pays taxes or not. For-profit or tax exempt not-for-profit, money is power and prestige and those who climb the corporate ladder feed on it.
What powers the registries? Registrations. What generates the most registration income? Puppy sales. Who is most likely to register the new puppy (or kitten) with the AKC?
Most buyers only care about the puppy or kitten and caring, concerned hobby breeders often withhold registration papers until proof of spay or neuter is provided. That is $$$ lost, perhaps forever. Compare that to a pet shop customer. AKC or CFA papers are part of the deal. Most pet shops will do the registration paperwork for you, on the spot. The pet shop is paid to fill out your paperwork. It’s part of the service. Some will even have you sign the prestigious paper and they will mail it in for you.
So whether you bought the puppy outright or have unknowingly only leased it from the pet shop, registering the puppy with AKC is often done for you. Filling out the paperwork while you hold and kiss and admire your new puppy is much more than a courtesy. It is often a two-prong scam! It may actually be a lease agreement you are signing and you don’t get the ownership papers until the lease term has been fully paid and fulfilled.
“Responsible breeders” do none of the above. The breeder hands you the registration application made out in your name. They expect you to finish filling it out, attach a check, and mail it off to the American Kennel Club (or cat registries, TICA or CFA .)
Statistically and logically, most people buy a purebred puppy or kitten to insure quality and characteristics they consider important. They correctly assume those qualities are more likely to be found in a particular breed. Perhaps they had a purebred growing up, their bridge partner or PTA friend has “the perfect pet” or they remember Lassie…
It doesn’t matter, they can’t go to Amazon for a purebred pet (yet) and not knowing “how to find a breeder” or even that they should, they go to the pet store. Logical. Simple. Convenient.
They might poke around online but do they won’t find much help or advice from the registry organizations. We entered the most common pet purchase queries into google, i.e. “best place to buy a puppy” and “where to buy a puppy?” The first three returns were pet shops in my area, including the closest Petsmart. My search engine suggested “puppies for sale near me free” which made me smile. For sale, free. The top three suggestions were two “dog breeders” offering “divine” and “precious puppies” and then there was a list of “adopt a pet” sites which included “free animals on Craigslist.”
Nothing from or by AKC or UKC.
Remember the question which was the premise for this puppy-leasing scam? The most common queries were “Where to buy a purebred puppy?” and “How to find a purebred puppy?” but there wasn’t one top search engine return that mentioned AKC. Instead there were “petfinder” and “adoptapet” and “petclassifieds” and “petsmart” and “ASPCA” blurbs.
So how do you find a healthy, socialized purebred puppy? You find a “good” breeder”, someone who truly loves dogs, who proves their quality in the AKC show ring because they breed according to the AKC Breed Standard. They understand genetics and apply that to breeding only from mentally and physically healthy parents.
You will never find that person wholesaling to pet shops.
Start by clicking going to TheDogPlace.org and clicking on the Dog-e-Book Dog Clubs or go to The American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club website and search for national breed club secretaries contact information. Email the breed club secretary and ask for a list of breeder-members in your state or geographical area. Don't be scammed.