BBB Warns Against Online Pet Purchases - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

BBB Warns Against Online Pet Purchases

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NORTH LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Making dreams come true often involves giving a pet to a child, grandchild or significant other.

If your search for the perfect pet involves a search of the Internet, the Arkansas Better Business Bureau urges you to exercise caution.

It is difficult for anyone with a heart for animals to visit a shelter and not pick a favorite and want to adopt.

But the BBB warns...don't get hooked by slick presentations of cute animals online.

North Little Rock animal control officer David Miles says several people have come in over the past few days expressing interest in a dog or cat for a child or grandchild.

As much as Miles would like to see all the adoptable animals find new homes on Christmas morning, he is still careful to make sure that those interested in adoption have thought through what they are doing.

"They need to think that this is an animal," says Miles. "It is a being. It's not a toy that you can just throw away when you're done playing with it and just set it aside. It is something that will need constant attention."

When you buy locally and see and touch a pet before adopting it you are protected from the misrepresentations that are common online.

"You can look on the Internet and see that this area of the country is known for puppy mills," says Michael Rohrer with the Arkansas Better Business Bureau. "And you can see that type of dog that you want and it is only available at this one...well you don't get to visit the breeder. You don't get to see the conditions. You don't know what condition that animal is going to be in when it is shipped to you."

If a pet is shipped at all. Rohrer says it is usually people seeking pure breds or great deals who get hooked by phantom online offers.

"There are a lot of nice pictures," says Rohrer about online pet ads. "And it looks good. But people are just taking your money. They not going to deliver your dog. They are a fake site. They're not even a puppy mill. They're a fake Internet site."

No matter how much homework you do any pet deal involving shipment of that pet involves risk.

The BBB recommends you keep your pet purchases within a several hour drive from home.

Air date: December 16th, 2013