An animal welfare organization gave people another good reason to avoid buying a new puppy on the Internet. Deceptive sales tactics are being used to trick well-meaning consumers into purchasing dogs from inhumane puppy mills.
The Humane Society of the United States released the results of a 3-month-long investigation into Purebred Breeders LLC, thought to be the nation’s largest online puppy broker. The organization has filed a lawsuit in the state of Florida, where Purebred Breeders (PBB) is based.
HSUS found that PBB owns nearly 800 websites that are designed to make people think they are dealing with a responsible and ethical breeder in their area, instead of a big online puppy selling company. In fact their web domains even claim to “oppose puppy mills.”
HSUS said the deception works like this. “For instance, if you search for boxer puppies in Maryland, the first hit takes you to a PBB website even though you may think you’re dealing with a local, Maryland breeder.”
Then if you call the number listed, it goes to the PBB Call Center in Florida. A whistleblower told HSUS that salespeople are instructed to talk about the puppies as if they personally know them. Employees use “hard-sell” tactics to get people to make the purchase and pictures to make them fall in love with the puppy.
The puppies generally come from large-scale puppy mills and not reputable breeders as advertised. They are flown from the puppy mills to the town advertised on the website to unknowing consumers.
PBB came to the attention of the Humane Society after they received heartbreaking complaints about sick and dying puppies being flown in all over the country.
Here are some of the stories sent to HSUS:
“I bought my puppy, Charlie, from purebredbreeders.com. She arrived via airplane on a Tuesday night, and by Saturday morning she was dead. She arrived sick and the vets were unable to save her. I watched my poor puppy slowly die in a great amount of pain.” From J.U.
“I bought a Baby Face Maltese Tea Cup this past October. The website said these breeders were in Virginia; that’s where I live…When I found my Baby Face Tea Cup it was love at first [sight]. Then I found out she was in Oklahoma and the guy making the arrangements was in Florida? All of a sudden I felt like I was making a drug deal. I should have walked away at that stage, but I was already in love, stupid me! She was $2,000 plus airfare, which was around $329.” From S.O.
It is estimated that PBB sells approximately 20,000 puppies every year. The holiday season is their most profitable time.
If you would like to help stop Purebred Breeders LLC, please Click Here to let federal regulators know how you feel. And if you purchased a sick puppy from PBB, HSUS asks that you complete their complaint form.
Purebred Breeders LLC issued a statement about the allegations against them. The company stated they have placed thousands of puppies with families over the years and have an excellent reputation. They say they are committed to providing customers with healthy dogs and have a 94 percent customer approval rating. You can read their entire statement at: MSNBC
Photo from thenestor via flickr.