A 13-year-old boy in Singapore has been accused of cheating owners of small breed dogs by getting them to give up their animals and then selling them online for pocket money.
A surprisingly large number of dog owners turned over their tiny purebred pets to a teen they had never before met after he gained their sympathy. The young con artist explained that his dog had recently died and their dog looked exactly like his beloved pet. He then pleaded with the owner to let him adopt their dog and once they turned over custody, the teenager sold the animal.
The boy listed each dog online and sold it to the highest bidder. Most were sold for less than $300.
The unnamed teen told The Straits Times he did it, “So I can have money to go out.”
The scam was exposed when one of the dog owners called to see how her dog was adjusting to its new home. The teenager told her the animal had run away.
Ms. Zhang, who had been trying to adopt her Maltese because she had recently given birth to a new baby, doubted the story. She reported the incident to the police. That’s when she found out the boy is protected by the Children and Young Persons Act and the authorities could do little to help because she had given the dog to him.
Not satisfied with the answer, Ms. Zhang posted her story on Facebook and animal lovers rallied to her aid by putting pressure on authorities to end the scam. An animal welfare organization called Zeus Communications even ran a sting operation and bought one of the dogs. They bought a Yorkshire terrier named Elmo that was kept in a small cage outside the boy’s apartment. They paid $240.
Lawyer Chia Boon Teck told the group and Ms. Zhang they may have a case if they can prove the teenager “dishonestly induced” the pet owners to turn over their dogs. Authorities will then be forced to press charges against the boy.
Sources say the boy lives with his grandparents and denies doing anything wrong. He told reporters that he simply changed his mind about being a dog owner.
Online transactions show he has dealt with breeds such as Jack Russell and Yorkshire terriers, Japanese Spitzes, Chihuahuas and Malteses in at least 20 cases.
Ms. Zhang was able to track down the buyer for her dog and found it is doing well with a “loving family.”
Photo from Creative Commons - WSilver