Area SPCA issues warning of puppy sale scam

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Potential pet buyers should not believe any Facebook pet ads claiming to be from the Central New York SPCA, organization officials said.

The SPCA has warned that scammers are using Facebook to advertise puppies for sale using the name of the CNY SPCA. The scammers take payment in advance and then tell the victims to drive to the CNY SPCA to pick up their animal.

But there are no animals waiting for the families.

“The CNY SPCA does not adopt animals out in this manner,” said Dee Schaefer, education coordinator with the SPCA. “We meet all of our adopters face-to-face and never take payment in advance.”

Schaefer said they were completely unaware of this scam until families from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania suddenly showed up at their door this week looking for their new pets.

“We have two heartbroken families,” Schaefer stated. “Unfortunately, we had to send them home empty-handed.”

According to Shaefer, the families told the SPCA that they found ads for puppies for sale in either one or two specific Facebook groups. Shaefer said they clicked a link on Facebook that took them to outside websites, where they were instructed to provide their credit card information.

The websites then told them to drive out to the CNY SPCA specifically to pick up their new pets.

“It just makes me angry that we’re being targeted,” Shaefer stated. She added that she is unaware of any other SPCA being targeted through such a scam.

Schaefer warned all potential pet buyers to be on the lookout for such scams, especially any parents looking to get new pets as Christmas presents for their children.

Schaefer said the only animals available from the CNY SPCA are listed on their website, www.cnyspca.org. Anyone who sees a Facebook page offering puppies for pick up at the CNY SPCA is asked to call the cruelty department at 315-454-3469.

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