Pet Detectives (also known as Pet Parents) should beware of a new trend of scams in the area. Whether it be one individual’s misleading adoption ad or a vet clinic with bogus charges, these scam artists prey on our vulnerability as pet moms and dads, and can risk the livelihood and health of our pets.
VET CLINIC CHARGES
It’s easy to trust your provider when you’ve got a sick pup, or a kitten who needs regular procedures, but we are seeing hidden and bogus charges in regular check-ups and in emergency services when customers least expect them. It’s especially common in puppy and kitten owners who are first-time pet parents. When there’s any hint of concern from a new pet owner, some scandalous veterinary clinics will see opportunity. One recent report revealed a vet clinic explaining to a customer that her dog was in dire need of tooth extraction. When 4 teeth turned into 13 teeth, it was a red flag. It’s important to get the exact details of a procedure before it takes place, and to always make known that the vet should not perform additional procedures without the customer’s consent. What happens is that often, the clinic calls during a time when the customer is least expecting a call. Perhaps supposedly mid-surgery! At a time like that, there’s a heightened sense of urgency and emotion, and customers are more likely to agree to anything the doctor orders. If they are calling you before they add any operations, you’ve got the first step down. Next, to avoid potential scamming, slow down. Ask questions that will clearly identify if your pet will be okay with the original procedure. Don’t be afraid to say that you’ll be getting a second opinion! We’re preyed upon during a vulnerable time, and no one wants to look like the stingy parent who doesn’t care for his pet. When you’re in this awkward situation, keep in mind that you might risk your pet’s health with additional and unnecessary procedures. If anything, you’re taking food out of your pet’s mouth by spending your money where it doesn’t belong. If you’re careful and aware, you could save your dog’s teeth and afford a few extra days at the doggy spa.
Here’s another add-on that we’re seeing suggested during a strategic time. When you need insurance for your car, home, and life, you shop around for the best value for your dollar, right? The same effort should go into buying pet insurance. Companies don’t expect the customer to be as thorough in knowing every possibility that insurance will cover. Again, we want to trust the clinic and the insurance rep, so when you’re preparing to send your pet through a necessary procedure, sometimes insurance is suggested that implicates the procedure is covered by it. If it sounds too good to be true, folks, it probably is! This trick will have you paying for the entire procedure out of pocket, and losing your investment into a new pet policy. Always slow down, and always get at least one other opinion.
TEACUP PIGGIES OR BABY PIGS?
This one is absurd. While there is some controversy over whether or not miniature pigs should be pets, this scam will surely have you siding with the pet parent. Online ads for miniature pigs were recently reported. What was believed to be a miniature pig would be brought to its newly piggy-proofed and prepared home, and welcomed as the tiny new addition to the family. The problem was, weeks and months later, these pigs grew to incredible sizes. As it turns out, the pigs were not miniature pigs at all, they simply were infant pigs. The owners are told to practically starve the pigs to ensure they stay small, which no compassionate and responsible person would do to an animal, so when the pigs naturally grew, the owners were unaware and unable to care for them, resulting in the pigs being surrendered. Avoid this from happening by studying the phenotypical differences between breeds and ages of pigs before you take them in. Knowledge in this case is not only power, but empowering you to catch scam artists and protect the livelihood of these Babes.
There’s a special place in many of our hearts for pit bulls. Pit bulls need voices to speak out against the stigma attached to them and their behavior, and against overbreeding to be used for dog fighting. Scam artists go to great lengths to try and fool us and as you can see, tugging at the heart strings is the number one way to do so. One report revealed the discovery of thousands of dollars donated to one social media crowd-funding campaign. The funds were said to go towards a pit bull who was badly abused, but it was all a scam. The pit bull was in fact abused, but the campaign funds did not go toward his treatment and recovery. It’s so important, especially when emotions are high, to do your research. There are some great advocates for pit bulls, to include Stand Up for Pits, and The American Pit Bull Foundation, led and supported by thousands of people whose hearts are in the right place. Think twice before you click to donate after watching a viral video. There are trusted organizations who will make the most out of every cent they receive.
Protect yourselves and your pets, don’t be afraid to investigate. Nine times out of ten, your vet clinic is likely not scamming you, and crowd-funding campaigns are going to a great cause, but it couldn’t hurt to make sure. You can save yourself hundreds of dollars and save your pet from unnecessary pain and anxiety. It’s also better to be proactive rather than reactive. Reach out and act now, get involved with animal rights advocacy groups and educate yourself. Everyone wins that way.