Happy Tails Alerts

Fall Season

We love helping pets have a smooth move and want to help you too!

At this time, generic e-mail inquiries and replies to Pet Travel Form submissions are taking about 2 business days from the time they are received. Priority goes to existing clients and those traveling the soonest.

In order to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction, and give our full attention to each client, we require at least 10 business days to accommodate domestic ground transport, and at least 15 business days to accommodate domestic air travel, from the date a signed contract is received.

We regret to inform you that all international services are currently suspended.

If you are interested in working with us, the quickest way to receive a response is to fill out our Pet Travel Form.  It will provide us with the additional details we need to see how we can best assist you.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. We look forward to working with you!

Pet Scams - What Are They & How to Avoid it Happening to You

By: Bridget Monrad, R.N. | Feb 24, 2015


Pet Travel Scams are steadily increasing in number and as a pet shipping company, we hear about them almost daily. The scams are typically people advertising an animal for sale and saying that they will ship the pet to you upon payment. However, as it is a scam there is really no animal. These people simply take your money and then do not ever send you the animal you were anticipating.

How do they Work

The scammer will advertise a false animal for sale (meaning they really do not have the animal in their possession to sell). The most common ploy is to offer a popular breed for a very low price. Generally it is a small toy breed such as a Teacup Poodle or Pomeranian. Another ploy is they will say that these animals have come from puppy mills or abusive families and need to be rescued immediately to avoid being put down. You will begin contact with the scammer to learn more about the animal and to arrange a visit if possible. Even if the pet was originally stated to be in your local area, they will come up with an excuse saying that you cannot meet the animal in person before getting it. These scammers say they are working with a pet shipping company in order to get your new furry friend to you. The scammers will typically use partial names of legitimate pet shipping companies to make themselves seem more authentic; however, if you look closely the name, contact number, or e-mail address will not match a legitimate company exactly. Most common is for them to ask for money to be wired to arrange the transportation of the animal. Another common form of payment they ask for is in the form of gift cards, typically for Amazon, Walmart or iTunes. These methods of payment are red flags because the money will immediately transfer to them and there is no way to track it or get it back after you have sent it to them. They might stay in contact for a while more, as they “work out the logistics” of your pet’s travel, but time will continue passing and you will never receive the animal you were hoping for as it never existed.

Signs of a Scam

  • Offering pets – especially expensive breeds – for free or a very low price. All they require is the shipping of the pet to you
  • Have an e-mail address from a free server such as Google or Hotmail
  • Ask you to pay them in Western Union, MoneyGram, or Gift Card
  • Advertise on Craigslist
  • Say that you cannot meet the animal beforehand and it must be shipped to you
  • Keep asking for more and more money for things such as insurance, or different crate
  • Have poor spelling and grammar in any communication

How to Avoid being Scammed

You should not use community posting sites to look for an animal. Instead use the official web/Facebook pages of your local humane society, rescue organizations, or Petfinder.com. If you do engage with anyone selling a pet on a communal site be wary; any deal that seems too good to be true probably is! Also pay attention to how they wish to be paid, if they are asking for cash, gift cards, or money order, and you are unable to meet the pet in person, immediately stop correspondence. If you have gotten past these signs and feel like you are still working with a trustworthy person/organization and the pet needs to be shipped to you, inquire about the company that you have been told will ship the pet. Look up that company’s official website, contact the company directly and see if they are familiar with the seller and your case. If they are not, it means that there is no pet that will be on its way to you. Never give these people money until you have met the pet or know 100% that you are working with a legitimate organization. And even then, pay via a traceable source so that you can monitor your money and know exactly who is receiving it.

I have been Scammed/ I have identified a Scammer - How do I report it?

Please visit The International Pet and Animal Transportation Association’s (IPATA) page for links on to how to report scammers with your local and the federal government: http://www.ipata.org/pet-scams

This happened to me, how do I get my money back?

Unfortunately it is very difficult to track money orders if you submitted that type of payment. The only thing you can do is to report it to the law enforcement authorities and hope they catch the scammer. It is most likely that you will never get your money back, which is why it is important to know the signs and be aware of Pet Travel Scams and fraud going around on the internet today.

Conclusion

While there are many animals that need to be rescued and need new homes, please be cautious if looking for one via the internet! It is very easy for scammers to get details about a legitimate organization and make themselves look like one or that they are working in tandem with one. Be smart, do your research, and you should have no problem finding and receiving the new furry family member you desire!

If you do find a legitimate pet that you would like to adopt, we can help with all arrangements from start to finish by air with care! Contact us at www.HappyTailsTravel.com or give us a call at 1-800-323-1718 or 520-299-3315.  We are always ready and happy to discuss how we can help you to provide a smooth move for any member of your pet family.

Check out our Pet Scams video for more information.