Avoid holiday pet scams & help shelter have Silent Night instead

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Scammers will target just about anything these days, and if you are looking to add a four-legged friend to your family this holiday season: beware.

The Better Business Bureau and animal rescue groups have a warning for families adopting pets over holidays: Scammers may be out to “dog” you!

To protect yourself, they suggest you avoid buying a pet online without seeing them in-person first.

Many listings could be fake and you could be paying for a pet that doesn’t exist. Next, understand the commitment you are making with both time and cost. Get your new pet’s health checked.

Puppies sold online often come from puppy mills and suffer health conditions due to poor living conditions and inbreeding. Consider adopting from a local animal shelter or rescue. And finally, if you plan to gift someone a pet, don’t do it.

It’s an experience they should have themselves, and it’s important to be sure they are ready for the commitment. If you still want a pet for the holidays, consider fostering a local shelter pet.

Silent Night at shelters

The Jacksonville Humane Society and Animal Care and Protective Services still need people to take in pets for the annual Silent Night Foster Program.

It’s the 10th year of the tradition, which allows families to take home a foster pet and keep them through Dec. 26.

The goal is to empty the shelters by Christmas Eve!

Every year, the Jacksonville community has helped to empty both shelters just in time for the holiday season. Many members of our community even adopt their Silent Night foster pets or found another loving family to adopt them.

“This event brings such heartwarming stories every year,” said JHS CEO Denise Deisler. “We are extremely grateful to our community, without them we would not be able to celebrate a decade of Silent Nights! Special thanks to VCA Charities for also sponsoring adoptions on this special occasion.”

Foster pets adopted by their Silent Night foster families at the Jacksonville Humane Society will have their adoption fee sponsored by VCA Charities.

“At VCA Charities, we are committed to helping pets find and remain in loving homes, not just during December, but all year long,” said Kim Van Syoc, Executive Director of VCA Charities. “We know the joy that pets bring to a home as well as the joy that families bring to pets – and we’re hoping to bring as much joy as we possibly can to Jacksonville this holiday season.”

Pets who are not adopted are returned to the shelter after Christmas Day and Silent Night foster families can provide valuable information about a pet’s behavior in a home environment to help future adopters gain more insight on their potential pet.

Silent Night participants are encouraged to bring a new or gently used leash and collar with them if picking up a dog and a new or gently used carrier if picking up a cat.

For more information, go to JaxHumane.org.

About the Author:

This Emmy Award-winning television, radio and newspaper journalist has anchored The Morning Show for 18 years.