Attorney General Nessel Wants To Put An End To Puppy Scams In Michigan

"Breeders often cover up the way they treat their animals."

April 18, 2019 - 5:17 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) -- Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is taking aim at unlicensed pet breeders and so-called puppy mill operations across the state of Michigan.

Speaking at the Detroit Humane Society Thursday afternoon, Nessel says her office is trying to put an end to puppy scams.

Nessel says each year, U.S. consumers spend about $1 billion, meaning it’s big business for scammers -- who at times take money online form consumers for pets that don’t even exist.

In addition to warning Michigan consumers of potential scams, Nessel wants to put a halt to deplorable conditions for animals in the state. Buyers are often left footing the bill for exorbitant veterinary bills for, at times, deathly ill animals.

"We are here today to try and bring that practice to an end," Nessel said. "Puppy mills are inhumane dog breeding operations that keep dogs in overcrowded and unhealthy conditions that are not regulated or licensed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development."

"Breeders often cover up the way they treat their animals by meeting buyers at off-site locations or selling them online," she said. "And believe it or not, some pet stores actually sell these puppies as well."

There have been more than twenty complaints of "puppy scams" by the Attorney General's office in recent years.

Mitzi Mertens with the Consumers Protection Office says they have received multiple complaints in 2019 regarding the health of recently purchased puppies, and a few who paid money through wire transferes and never received the dogs.

"They think they're purchasing from a legitimate site, but it's not."

Anyone who as fallen victim to a puppy scam is encouraged to file a complaint with Michigan's Consumer Protection Division online.