Michigan Attorney General warns families to be on the lookout for puppy scams

Photo Courtesy of Jakob Owens via Unsplash

By Lucas Henkel

December 18, 2023

Learn how to avoid the heartbreak of puppy scams this holiday season.

MICHIGAN—This year, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Humane Society of the United States are partnering together to warn Michiganders of puppy scams during the holiday season.

Consumers in the US spend more than $1 billion buying puppies annually without realizing they may be doing business with scammers, puppy mill operators, or both.

“Scammers are looking for any way to take advantage of consumers during the holidays and puppies are unfortunately not exempt,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a press release. “While many people may be eager to give a furry friend during this time, I urge residents to be vigilant in their search to avoid being scammed.”

If you’re looking to adopt a furry friend this holiday season, Nessel recommends staying hyper-vigilant and following these best practices:

  • Make sure the person you’re gifting the pet to wants the pet and is ready for ownership.
  • Research the breed and breeder.
  • If the breeder claims to have registered the puppy, research the pet.
  • Do not purchase a pet without seeing/inspecting the pet first.
  • Arrange for safe transport of the pet.
  • Use a credit card to make the purchase.
  • Retain all documents and communications from the breeder.
  • Consider contacting your local shelter for adoption.

“For families looking to confidently adopt a happy, healthy pet, we encourage folks to skip pet stores and online sellers and visit one of our state’s many shelters or rescues, which are full of animals looking for their forever homes,” said Michigan State Director for the Humane Society of the United States Blake Goodman in the press release.

Michigan consumers who believe they have been victims of a puppy scam can file a complaint online with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection team.

For more information on puppy scams in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/consumerprotection.


  • Lucas Henkel

    Lucas Henkel is a multimedia reporter who strives to inform and inspire local communities. Before joining The 'Gander, Lucas served as a journalist for the Lansing City Pulse.



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