A couple of weeks ago a woman phoned our hospital. She wanted to verify some information on the “health certificate” that she had received when she bought her puppy. The certificate had our hospital logo and contact information on the top. When we looked up the puppy in our records and couldn’t find him, we asked to see the certificate. It was immediately clear that the certificate (pictured above) was completely fraudulent! Despite bearing our logo, it bore no resemblance to the documentation that accompanies our puppy care visits, and had not been issued by us.
We investigated further and discovered that the owner had found the puppy over an online listing service and had picked him up, along with this paper, in a park. (We aren’t going to name the listing service involved as they have been more than co-operative in trying to track down the perpetrators of this fraud, and we believe that this sort of thing can and does happen on any number of similar online classified sites, probably using fraudulent paperwork from any number of veterinarians.) The point here is that this is not a good way to acquire a pet. The very fact that the transaction was to take place in a park should have been a huge red flag to the prospective owner. Classified ads, both online and in print are frequently used by puppy mills and other disreputable breeders as clearing houses for the animals they produce. If you do get a pet from a classified listing, either purchased or “free to a good home”, use the following guidelines:
- Determine whether the breeder is reputable. They should be able to provide references, and you should be able to meet other pets that they have bred. The Canadian Kennel Club has good Guidelines on finding a reputable breeder.
- Pick up the new pet in the facility or home in which it was bred. You will be able to establish that the pet has had a good start in life, with good hygiene, nutrition, and socialization with other animals and people.
- Verify with the issuing veterinarian that all health records that accompany the pet are accurate and legitimate.
Ideally, do not purchase a pet at all. Shelters and rescue organizations in Toronto are filled with fabulous pets looking for loving families to take them in. Here are a few we recommend:
Toronto Humane Society http://www.torontohumanesociety.com/
Toronto Animal Services
Toronto Cat Rescue http://www.torontocatrescue.ca
Annex Cat Rescue http://www.annexcatrescue.ca
North Toronto Cat Rescue http://www.northtorontocatrescue.com/
4 Legged Love http://www.4leggedlove.com/
Tails From Greece http://www.garcanada.bizland.com/
Loyal Rescue http://www.loyalrescue.com/
The Dog Rescuers Inc http://www.thedogrescuersinc.ca/
GINA (Greyhounds in need of adoption) http://meetgina.ca/
Boxer Rescue Ontario http://www.boxerrescueontario.com/
Jack Russell Terrier Rescue Ontario http://jrtro.wordpress.com/
Big on Beagles http://www.bigonbeagles.ca/
Speaking of Dogs Seminars, Outreach, Rescue http://speakingofdogs.blogspot.ca/
Bullies in Need http://bulliesinneed.ca/
Golden Rescue http://www.golden-rescue.net/main/
T.E.A.M. Dog Rescue http://teamdogrescue.com/