Pet adoption disputes, scams on the rise during the pandemic

RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WTOC) — A familiar breed with beautiful blue eyes is the dog Amy Peraldo fell in love with when she decided to adopt another dog earlier this year.

She found “Milly” online through a rescue group.

Ultimately, the heartwarming moment was the start of what Peraldo called a horrifying experience. The rescue group called the experience a bad game.

According to the Better Business Bureau of Northeast Florida and Southeast Atlantic, disputes over pet adoptions are on the rise, as are pet scams.

The pandemic has led to an increase in pet adoptions, as many seek a way to ease feelings of isolation.

“It is the result of people having to be at home. And they say, ‘OK, it’s a good time to have a puppy. We’ll get him cleaned up and trained, and he’ll be fine before he has to go back to work,” said Tom Stephens, president of the Better Business Bureau’s Northeast Florida and South Atlantic chapter. is.

For Peraldo, she decided to adopt with the desire to find a companion for her dog Marly.

“She’s been a great dog — because she’s so hyper — she’s half Catahoula, half Greyhound and because she’s so hyper, she needed a dog to play with,” Peraldo said.

In March, Peraldo found a similar breed to adopt through Georgia Animal Rescue & Defense, Inc. This is the same rescue group where she adopted Marly a few years earlier and had a good experience.

The adoption went well at first. The problems, Peraldo said, started as soon as she brought her new dog “Milly” home.

She noticed the dog “was afraid of men,” Peraldo said, when Milly met her husband.

And then, one day after adopting Milly, the dog ran away after being spooked when Peraldo came home after walking Milly.

“My husband answered the door. She flipped,” Peraldo said of Milly. “She started doing barrel rolls. I fell about five steps and at that point I had to let go of the leash.

Their new dog became a lost dog, and a huge disagreement ensued between Peraldo and the rescue agency over the dog’s temperament. In the end, GARD helped her trap Milly, but then refused to hand the dog over to Peraldo.

“I mean, she took off in the white van on the left,” she said.

Not knowing what to do, Peraldo filed a report with the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office.

“I didn’t do anything with the police report because I was able to override the check,” she said. The GARD did not dispute Peraldo’s account that he captured the dog and did not return it.

“I just felt like it wasn’t a good choice for my dog, and I’m sorry, but I’m going to do what’s best for my animals,” said Joy Bohannon, director of the GARD.

She added that GARD would have offered a refund if Peraldo had not reversed the payment.

The nonprofit is a Pembroke-based no-kill rescue pet shelter that has been around for years. He adopts animals, often from difficult situations. Milly had a difficult past, Bohannon said. “She was basically wild. You couldn’t touch her. She would growl at you. I worked with her for two years.

At that point, Bohannon felt the dog was ready for adoption, but with specific instructions, she said.

“This dog was extremely temperamental and just take her home and keep her in the privacy fence for two weeks,” Bohannon said.

Peraldo, she received no instructions, she said, and Bohannon agreed that nothing was done in writing regarding the dog’s behavioral needs.

This is something the BBB says needs to be documented.

“A dispute between a customer and the company: we’re going to be kind of the middleman, the middleman to try to get them to talk together and find a solution, and it happens. Our resolution rate is probably 84 %,” Stephens said.

The dispute resolved when Peraldo stopped the payment, she said.

During a recent interview with the WTOC, Bohannon said she learned one thing from the experience and now wants to create an adoption contract specific to rescue dogs with behavioral needs.

As for the dog, she found a new home, which suited her well, Bohannon said. Peraldo recently adopted a Beagle she named Suki, so now Marly has the friend she needs.

If you’re new to pet adoption, the BBB has tips to help you avoid the pitfalls.

  1. Do your research – only consider a reputable adoption group or breeder.
  2. Get everything in writing – instructions on how to care for the dog and a copy of the contract.
  3. If the cost of adopting a pet sounds too good to be true, there’s probably a catch.
  4. If things go wrong and there is a dispute, file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
  5. If you suspect a scam or fraud, report it to the state attorney general’s office and local law enforcement, so they can investigate.

Copyright 2020 COMC. All rights reserved.

About Patrick K. Moon

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