Crooks now preying on vulnerable pet owners

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I am keeping it brief today because I really don’t have the words to express my outrage about this. It is so low, so despicable, and so disgusting …. How anyone could stoop to this is beyond me.

I mean, let’s face it — stealing someone’s pet is bad enough. Demanding money from someone who has lost a pet is even worse.

But it happens — and apparently it happens more frequently more than anyone realizes, or cares to admit.

According to one news account, it’s happening in Aurora, Missouri. The story about the family that lost their dog and then got a series of phone calls demanding money in exchange for his return appeared on an ABC affiliate’s website Feb. 17. You can read the details here.

Now imagine how you would feel if this happened to you. What would you do? Where would you turn?

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

Numerous websites offer advice on the topic. Scambusters.org lists five different shakedowns targeting owners of lost pets and shares tips to keep crooks from taking advantage of you when you’re vulnerable. You should:

  • Make sure your pet is always properly licensed and tagged.
  • Keep your pet indoors, in a secure yard, or on a leash at all times.
  • Limit information in your missing pet advertisements or social media posts  to the essentials.
  • Ask for a phone number if you get a call from someone who says they’ve found your pet and claims to be out-of-state.
  • Make any caller who seems to be ‘fishing’ for information about your pet initiate the questions or comments about your pet’s description.
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