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      BBB warns of pet-buying scam

      Scammers used this picture of a bulldog puppy to scam a Ft. Leonard Wood family.

      Scammers used a bulldog puppy to scam a military family at Fort Leonard Wood. The Better Business Bureau says scammers took nearly $4,000 from the family.

      The family searched for a breeder online, and found a website for Glen Bullies or Glenn Kennels at www.glennbulldogs.com. The site offered two bulldog puppies for sale at a price of $890 each, about half the amount usually charged for the breed.

      The scammers had the family send $890 on a reloadable money card, and told them they could pick up the puppy Springfield-Branson Airport. There was no puppy.

      The family contacted the scammers, who demanded an additional payment of $1,745 - allegedly for insurance and a special Missouri permit.

      By the time the family realized there was a problem, they had sent $3,895.

      The BBB in Minnesota and North Dakota have issued warnings about this type of scam.

      THE BBB offers the following advice for consumers considering purchasing a puppy or other pet from a website or classified ad:

      - Thoroughly research anyone offering pets for sale. If it is a kennel or breeder, check to make sure the business address is legitimate and that the business is properly licensed.- Be extremely careful about buying a pet from anyone who you do not know. Be especially skeptical if the price is significantly lower than the usual price of a similar animal.- If at all possible, go to the location to pick up the animal. So-called "puppy scams" depend on buyers trusting that the animals will be delivered to them.- Be extremely cautious about paying for any animal by using a reloadable card or wire transfer. If your money is stolen, the chances of recovering it when using those payment methods are extremely low. Pay by credit card whenever possible in case you need to challenge the charge.- Make sure that you have health and immunization records for the animal. If the animal is registered, ask for paperwork.- Research the pet you are considering. Learn about the disposition of the animals in that breed, and about potential genetic problems that are common in that breed.- Be cautious about "puppy mill" dogs. The Humane Society of the United States says that simply because a website praises 'home-raised' or 'family-raised' puppies doesn't mean the information is true. "Many puppy millers pose as small family breeders online and in newspaper and magazine ads."- Consumers might consider adopting a spayed pet from a shelter.- Check with the state where the breeder is based to determine whether the business has been inspected and whether it holds required licenses.- Check out the breeder with Better Business Bureau by going to www.bbb.org or calling 314-645-3300.