Buying Pets Online or Not?


Q: There are so many rescues and they’re all online. We want to rescue a dog, but you’ve written there are hoarders and puppy mills in disguise online, and places like petfinder might include them. It’s all very confusing. Can you help?  S. P., San Diego, CA

A: I get your confusion regarding buying pets online. “Never buy a pet from an unknown sources,” explains Mike Arms, president of the Helen Woodward Animal Center, Racnho Santa Fe, CA.. “Wherever you go to get your dog – visit the place in person where the pet lives, an animal shelter or private home, it doesn’t matter. Don’t rely on visiting virtually. Look at the place you’re going to, and the conditions the animals are living.”

Also, not all individual pets are the right match for all families. “Falling in love with a picture isn’t the same as the real thing,” adds Arms, who is also the founder of the Business of Saving Lives animal welfare conference, held annually in San Diego.

For example, if a pet is fearful, you may still decide to adopt or purchase. But at least you know what you’re getting into. Purchases via the Internet lead to many unwelcome surprises, and most importantly, people unknowingly supporting puppy mills. Speaking of which, check out a newly launched Facebook page – Veterinary Professionals Against Puppy Mills,  Anyone can join (or like) the page.