Potential "adopter" interested in my dog: Scam? And if so, WHY?
Background: Due to my mother's death and my subsequent unemployment, I can't afford to keep the family farm. I'm dispersing everything possible, including the barn dogs. I've been working with a local rescue to place them, but it's more "list them on our website and see if you get any hits" than surrendering them to the rescue.
Ok, so I have a hit. On the most "difficult" dog, a white GSDx who desperately needs training I don't have time to give in order to be a good citizen of any kind. That was made clear on the rescue's website. She's not necessarily agressive, just annoying. As in she has an obsession for brooms and will steal and destroy them in seconds, she drags in all the kindling anyone will ever need to start a fire and she is constantly underfoot, no matter what. She's just too smart to be hanging around doing nothing...without getting into trouble.
So the potential adopter lives about three hours away in another state. The first time she contacted me, I didn't like the vibe her email gave off, but pushed my misgivings aside because it was obvious English wasn't her first language. She asked questions that seemed to already have been answered in the ad: "Does Daisy have any training?," etc. But I answered them because she's been the only one who has shown any interest in this dog.
Second email asks if Daisy's on any medication and if lady can pay adoption fee through PayPal. No on the medication (wouldn't we have stated that in the ad?) and as far as PayPal goes, I have no clue what the rescue's policy is, but say I'll check. I'm getting more and more concerned about how she doesn't seem to want to know EVERYTHING there is to know about Daisy's personality. I ask about the environment Daisy will be in, send the rescue's full adoption form...
And receive an email from some guy claiming to be the woman's fiance. Says they live on a 40 acre farm where Daisy will "live free" behind an invisible fence. Well, okay, I guess. But in the adoption form, it states that they have a "tie out" and a dog house and she will be tied out sometimes. They will leave her at home if they go on vacation. The woman's parents live on the farm too, so Daisy will "never be left alone." (Well, except for the fact that she apparently will be living outside on 40 acres alone all the time.)
But the big kicker is that where they were supposed to list the vet they're going to use, they put ?????? and they left the references section completely blank!
Daisy will not work in this situation. Even if everything is on the up and up, it's a disaster waiting to happen for a dog who needs clear guidelines and a LOT of interaction.
So does this sound like ordinary yahoo people who just don't know any better? Or does it sound nefarious? And if so, why? I'm sure there are dogs a whole lot closer to them they could get a whole lot easier...
First off I am sorry about your situation. I can't imagine how hard this must be for you. As far as this potential adopter -- RUN! This does not sound like a good situation for the dog (or any dog for that matter).
Just my two cents, but I would keep looking. Put feelers out to everyone you know and ask them to forward the information along. You never know who might be looking for a dog just like this one. The most important thing you can do though is spread the word. Good Luck to you!
About a year ago there was a thread involving a certain situation. A poster recommended a book called The Gift Of Fear. Well, I read about 90% of this book so far and the main thing that this book has taught me is to listen to your gut feeling. It is usually right. In your case, don't try to talk your gut out of the warning signals it is telling you. Find another adopter. As far as the book goes, it is a very "eye opening" read.
Especially in this economic climate, it *could* potentially be several things.
It could be a plain old, Nigerian scam, they don't care what you are offering and while they *may* have learned some of the jargon or right type of questions to ask or info to provide, they're still blatantly *off* in their communications. They want to send you a money order, certified check, etc. for far more than the payment needed and have you refund the excess amount (or part of it) to a third party. TYPICAL scenario.
Second possibility -- they want to get a free or inexpensive dog to sell to the experimental labs. Yep, it DOES happen, all over the country. Last I heard, labs paid about $75 to $100 per dog, so if a dog can be obtained for less than that, there may be profit in it. The broker may bring the whole family along, kids and all, interview well, tell you they've Always wanted a white GSD, take your dog, then ... go to the next house on their list that day and start the process all over again, telling the next owner that they've always wanted a _____(fill in the blank). They may target dogs who aren't the easiest to adopt, where the owner may be more willing to overlook that gut warning.
This is one reason why dogs should never be offered *free to good home* unless you KNOW WELL the person who is taking the dog and knew them before the dog was made available.
Another possibility -- they want the dog as a bait dog for fighting dogs. Yep, small dogs are used to train the fighting dog to kill, later, larger breeds are used -- but they remove the pet dog's teeth to prevent too much damage to the fighting dog. Many times, dogs are stolen rather than purchased or *adopted* for this purpose.
Sickening and disgusting, but true.
Why these particular people want a dog so far away....who knows? Maybe it is a Nigerian scam, maybe they really want a white GSD to train their dogs on because they think GSD's fight well??? But it really doesn't sound like they'd be good owners at all, so I'll second your gut instinct on this situation.
As in she has an obsession for brooms and will steal and destroy them in seconds, she drags in all the kindling anyone will ever need to start a fire and she is constantly underfoot, no matter what. She's just too smart to be hanging around doing nothing...without getting into trouble.
Heh - that sounds like a typical GSD. One of mine is obsessed with vacuums and the hose. It's sort of cute, but a pita if you're just trying to get work done. I should have taught him more fear as a puppy! You might want to mention it on the rescue listing and try to get some folks who are in agility clubs, etc to post her to their lists/mention them to fellow clubmembers because there are people who do find it charming and realize that she's a dog that'll want to do stuff and that they should be able to train her more easily than the dogs that don't amuse themselves so easily.
I don't think the people responding are scamming you, but I don't think they'd provide a good home for Daisy or any other dog either.
I work in dog rescue and my advice is - run screaming in the opposite direction. Bait dog or they'll try and use it to guard a meth lab. Either way the dog is going to die a horrible death, but not before being abused in unspeakable ways. Think torture.
If you think it will help PM me information about the dogs you're trying to place and I'll forward it to decent people.
I agree with everyone else. They either want a bait dog for dog fighting training, or a lab animal (some like them large), a vet school experiment animal, or they want to train her to be a guard dog at something like an auto yard at night where they drop her off and she roams around guarding the place after they abuse her to make her vicious.
Thanks everyone. I haven't told these folks yet that Daisy is a no-go, but I will tonight. All these stories (especially the ones I received through PMs)make me feel better about turning them down, even though the situation is dire.
Kim, I've contacted the group you mentioned; hopefully, they'll be able to help. JSwan, you have a PM!
Does anyone have any suggestions about how I can find agility groups/clubs? Daisy would LOVE something like that! And yes, even I find Daisy charming. I wish I had time to channel that energy into something productive, but I just don't...
I also have two older (10 and 8) neutered mutts to place. They need quiet, indoor homes, if anyone knows of anyone who might be looking. Both were house-trained as puppies, but haven't been kept inside for years.
Mutts can't compete in AKC (which I find annoying, since I have a mutt) but they are welcome to train with classes affiliated with local AKC clubs. I've done this and, well, we were in 100% purebred company (dogwise) but the people were lovely.
I just want to say how sorry I am that this is happening to you. I never thought of this.. what would I do w/my dogs if I couldn't live on my farm any longer? Horse people tend to have the oddest barn dogs... I am no exception..
"Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
--- The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.
Awww, she's so adorable, I wish I could take her!! I posted her petfinder.com site on my friend's Facebook. He lives in KY (Lexington) and told him to ask around for someone who is looking for a dog. He tells me he has a lot of friends so we'll see I'm glad you ran from those people, what a sketchy sketchy sketchy situation. Listening to your gut is always the right way to go, and the gift of fear is a great book!!!
I'm so sorry you're in this situation, what a tough turn! I hope things work out and that you can find homes for all these guys!
Thanks everyone, both for the help and the support. I'll start looking through the agility lists in the morning. Daisy really is a great dog--she just needs her own human to lavish her love on.
And my other two dogs are equally, well, if not "cute," then sweet. One of them is adorable, so cute you can't stand it. The other? Eh, not so much. But he's such a good, loving guy. Both of them need indoor homes because of their ages. If anyone has a lonely grandparent, they would be perfect companions.
Again, thank you SO much for everything. Keep the good vibes coming so these guys can find a home!
Oh, I forgot to say that I'm close to Lexington. Thank your friend for me, Parker Rider (and thank you, too)!
Last edited by SteppinEasy; Mar. 25, 2009 at 10:49 PM.
Reason: To add information!
Truly, follow your gut. and, as to WHY, when they are THAT obsessed with payment, it's because they will use the one and only TECHNIQUE ALL these scammers use -- to "pay" you in fake money and have YOU send THEM your REAL money. So simple.
Can you contact other GSD rescues? Anywhere in the country. I know they don't usually look only locally. Although in this economy, I think a lot of people are taking their dogs to rescues and they are overcrowded. But there may be one with an open spot in a foster home somewhere in the country.
I just adopted a dog yesterday from death row. The shelter was full and the breed rescue was full. I think he is purebred! But I drove 2 hours to do it. Believe me I had questions like you wouldn't believe before I made the trip out to see him. Even then I told the pound that I could not guarantee anything until I met him and made a temperament evaluation myself. So, it sounds like your gut is right on this one. I found the dog on petfinder. I also found that many dogs were listed with more than one rescue and were still either in a kill-shelter or maybe with owner as yours is. So I would suggest contacting lots of rescues and seeing what you can find out. Good luck. I'm so sorry to hear of your situation.