Last Monday, February 22, a new form of scam was discovered through social networks: the purchase and sale of pets.
Through different publications on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and also sites of free sale of goods, criminals make contact with the victims and, using photographs and false information (such as vaccination certificates, deworming, breed certificate, etc. .), they manage to captivate people and win their trust.
After these first contacts, and after having managed the choice of the pet, the criminals get the unsuspecting people to make the transfer electronically of the entire agreed value using discounts, promotions or gifts such as concentrate, crates and beds for the guardians and their new pets.
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Subsequently, they agree on the delivery of the animal which, supposedly, will be taken directly to the address provided by the buyer; however, once the transaction is confirmed, unscrupulous people stop responding to buyer messages. Precisely, to avoid falling into this new criminal modality, certain guidelines must be taken into account when buying a pet.
What the Colombian Law says
In 2018, the representative to the Chamber, Nicolás Albeiro Echeverry Alvarán, filed Bill 002 of 2018, with which it was intended to regulate the conditions of Animal Welfare in the reproduction, breeding and marketing of companion animals in Colombia.
In this project, it was intended to establish a Single National Registry of Breeding and Traders of Companion Animals and that these hatcheries would guarantee the minimum of welfare conditions for the animals. Despite good intentions, this Bill had a second debate and was subsequently shelved.
Thus, the companion animals were protected only under Law 1774 of 2016 (which gave them the character of beings with the capacity to feel and sanctions animal abuse), Law 84 of 1989 (which protects them against pain and suffering unnecessary), the National Police Code (which prohibits the sale, promotion, and commercialization of domestic animals on public roads, in municipalities with more than 100,000 inhabitants) and, more recently in Bogotá, in the Draft Agreement approved by the Council of the city with which it seeks to control the breeding and commercialization of companion animals by June of this year.
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And in virtuality …
Due to the pandemic and also because they are less controlled spaces, the purchase and sale of animals has been migrating, like many other businesses, to virtual platforms.
These pages do not have a completely clear regulation in this regard and allow the creation of accounts very easily and without any control. So far, only Facebook and some e-commerce websites have clear guidelines on the purchase, sale and even adoption of pets establishing the total or partial prohibition of these transactions.
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If you are thinking of buying a pet …
Consider adoption as a first option: There are many animals waiting for a second chance and they have an equal capacity to bring love to their new families.
But, if you are contemplating the idea of purchasing an animal of a particular breed, it is important to consider:
Animals are not an object: They are beings with the ability to feel emotions for which they cannot be returned because they did not adapt or due to some other condition.
They have no guarantee: Many of the certified and legally constituted farms establish a guarantee period with the buyer; However, there is no regulation that regulates these terms and these may vary according to the criteria of the kennel and the agreement that has been agreed.
In cases of genetic problems at birth or omissions of information by the seller, these must be verified by suitable professionals and the relevant legal authorities.
Prior advice: Consult your trusted veterinarian not only about the breed that best suits your conditions and lifestyle, but also about where to safely acquire your new pet.
Referred: Always ask family, friends and trusted people about the places where pets can be acquired and the experience they have had with them. Do not trust internet pages or social media profiles.
Investigate: To find out the reputation of the cattery, you can do an exhaustive search on complaints, negative comments and evaluations of other people. Be cautious with the information displayed on the internet.
Doubts: If they offer you sales, promotions, discounts for cash or gifts, hesitate. Many scammers use these methods to motivate buyers under the illusion of a “false opportunity.”
Additionally, do a preliminary research to find out the “price logic” of the breed you are interested in purchasing.
Verifiable certificates: The hatcheries are responsible for supplying the complete and up-to-date birth, deworming and vaccination certificates.
The only organizations that can grant a certificate of “pure breed” or pedigree are: in Colombia, the Colombian Canine Club Association (www. accc.com.co) and, in the world, the International Cinological Federation (FCI – www.fci.be). With these entities you can check the originality or not of the certificate, as well as the reputation of the associated farms.
Proven Professionals: Always demand and verify the professional card of the veterinarian or zootechnician. In Colombia, the exercise of this work is regulated by the Professional Council of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics, on whose page (www.consejoprofesionalmvz.gov.co) you can check the list of people authorized to practice in the country and also make complaints about illegal exercise.
Visit to the hatchery: For reasons of security, biosecurity and also due to the current situation of pandemic, many hatcheries do not allow buyers to visit the physical facilities; however, make use of current technological tools to know the furniture and also the conditions in which the animals are kept. Carefully analyze the photos and videos that are sent to you and, if possible, prefer mechanisms such as video calls or virtual visits to the facilities.
If you are required to pay 100% of the value of the animal, be wary: Usually this type of transaction is carried out through payment by percentages before and on delivery. Also prefer to make transfers to savings and checking accounts, and not through other types of platforms or services.
Ideal age: Responsible breeders deliver the animals at 8 or more weeks of the puppy’s life. This in order to guarantee that they acquire all the necessary antibodies from the mother and are in optimal health conditions.
Ethical and responsible breeders do not ship animals as merchandise with a domiciliary: The place of delivery is always agreed with the buyer, which can be a certified veterinary clinic, a pet store, the cattery or the buyer’s home. Never a public place like a shopping mall or on the street. If the shipment is made from one city to another, the breeder is obliged to send the animal in accordance with the provisions established for each means of transport and must provide a guide to track the shipment.
Tracing: Ideally, the cattery offers advice before, during and after the purchase. They are the ones who are most familiar with the characteristics and special needs of each breed and each animal. Establish a relationship of trust with the breeder so that you can consult and resolve concerns.
In case of being a victim of scammers– Report, document and report cases to prevent more people from falling for these types of scams.
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