Woman falls victim to Nebraska pet scam

A woman living in Nashville, Tennessee thought she was buying the puppy of her dreams from a Nebraska company but ended up with a heartbreak.
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 6:46 PM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - A woman living in Nashville, Tennessee thought she was buying the puppy of her dreams from a Nebraska company but ended up with heartbreak after learning she was being scammed.

Sally Midyette said she was looking for a long-haired German Shepherd puppy for a few months. When she came across a website on Google, she thought she hit the jackpot, finding the exact dog she was searching for in Nebraska.

Midyette said she filled out the contact form on the website, Von West Shepherds. It was almost immediately she received a response and started communicating with a woman about the animal. She was asked questions making sure she was the right fit.

They came to an agreement and she purchased the puppy for $600. The woman asking that she use CashApp to pay. The dog would then come via a pet nanny.

This was all right before Thanksgiving with the plan to receive the dog on the Saturday after.

“My husband and I already named him and we went to the pet store on Saturday before he was supposed to arrive and spent $700 on everything he could possibly want,” she said.

But when the day finally came, it was a series of text messages of back and forth, from needing more money for a crate for it to travel to it missing the flight.

Midyette would eventually send $1,600. It was when they kept asking for more that she realized that she was being scammed.

“We were invested. 110% invested in him. It was heartbreaking,” she said.

She contacted the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and requested money back from CashApp, going through her bank.

“I probably will not see a dime of it back,” Midyette said. She shared this story because she doesn’t want others to run into this.

She said when she went back to look at the website, it was taken down.

The Better Business Bureau said pet scams in North America appear to be on the decline, but consumer losses are expected to exceed $2 million for this year.

Pet scams historically make up a quarter of all online shopping frauds reported to BBB and are on track to be about 18% this year.

BBB’s Josh Planos said these are incredibly emotionally charged experiences and scams like this can be devastating for owners.

Planos said there have been more than 60 reports in the last year of scammers impersonating reputable breeders in Nebraska in the last year with people losing around $40,000 so far.

Some ways to avoid being scammed include buying locally through verified breeders or shelters. Also, do your research ahead of time. This is something that Midyette said she did after the fact, try to see the pet in person and make sure that you know the average market price for the animal you are hoping to buy.