The following post largely reflects my personal opinions and views. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the rest of the Support group here.
In the last few months, we've seen an explosion of activity in pet scams. Apparently, more and more prospective pet owners are looking for pets online (particularly purebred domestic animals or "exotic" pets such as monkeys). And scammers are taking advantage of this. Not only are there plenty of prospective victims, the fact that an adorable, helpless animal is supposedly involved helps give the scammer leverage. The amounts they scam are often smallish, which also helps the scammer find success.
There have been a multitude of Contact Us form queries asking about scams involving the purchase of bulldogs, purebred kittens, capuchin monkeys and yorkies. We also have a very extensive forum thread dealing with pet scams. They include a mix of cats, dogs, and monkeys supposedly for sale or adoption, and most of them come from Cameroon. http://www.fraudwatchers.org/forums/...2426#post22426
Be aware that *any* offer of an animal, free or for sale, from Cameroon is not legitimate. The animal export laws there are currently restrictive enough that not even a common domestic animal can be easily shipped out of the country.
Please consider the following points before even considering looking for a pet online.
First, beware of bargains in parachutes and pets. Pet ownership is expensive. If you cannot afford a purebred animal from a known reputable breeder or owner, perhaps you need to reconsider whether you can afford to own a pet at all. Pets require ongoing feeding, grooming and veterinary care. Purebreds often have specific health problems that make proper veterinary care even more vital. This applies double to "exotic pets" such as monkeys. Are you willing to purchase and care for a pet? Are you willing and able to set aside the money required to properly
care for it? Are you willing to make the multi-year commitment to the animal for the duration of its life? Animals are not toys to be discarded when you're tired of playing with them.
Needless to say, most of us feel it is not a very good idea to purchase ANY pet online. Even if the sale or adoption is not a scam, it's generally not fair to the animal. No animal should have to be shipped like a piece of luggage from a foreign country or distant state in an unheated airplane cargo hold, without food or water. Also, any pet adoption should involve the owner actually meeting the pet, seeing the environment in which it was previously kept, meeting the caretakers, and seeing, personally, that the pet is healthy, well cared for, comes from a good environment, and has a personality and temperament that fits in well with the family in which they will be living. This goes for everything from a kitten adopted from your local pound to a purebred bulldog or yorkie purchased from a breeder. If all prospective pet owners did this, it would cut down enormously on the number of pets that get dumped at shelters because they were not a "good fit" and poor breeding environments, like kitten and puppy mills. I would urge you to visit a pet store or local animal shelter if you are seriously looking for a pet. There are thousands of animals looking for a home, available for adoption for free or very low fees. There's truly no need to go looking for pets online.
I would also take a moment to mention, specifically, pet monkeys and similar exotic pets. I would urge people thinking of taking in a primate to educate themselves about pet monkeys. I believe if you do so, you will completely reconsider the idea and abandon it. For one thing, if you attempt to purchase a pet capuchin monkey (or any primate), you will almost certainly be breaking the law, likely twice over. The import of monkeys as pets is illegal in both the United States and Canada. There is also the high probability that your local laws prohibit the keeping of an exotic pet of this nature where you live.
Finally, from a practical point of view, monkeys do not make good pets, regardless of what you've seen on television or in movies. Monkeys are social animals that need to socialize with others of their kind. Living with people is not the same thing. Primates can have life spans of twenty to forty years, so they are not
a short term commitment. Only four to six months of that will be the infant stage. They will, not might, will
become aggressive when they reach adulthood. They can be immensely destructive when bored, and they will get bored when left alone.
Their bites can cause serious injury, even removing human fingers. They are susceptible to many of the same illnesses that people are. They cannot be permanently toilet trained. A single vet visit, assuming you can even find a vet near you that deals with primates, will cost several hundred dollars. Many owners end up dropping them at overburdened sanctuaries because they cannot afford to keep them or are unwilling to deal with the nineteen years of unpleasantness that comes after the six months of cuteness. Unless you happen to be trained in primate care or are primate experts, it's very unlikely that you would be able to give a pet monkey the environment and care it deserves. Any pet monkey you were to buy would have been removed, forcibly, from its mother, long before it is ready to live on its own.
I would urge anyone considering the idea to reconsider acquiring a pet monkey. Animal experts simply do not recommend these animals as pets. http://www.honoluluzoo.org/pets.htm
There are thousands of pets just waiting at animal shelters, ready to be adopted and loved. Many shelters have adopt-a-thons, where the cost of adopting an animal is greatly reduced or even waived. If you simply MUST have a purebred animal, organizations like http://www.1-800-save-a-pet.com/
can help you find specific breeds up for adoption in your area. It's truly a shame that hundreds of "unwanted" animals are destroyed every day while poorly run breeding operations or scammers with nothing more than photographs make a profit. While you can find reputable breeders online, the pitfalls of purchasing a pet solely
online mean prospective pet owners must take care and do their homework.