Cass County Sheriff's office warn of online cat scam
Victims from several states claim to have purchased cats from breeders in Leonard, North Dakota that do not exist.
The Cass County Sheriff’s Office is assisting in an investigation into a scam involving the fraudulent sale of purebred cats.
Sheriff Jesse Jahner says victims from Washington State, Michigan, New York and Florida all report purchasing cats from breeders claiming to be located in Leonard, North Dakota. Prices of the cats ranged from $550 to $2,500, and included breeds like Maine Coon, Scottish Fold and Munchkin. Jahner says the Florida victim called the mayor of Leonard to ask about the breeder when they grew suspicious of the business. But none of the suspected breeders were actually located in Leonard.
Detective Joseph Gress is an investigator in the case. He says he used text and images from one website a victim used to purchase a cat to locate several others with similar or identical content.
"I took some of the more unique facets of the Pure Maine Coon website, and did searches. That's how I found Fold Kitti; they have the same health guarantee, with the exception of how long the guarantee is for. The websites aren't very well made because in both of these websites, their health guarantees protect cats against canine coronavirus and canine distemper. I've checked with veterinarian's offices, and that's just not something cats are susceptible to. These websites do appear to have the same content, and I've found other websites they've stolen verbiage off of as well."
Gress says it’s not unusual for anyone to purchase a purebred pet from a breeder located several states away. But he says it’s also a good idea to ask for references or call local law enforcement or veterinary clinics to determine a breeder’s legitimacy. Gress also says the websites can appear legitimate, but paying close attention to spelling errors and even health guarantees from other states can raise red flags.
Gress and Jahner say so far, no victims from Cass County or North Dakota have come forward.
The supposed breeders in question are Pure Maine Coon Cattery (www.puremainecoon.com), Fold Kitti (www.foldkitti.com), Munchkin Cat Cattery and Danfo Kittens.