Puppy scam victim shares story

dog (generic)
Posted at 11:47 PM, Feb 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-06 19:06:04-05

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL)--A woman sharing her story of deception.

She was looking to add a new member to her family but says she was taken advantage by an online puppy scam in Valdosta.

Shana Jones who lives in Oklahoma was scammed out of nearly $2,000.

She wants to get the word out so others don't fall victim.

"I'm frustrated," said Jones. "I feel stupid I didn't look into it a little bit more. My kids were completely heartbroken."

This is the puppy Shana Jones thought she bought from a breeder in Valdosta but it really never existed.

"You want to take that face value that there's not people out there like this," said Jones.

Shana Jones says she was hoping to get a good deal on a female french bulldog, when she came across a now defunct web site called

She emailed the contact listed on the web site. She says she soon began communicating through email and was told to send the money for the puppy through western union.

She says she made the payment to Shari Bell, who was later arrested in Valdosta for the scam.

"When I couldn't contact them and they weren't taking my calls that's when i got a gut instinct you know something wasn't right," said Jones.

Besides the possibility of becoming a victim, animal advocates say when you order dogs online you don't know what you might get.

"You could end up with a very sick puppy or you could end up with a very different puppy than you agreed to purchase," said Cori Menkin, ASPCA's Senior Director of the puppy mills campaign.

They say online puppy scams have become growing problem across the country.

"If a breeder is willing to ship you a puppy without ever having met you without you ever having met the puppy you should walk away from that transaction," said Menkin.

Jones is know hoping others learn from her mistake, urging you to recognize the red flags, and recognize if a deal is too good to be true.

Animal advocates say always check references when buying a pet and always pick your puppy up at the kennel never have it shipped.

Valdosta Police say never send money to an unknown source.