I was recently consulted in St. John's by a client seeking legal assistance to acquire two Shih Tzu puppy dogs. A photo of the two puppies promoted for "adoption" had been discovered, by her, on social media. (I much prefer the term "adoption" to commercial terms "sale" and "purchase" in advising about puppy acquisitions.)
When I am consulted about puppy dogs, my client is usually an estranged spouse disputing future ownership of puppies; or, someone willing to part company with upwards of $15,000.00 for purebred creature companionship; or, cohabiting couples needing mediation to settle naming rights. (In one instance, a couple eventually agreed I name the puppies. I did. Relying on The House At Pooh Corner (A.A. Milne, 1928), I chose "Tigger" and "Eeyore".)
On this occasion, my client was a pensioned lady, lifelong childless, and contemplating puppy adoption. She had learned, from texting, that the two puppies (male and female Shih Tzus) lived near Halifax, Nova Scotia, with a wife and husband seeking adopters for them. (My client needed only pay for shipping of one or both puppies, as she wished.) My client was informed that the wife's sister, the puppies' principal care-giver, had lately passed. The wife's spouse was taking up employment in western Canada. The wife was unable to care for the two puppies herself.
For almost an hour, the wife telephone-interviewed my client about the vocational and social backgrounds of her and her spouse. Examples: what is the landscaped and fenced area of your garden (for puppy recreation)? Will you ensure the puppy dogs are never left unattended? Can you financially afford veterinarian care (such as annual checkups, needles, and, if need be, surgeries)? What will be their diet? Will the puppies "share your pillow?". My client had substantial experience in puppy care. Her prior puppy, Prince, had to be euthanized last August, at age 12 years. That experience traumatized her.
The Nova Scotia wife, eventually, texted that she was "comforted" to know the welfare of one or both of "her babies" would be assured in "the custody" (and presumably, care and control) of my client. My client agreed to adopt both puppies. She preferred one puppy. But she could never pardon herself had she separated these two. They had, she was informed, been together since birth, 8 weeks earlier.
Next morning, the Nova Scotia wife (who, we determined later, was using a Portage La Prairie, MB number) telephoned my client and reported she had delivered the two puppies to Never Trust Shipping Network (not its advertised name) near Halifax International Airport, with purebred certificate and initial vaccination records in an envelope attached to each puppy's abdomen. My client was told that Never Trust was awaiting her telephone call to pre-arrange payment, to enable the puppies be flown from Halifax to St. John's same day. My client telephoned the shipper, Never Trust (whose number we subsequently traced to 20 California locations). The shipper asked for my client's Mastercard credit card number (including security code) to pay $650.00; the usual shipping tariff.
With considerable difficulty, I convinced my client not provide any credit card details. Rather, I advised her to offer, to Never Trust, shipping expense payment by means that, for my client, would be much more secure.
Never Trust's response to my client's offer was: "No can do. We only accept payment via Internet by Mastercard." (I note my senior (and exceptionally-vigilant) legal assistant of 24 years, Kelly Hall, discovered that Never Trust's elaborate Internet site included a form, festooned with puppy dog sketches, for entering credit card particulars.)
I prompted my client to ask Never Trust who would serve as carrier, from Halifax to St. John's, of the puppy dogs: Air Canada or WestJet. "Neither" was the reply. Rather, texted Never Trust, it owned planes "Never Trust Aviation" that flew puppy dogs into St. John's International Airport where Newfoundland and Labrador's chief medical queen doesn't require quarantine. What is more, the company boasted, its specially-upholstered and ventilated van in St John's awaited each flight, to ferry the (no doubt, jet-lagged) puppy dogs to customers. My client lives in rural Newfoundland. Never Trust told my client that a plane ticket was by now affixed to the neck of each puppy. The shipper cautioned, "the tickets can't be activated for travel until the shipping cost is paid." (This should prove revelatory to St. John's airport cargo specialists.)
For her part, my client fervently wanted to believe the shipper was a compassionate puppy service-provider. By now, however, I learned that Transport Canada has never authorized Never Trust Aviation -if ever there was such- to operate anywhere in Canada to deliver puppy dogs (or anything else).
My client articulated disbelief that so much effort had been invested by miscreants attempting to commit a $650.00 fraud. I advised her that the fraudsters were not so much interested in deceptively relieving her of $650.00. Instead, they were anxious to procure her credit card information for immediate, high-octane misuse.
Devastated, but much wiser, my client has resumed her anxious quest for a Shih Tzu puppy dog (or two) to love, cherish, and obey.
Attached photo: Prince Blackwood, 2008-2021
Submitted By: David Day