Scammers swindling hundreds from desperate dog owners looking for missing pups

Scammers are lying to the owners of missing pups in Pierce County and swindling hundreds of dollars from them.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department warns that at least two victims fell for these trickster’s traps, and the department says there could be even more victims out there.

Dawniel Barday is one of the recent victims.

"It’s awful what they’re doing. I mean, and they’re good at it. They know exactly what to say and how to answer questions," she said.

Barday’s 14-year-old Yorkipoo, Chewbacca, has been missing for months. She says when she got a call about a week ago that someone had found her pup and that the dog was hurt, so she acted quickly.

"I’m scared for him. I was crying. ‘He got hit by a car.’ So I just paid the money they wanted. It was $1,700," she said.

But it was all a lie.

"We’re out there doing what we can to help the animals, to benefit the citizens and things like that, and then you have people out there claiming to be us. And it's kind of painting a bad light on us. So, it’s extremely frustrating," said Brian Boman, the Pierce County Animal Control supervisor. 

He says these fraudsters are making phony calls to people like Barday, claiming to be the vet or animal control, and stealing money from them.

Sgt. Darren Moss with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department says all the information the scammers need is on missing pet flyers. Moss says the crooks can spend all day trying different numbers, and even if they only get one or two victims, the thieves can still get away with hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Boman says animal control will never collect any money from anyone. He says if you’re facing a situation like this, do not let your emotions get the better of you.

"Find out if your animal was actually picked up by animal control. Call us directly. Call the vet they are claiming to be going to. Check with the humane society. See if their animal showed up at the humane society," said Boman.

Barday says she now is out $1,700 and still does not have her dog home with her.

"I’m heartbroken. I want my dog back so bad. I miss him so much. I’ve had him for 14 years, and he’s the love of my life," she said.