Let's face it, not everyone out there in the world is honest and upstanding. In fact, some people are downright quick to deprive you of your hard-earned money or property under threat of doing worse. From time to time, we find ourselves buying or selling dogs, which can make us targets for these type of folks. Lets talk about that...
Dog buy gone wrong
In Dekalb County, Georgia last week, a man selling a puppy on Craigslist, a free online classifieds service, got an offer that was too good to refuse. A buyer was so excited about the dog that he offered an extra $500 for the pup. Jumping at the chance, he met the would-be new dog owner at an address at midnight.
What could go wrong, right?
Thing went bad right off the bat when at the meet, a man pointed a gun at the seller and demanded that he get out of the car. The dog owner told police that as he exited the car, he pulled out his own gun and fired it, killing the robber. It turned out the dog breeder brought a buddy as well as a Glock, just in case he needed it.
Good thing he did, too.
Now this incident involved bulldogs and not beagles, but hey, it can happen to any of us. Criminals have extensively used online classifieds ads, both in this case as a buyer and in other cases as a seller to lure unsuspecting citizens to their doom.
10 Things you can do to keep safe
- When setting up a meet with someone you don't know to buy or sell a dog, try to do it in daylight hours. While yes, you may want to get it taken care of tonight while the deal is fresh, try to put it off until your next off day. Remember, if it is a set up, they will more than likely have a "too good to be true" offer on the table that is set to expire in minutes...so take crawfishing over doing the sale tomorrow or this weekend as a red flag.
- Public places are ideal. What you want is lots of cars and other people around. A crook wants as few witnesses and potential heroes as possible. Think large department store or grocery store parking lots, truck stops, and other areas with lots of traffic.
- Choose the spot. If they give you an address out in the middle of nowhere followed by some sketchy directions, you should turn that around and pick your own place, saying you aren't good with directions, have a moody truck, and don't want to get too far off the highways, whatever.
- When you get to the meeting point, if they show up without the dog and want to take you to it, especially in their vehicle, decline for whatever reason.
- Avoid having people come to your home. Even if the dog deal goes great, you are still inviting a stranger in. About ten years ago a good friend of mine had someone come by his house to look at a redbone (he's a raccoon guy) he was selling. The deal feel through and they parted amicably. Well, two days later his kennel was broken into while he was at work and three of his dogs were stolen. When he gave the local sheriff's office the 'buyers' phone number, it turned out to be a prepaid that was no longer in operation.
- Take a friend. Just like in our example story at the beginning of this article brought along a friend. Remember, if you are alone you are walking into a potential fight with no one watching your back. Bringing along another adult, especially a capable one, doubles the bad guy's risk-- that is a good thing for you.
- Consider going armed. If you have a concealed carry permit, use it. If not, check your state and local laws about having a loaded handgun in your vehicle. Remember, no one wants to get in a shootout over a dog, but desperate criminals seeking an easy target do desperate things, and self-defense is a priority.
- If armed, only use your firearm to defend yourself and others with you. A defensive gun use can still lead to a ton of liability both criminal and civil.
- Tell someone about the meeting. A friend, family member, or neighbor should know where you are going, whom you are meeting, and when to expect to hear back from you. Let them know what to do if they don't. This isn't to scare skittish kin, or make people think you lead a dangerous life, so tell someone who is reliable, but also low-key.
- When you get there, if you get that feeling on the back of your neck that something is wrong, just keep driving.
In the end, we aren't trying to scare you, just keep you safe out there.
We have to protect our community, after all.