A local woman is trying to spread the word about the possibility of fake pet adoption ads on Craigslist after she paid hundreds of dollars for a dog she never received.

Gabby Mayfield said she thought she purchased a Labradoodle advertised for $500. She said she paid an additional $800 to have the dog shipped on an airplane from South Carolina to Jacksonville.

"I went on an online website that had reviews and a check-out page, so it didn't look like a typical Western Union transfer," Mayfield said.

Mayfield said she confronted the seller about the dog after it was never delivered to the Jacksonville International Airport. She was able to dispute the $800 fee with her credit card company, however, she was not able to get her entire purchase back.

"It was a hard lesson learned, it was a really hard month and really, I just wanted a dog after my yorkie had passed away because I was depressed but now I don't want to search anymore," she said.

There are tips to avoid becoming a victim when shopping for a dog:

  • Buy from a local seller, so you can visit their home and the dog.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions that validate the sell or adoption.
  • Don't wire-transfer or pay for any pet using Western Union or a checking account number.
  • Beware of cheap deals on breeds that are normally more expensive.

Anyone who believes they've come across a fake pet adoption advertisement, report the incident to the Better Business Bureau.