RUSSELL — An alleged online puppy-for-sale scam was shut down when Russell County OPP arrested 18-year-old Buckingham, Quebec, resident Briana Cote last month.
Criminally charged with Fraud under $5,000 and Obtaining by False pretence under $5,000, Cote is due to appear in court Jan. 27.
Russell County OPP say the accused received e-transfers of just under $900 in return for a puppy she had offered for sale on Kijiji. Before the scheduled pick-up date for the pup, the purchaser was advised the animal was no longer available and that their money would not be returned. Contacted by the detachment, the seller promised to refund the money by mid-December. Charges were laid when neither dollars nor dog was delivered by deadline.
Nation Valley News spoke to Mindy Stamper-Demers, who alleges she lost $1,200 to Cote after trying to buy a chocolate brown Labrador-Pitbull mix puppy born in late September. Stamper-Demers reported that she and others complained to the authorities after trying to buy puppies advertised on Facebook and Kijiji.
“We had been talking about getting a big dog for a long time now; our oldest son has been begging for one. We searched endlessly, as it’s really hard to find a puppy especially in Quebec right now where we live,” said Mindy Stamper-Demers. “We looked through rescues and most big dogs say no children under a certain age. I stumbled upon Briana’s ad and after talking to her, I felt like I could trust her. We prepared our home and our son for our puppy for 10 weeks. We were so excited to get our chocolate girl. She had a name, we bought a bunch of toys, food, beds, a custom made crate, everything. It broke our hearts when this happened. And it certainly ruined a lot of trust.”
Russell County OPP remind online buyers to use caution and to educate themselves on current frauds. Scammers continue to exploit people, and the OPP urges everyone to pause before sending any money, bitcoin or gift cards online. Always ask questions or conduct research and definitely check out a trusted source for information: