Fraud Alerts/PSAs

June 9, 2017: Scammers Can Tug at an Animal Lover’s Heart and Wallet

The image of a sad puppy in a cage at a shelter will inspire many animal lovers to donate money to rescue organizations but scammers may be preying on their compassion.

In the animal shelter scam, crooks will post pictures of the animals with false information about “high kill” shelters and imminent death unless they immediately receive money to rescue the pets.

Consumers may be contacted on social media, email, phone or U.S. mail seeking donations to rescue an animal.  In one common scam, fraudsters post old pictures of animals or that are not in our region or local shelters and indicate they are legitimate charities when they are not. 

The money raised by scammers doesn’t go to the care of the animal, sheltering agencies or to the adopting party or organization. 


  • Verify that the organization or individual soliciting funds is a legitimate 501(C)3 charitable group
  • Double check that the animal exists, where it is housed and the true extent of its needs
  • Ask the sheltering agency what help already has been provided to the animal and whether it really is at risk of being put to sleep

Deputy District Attorney Jessie McGrath from the Consumer Protection Division explains the scam in this video:

Report fraud to the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at (800) 593-8222 or

Follow @LADAOffice on Twitter and Instagram for up-to-date news and use #FraudFriday.