I was caught in a puppy scam

The search for companionship during the pandemic means puppy scams are more lucrative than ever.

Vidhya Ravi
8 min readDec 29, 2020


I thought it was funny that everyone wanted to adopt a dog during the pandemic. I adopted my first dog, Leela, nearly 12 years ago. Since I already had Leela, I felt lucky I wasn’t in the mad rush of people calling rescues, joining waitlists, hoping that they would find a dog within a few weeks, all to train it and spend some time with it before being called back to their offices full time. But then something happened — my dad’s dog passed away unexpectedly and suddenly several weeks ago.

Shanthi, my dad’s Japanese Chin, during her younger years

My dad’s dog, Shanthi, was a purebred Japanese Chin gifted to him nearly ten years ago, and she meant everything to him. There wasn’t a place he wouldn’t take her. Since retiring and spending his days at home and in the garden, Shanthi was his companion and probably his emotional support pet — even if we hadn’t gone as far as officially certifying her as such.

Overnight, I was in the market for a new dog — and not just any dog, but a purebred, female, black/white Japanese Chin.

I started with an internet search, which didn’t turn up too much. It did lead me to petfinder.org, where I came across a vague listing that took me to a strange website featuring Japanese Chin puppies. The site seemed odd — all the pictures looked like stock images and were sourced from different places. There were no pictures of the parent dogs, no links to pedigrees or health testing. Despite feeling like something was off, I filled out the contact form to find out if they had any puppies available. They did!

Site Link — https://handbfarm.com/index.html

They had one female Japanese Chin 11 week old puppy available for $800, and it could be shipped to me overnight.

It was too good to be



Vidhya Ravi

UX Researcher | Family Travel Planner | Dog Lover