A growing number of complaints in Alberta, Canada, have local police and the SPCA investigating fraudulent sales of shaved cats. And as strange as that sounds, it kind of makes sense.
A hairless Sphynx, the breed these cats are being advertised as, can sell for around $1,000. Shayla Bastarche, who purchased two of the counterfeit cats in a gas station parking lot, owns two genuine Sphynx felines-the most recent with a pricetag of $1,500.
So when Shayla saw a CraigsList ad selling Sphynx cats for a mere $650, she bought two. Other buyers have reported paying up to $700 for the shaved felines.
And since shaving any breed of house-cat (and plucking its whiskers) results in a passable Sphynx, it's surprising this scam hasn't become popular elsewhere.
One of the people who paid $700 for a fake Sphynx was JoAnne Dyck. She sold her faux Sphynx, Vlad, to a third party after the animal failed to settle in and fought with her other (genuine) Sphynx cats. She told CBC news, “I thought he was crying for his mom, but he probably was in pain.”
“Me and her [the third party] talked back and forth the next couple of days about him, because he wasn’t seeming to really calm down. And she took him into the vet and the vet said the cuts on his skin were most likely caused by razor burn or Nair or something like that,” said JoAnne.
While Vlad has made a full recovery and still lives with the woman who purchased him from JoAnne, cuts on his tail from being shaved became so infected prior to his vet visit that he narrowly avoided amputation.
Hence, the SPCA's involvement. While criminal charges for the fraud may result in a slap on the wrist, the person (or persons) responsible could also be charged with causing an animal distress, a crime that carries a maximum fine of $20,000.
More fraudulent cats are being identified within a couple weeks of their purchase, as their fur begins to grow back.
Holly Rattray put an ad on Kijiji in search of a hairless kitten and was contacted by a man who called himself Tim. After communicating by email and text, Holly agreed to meet a friend of Tim's in a Red Deer parking lot to make the exchange.
According to Holly, Tim's friend seemed to be in a hurry, agreed to $550 instead of the asking price of $700, and quickly drove off. It wasn't until later that Holly noticed the nicks and cuts on the kitten.
"It's an unbelievable thing that someone would do this," said Holly, "We basically just had this kitten thrown at us that was totally, like, mutilated and sliced up."
While it may be an expensive lesson, authorities are taking this opportunity to remind prospective pet owners of the value of adoption. And for those planning to purchase a specific breed, it's probably best to contact a reputable vendor-and avoid buying anything (live or not) in a gas station parking lot.Source: People | Cbc | Boredpanda