Jeneece Edroff is in seventh heaven.
For the last few days, the 24-year-old has been enjoying the company (and kisses) of her new service dog, Loki, a 10-week-old tri-coloured Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Since getting the puppy from a breeder in Kamloops over the weekend, the duo have become inseparable.
“Just in the few days I’ve had him, he’s made my life a lot better. He makes me laugh and smile. He’s just a ball of joy,” laughed Jeneece, the ‘Penny Girl’ who raised more than $1.5 million through penny drives to help children in B.C., and for whom Jeneece’s Place at the Victoria General Hospital is named after.
|Jeneece Edroff gets playoff with her new puppy, Loki. Last week, Jeneece fell victim to an elaborate puppy scam. (Contributed photo)|
But a week ago, things weren’t looking so bright.
Jeneece had been searching for a new service dog – specifically a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – for the past few months, when her mother Angie stumbled across an online ad advertising the type of puppies they were looking for.
Jeneece and Angie communicated with the person for some time through text messages . He even asked questions such as what type of house they live in, is it fenced in, do they have a veterinarian and what’s the vet’s name – all questions that reputable breeders ask potential dog owners. The man then said he had two puppies in Halifax because his sister, who was breeding them, passed away. He wasn’t looking to sell them, but give them away to a nice home.
The pair was told Broadway Shipping International would be responsible for shipping the two puppies to the Victoria International Airport. After contacting the shipping company through its website, Jeneece was asked to pay $700 to ship them to Victoria, as well as an additional $700 for shots and rental fees for a new specialized crate for them to travel in.
They sent the money through a local and reputable bank, and the man provided them with a tracking number, as well as an itinerary that corresponded with real flights. But when Jeneece, her mother and father arrived at the airport last Thursday morning, there were no dogs and they realized they had been scammed.
“It sickened me. I was so looking forward to having two puppies. I was so upset,” Jeneece said. “I was so disgusted that there are people out there that would do this to people every single day. It’s wrong.”
While things worked out for Jeneece in the end, the family hopes others in Greater Victoria won’t fall victim to the same scam.
“I thought I did enough due diligence to make sure it wasn’t a scam, but it wasn’t enough. It’s a lesson learned. It really makes you feel unsettled,” said Angie, adding they have reported the incident to local police, as well as Fraud Canada.
“If you’re going to buy dogs online, it’s got to be something local where you can actually see the dogs when you’re purchasing them.”