Online scam targets dog rescue in San Francisco


A dog rescue group in San Francisco is warning people of an online scam targeting people seeking to adopt pets.

Family Dog Rescue executive director Ilsa Jule said the nonprofit has been around for 11 years.

She says the scam involves someone stealing information directly from the organization’s website.

The rescue group is located in the Bayview district.

Jule says there is a demand for dogs during the pandemic.

“It’s difficult to get an appointment to see them because everyone wants a dog because everyone is at home,” said Brian Gougherty, who was looking for a dog to adopt.

Jule shows KTVU a website called “Hark Town Rescure”, noting that “rescue” is misspelled.

He claims the founder of Family Dog Rescue, a breast cancer survivor, is its founder.

“I was like wow, it’s low. Smart of them, but it’s low,” Jule said.

She says the site lists dogs that belong to Family Dog Rescue, “They just took all of our content. They took our request.”

Jule attributes the scam alert to Sandra Theesfeld of Iowa.

Theesfeld says she was about to pay $ 375 to adopt a dog through someone logged into the Hark Town website.

But she says she became suspicious when asked to pay before she got the dog.

“No paperwork. No, nothing. It was a huge signal. Give us the money. Give us the money,” Theesfeld said.

She and her husband did more research and learned that the founder listed on the Hark Town rescue site with an address in Brooklyn, New York, is actually the founder of Family Dog Rescue in San Francisco.

“I was heartbroken. I was already in love with this puppy,” says Theesfeld.

As for Gougherty, who was at Family Dog Rescue to meet a dog he was considering adopting, “I would definitely meet the dog, see the place and then give them some money, but not before.”

Family Dog Rescue urges people who are considering adopting a dog to be patient.

And if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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