Woman says she was scammed in puppy deal

BATESVILLE, Miss. — A Batesville woman is being called out on social media for allegedly using her puppy as bait in a scam.

A brown and white Shih Tzu puppy seemed like the perfect gift for Morgan Finnan's 3-year-old son.

"It's sickening really, how you can go to sleep at night knowing that you did this to people," she said.

Finnan says she got a picture of the puppy she was promised after she sent $100 to Kim Gray.

"Buying a pet is an emotional thing. The crooks know that, so they play on your emotions by showing you pictures," Nancy Crawford, with the Better Business Bureau, said.

Crawford says people like pulling the heart strings, and pets make that easy to do.

"They get you emotionally attached to the pet and then get money out of you for a pet that doesn't exist," she said.

Finnan says Gray also used a hard-luck story to milk her for school supplies for her daughter. She says Gray shared her struggles over social media when they were supposed to be talking about the puppies.

"I immediately felt sorry for her, so I told my mom and we got stuff for her," Finnan said.

Things only came to a head when the dog mysteriously died. Then the clothes, shoes and school supplies Finnan got for Gray's daughter showed up for sale online.

"I messaged her on Sunday. She says, 'I forgot to tell you they passed away.' I asked her to send me my money back. She said, 'No. I  have a policy," Finnan said.

That left the stay-at-home mom without a dog or the money she paid for it.

WREG found out the picture was even fake. Gray apparently found it online.

Gray called WREG to clear her name.

"It was a picture I got off the internet of what the puppy's color would be. I did that, because I don't mess with the puppies when they are born," she said.

She says the picture may have been borrowed, but the puppies are real.

"The puppies died. They contracted an infection through the mother's milk."

Finnan posted her puppy nightmare on social media and now has a whole band behind her.

People say they've been duped by Gray in similar ways.

Grays responded by saying, "I've not conned anybody for nothing."

She says she plans on refunding Finnan's money.

Finnan says she hopes the Sheriff's Office will pursue fraud charges.

The Better Business Bureau says it received nearly 1,000 pet scam reports last year.