St. George police warns of scam targeting pet owners looking for missing animal
Sep 20, 2023, 10:52 PM | Updated: Sep 21, 2023, 7:27 am
ST. GEORGE — It has been six weeks since pet owner Scott Donnachie has seen his beloved cat George. When his 5-year-old tabby cat went missing, he went straight to social media for help.
“I posted on several local pet Facebook pages with my phone number,” he said. “I obviously don’t hide it. I want people to be able to contact me.”
So, when he got a call from a number he did not recognize, he picked up immediately.
“Somebody called and said they had found George and that they were calling from St. George Animal Shelter. It was on a Saturday evening I believe, and they said you can come and get him on Monday, but we need you to pay for veterinary services,” Donnachie said.
New to this process he began asking questions about the cost to get his cat back.
“They said they needed $200. They said, ‘It’s $60 for this, $80 for that and it was $35 for this,’ and you know it sounded pretty legitimate,” he said.
St. George police said this was the work of scammers. They believe the culprits got Donnachie’s contact info from his social media posts about his cat.
“It’s really cruel, it’s very cruel,” said officer Tiffany Mitchell, St. George Police Department spokesperson. “We know in St. George just yesterday, we had about a dozen people who’ve received these calls. Thankfully, none of them sent over the money.”
Donnachie said the same scammer contacted him again three weeks after the initial call with the same request. He was able to get information from that interaction and provide it to police. He has since posted the scammer’s number to warn others. He just hopes this doesn’t deter people from asking for help finding their pets.
“Be careful, but have faith in humanity, because there are a lot of great people out there willing to help you,” he said.
Donnachie is still looking for his cat George, who is microchipped. If you have seen the animal, call him at 330-272-4015.