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Keep Houston Press Free
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The Curious Incident of the Dog on the Internet

So you’re sitting around, chewin’ on ways other than murder or kidnapping to get into Hell, when it hits you: Why not go onto a bunch of pet Web sites and advertise a cute little puppy you have no intention of delivering? Heck, the thing doesn’t even need to exist. You can just get some out-of-state schmuck to wire you the cash, and bam! They’re screwed. Bonus Hell points if you do this around the holidays.

It can happen on sites like www.terrificpets.com, which warns consumers and even posts the e-mail addies of alleged scammers. But it looks like Jennifer Irish of Michigan was too distracted by this guy to exercise common sense.

Irish, a single mom of twin girls, says she wired $1,300 to a Mary Hernandez in Houston to buy the English bulldog puppy for her girls. Irish saved some of her e-mails with Hernandez, who wrote stuff like “I will prepare to send Ricky as soon as we receive payment, but don’t delay as I have many inquiries about him…”

Irish provided a Moneygram receipt of $1,300 paid to Mary Hernandez. She also provided Hernandez’s phone number. Hernandez also gave Irish an address on Jura Drive. Turns out it’s a nonexistent street number. But a quick online search did turn up a Mary Hernandez on Jura Drive. Hernandez hung up when the Houston Press asked about the puppy, and she failed to return numerous calls.

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“I usually use pretty good judgment and feel pretty stupid I fell for this,” Irish wrote in an e-mail. “….A lesson hard-learned; $1,300 is a good amount of money to me.”

But there’s a somewhat happy ending. Irish wound up buying a real golden retriever puppy for her girls. The family named him Jazz.

In case anyone’s interested in seeing if Ricky, the English bulldog, is still for sale, Mary Hernandez can be reached at 832-632-7000. – Craig Malisow

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