Owners of lost pets being scammed by criminals claiming to work for Cobb Animal Services

An image of a fishhook capturing a wallet and credit card, with the label scams and scammers above

There is never a shortage of criminals preying on the hope, grief and tragedy of vulnerable people.

Cobb County reports that a new scam is making the rounds.

Scammers in Cobb are targeting pet owners who post on social media about their lost pets. These scammers pretend to be Cobb County Animal Services supervisors and claim to have found the missing pets, stating that the pets are injured.

The criminal then demands payment for treatment of the injuries before releasing the pet.

Animal Services in Cobb will never ask for payment over the phone to release a found pet. While a small fee may be required when the owner retrieves the pet from the shelter, county officers will not ask for payment upfront.

The scammers have been manipulating caller ID to make it seem like the call is from Cobb Animal Services and even use the name of the shelter manager.

As a result, legitimate calls from the shelter may now arouse suspicion from pet owners.

Animal Services Director Steve Hammond expressed sympathy for the victims and acknowledged the negative impact that this scam has on trust in legitimate calls from the shelter.

“It makes it difficult for us, but if we do end up finding those animals, then the owners will have received two calls,” Hammond said in the article posted on the county website.  “We’re upset with it because it takes away from the good work our team is doing every day.”

Video about the scam from Cobb County’s YouTube Channel

About Cobb County Animal Services

Cobb County Animal Services is part of the county’s Department of Public Safety.

The unit was created in 1971, and is currently under the leadership of Director Stephen Hammond.

According to the Cobb County Animal Services website:

The mission of the Cobb County Animal Services Unit is to enforce state laws and county ordinances pertaining to animal control and management; educate the community on responsible pet ownership and wildlife care and provide housing and care for homeless animals, while coordinating their adoptions when possible and humane euthanization when adoptions are not possible.

The shelter is directed by Jake Arnold, the Kennel Operations Manager, and two kennel supervisors. 

The veterinary operation is directed by  Dr. Amy Belew, and has two main functions: to spay and neuter a majority of the animals that are adopted from Cobb County Animal Services, and to treat sick or injured animals that are brought to the shelter.