Friday, April 27, 2007

Those Wacky Japanese

I saw this story from, and it made me chuckle. Firstly, I don't know how someone would mistake a sheep for a dog. I mean, when you went to pick it up you should have seen the thing was very much not a dog. Not even close. But then again, urban dwellers in Japan may not have much contact with sheep, so it's plausible that they would make this mistake.

A tip of my hat to the scam artists that pulled this off, though. It's a ballsy move to scam people in such a brazen manner. The jig is now up, and these guys are likely long gone, but it was a good graft. With poodles going for so much in that country this was both enterprising and very cunning (if not a great deal dishonest).

Japanese fooled in poodle scam

Friday April 27, 2007
Japanese poodle (AAP)

Thousands of Japanese have been swindled in a scam in which they were sold Australian and British sheep and told they were poodles.

Flocks of sheep were imported to Japan and then sold by a company called Poodles as Pets, marketed as fashionable accessories, available at $1,600 each.

That is a snip compared to a real poodle which retails for twice that much in Japan.

The scam was uncovered when Japanese moviestar Maiko Kawamaki went on a talk-show and wondered why her new pet would not bark or eat dog food.

She was crestfallen when told it was a sheep.

Then hundreds of other women got in touch with police to say they feared their new "poodle" was also a sheep.

One couple said they became suspicious when they took their "dog" to have its claws trimmed and were told it had hooves.

Japanese police believe there could be 2,000 people affected by the scam, which operated in Sapporo and capitalised on the fact that sheep are rare in Japan, so many do not know what they look like.

"We launched an investigation after we were made aware that a company were selling sheep as poodles," Japanese police said, the The Sun reported.

"Sadly we think there is more than one company operating in this way.

"The sheep are believed to have been imported from overseas - Britain, Australia."

Many of the sheep have now been donated to zoos and farms.