The Japanese poodle scam
- wherein thousands of gullible buyers were sold lambs instead of the dogs they were expecting - was first reported in UK Sun newspaper. The story went that rich women were buying cut-price poodles from a company named Poodles For Pets
, and were astonished to find later that they were sheep.
The story itself was immediately dubious (aside from being in The Sun, which tends to be somewhat lax in the fact-checking department), when you consider snippets like:
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.
The story unravelled
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.
when police in Sapporo, where the company was claimed to be based, said they had never heard of the scam. The talk-show story was not as it seemed, either. It appears that Kawakami had
told a story about a lamb being sold instead of a poodle. However, she'd said that it had happened to a friend of hers.
It seems that nobody had heard of the scam - it hadn't been reported in any Japanese newspapers.
The final nail in the coffin? The original article claims that the scam "capitalised on the fact that sheep are rare in Japan, so many do not know what they look like."
In fact, Sapporo has had a sheep farm since 1848.
Forum thread here