This, from my good friend Skye Puppy, who always has interesting things to say on topics as varied as right-wing (she would say "intelligent") politics to house painting to flaming bidets:
From the Brisbane Times, April 26, 2007
Thousands of Japanese have been swindled in a scam in which they were sold Australian and British sheep and told they were poodles, The Sun newspaper reported today.
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. ...
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.
The photo is a sheep disguised as a boxer, provided to me by a high-ranking law enforcement official who wishes to remain anonymous. This animal was confiscated in the bust of an earlier and less successful scammer. Dog buyers beware! If your new puppy spends most of his time grazing in the back yard, you might want to seek the opinion of a qualified veterinarian.
Warning: One of my faithful readers points out that this story has been debunked by Snopes, the internet site dedicated to dispelling urban legends and other electronic fakery.
A number of news organizations have repeated the story, including the Brisbane Times which I cited. So I've been had.
I frequently refer people to Snopes when they receive emails claiming that the White House is hiding aliens in the basement, and so on. This is a great example of how careful you have to be in the digital age. Wikipedia has been frequently compromised by hackers. Phishing sites have been constructed to fool people into thinking they are at a banking site when they are really being scammed out of their credit card numbers.
The bottom line? Be skeptical about what you read online.
Thanks, Cap'n, for the heads up.