If your myth detector is beeping, it's for very good reason. No sooner had this story made the international rounds than some news outlets began reporting that The Sun -- not always the most, er, reliable of sources -- had apparently gotten the facts entirely wrong. As it turns out, Ms. Kawakami never claimed to have purchased one of the animals herself, but told a story on a talk show about a friend who supposedly did and learned only after taking her "dog" to a veterinarian that it wasn't a dog at all (cf. "The Mexican Pet"). Police say they've never heard of the scam, nor the company alleged to have sold the pets, nor have any other "victims" come forward. And, for the record, few Japanese would have any difficulty at all distinguishing a sheep from a poodle.
"Tall stories are common on Japanese talk shows and their authenticity is not carefully checked," notes ninemsn reporter Shaun Davies. It would appear the same can be said for The Sun.
• Ewe've Been Conned Ladies - The Sun
• Media Flock to Report on Japanese Poodle Scam - Cerebral Soup
• Dog-Sheep Swap Scam or Sham - AAP
• Poodle Scam Story a Hoax - ninemsn
• Perhaps We Shouldn't Have Been So Quick with the Lamb-Poodle Stories - USA Today