Regardless of how you feel about the African puppy adoption, I do not believe you've paid enough attention to the available details of the project if you are trying to call this a scam.
They are legitimate researchers. They have been working on this for years. I have read their publications before in peer-reviewed research journals, and their latest findings are regularly cited, discussed, and debated by scientists (note that they are far out of my own field, but I do try to pay attention to peer-reviewed research that I find accessible to my own level of understanding – which they do aim to provide).
Here's the latest lab page for Adam Boyko:
You can check out his CV on that page, which includes live links to various published research going all the way back to 2004 (though not necessarily all on dogs).
At this point, it doesn't look like they're going to raise the $8K through this Petridish site, but you'll see from the list of awards and grants that their projects have already received that this is a drop in the bucket.
Anyway, point taken that one should do their own research on any organization, group, or individual before deciding to contribute.