Warning: Pet Flipping on the Rise

Friday, July 19, 2013 - 2:00pm
Blue leash on the ground

A disturbing new trend—“pet flipping”—has been getting a lot of attention this week.

Pet flipping involves a criminal picking up a pet, either by stealing the animal or claiming to be the pet parent of a missing pet, and then quickly selling the animal for a profit. Is your blood boiling yet? It gets worse!

According to Time, pet flipping is on the rise in cities including Kansas City, St. Louis and Indianapolis. The stolen dogs are often purebred and very valuable. In March, an Indianapolis man was arrested after a three-month investigation found he had been stealing dogs for years, mostly purebred German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Pit Bulls. 

“Many of these pets are housed in puppy mill-like conditions until they can be flipped—no food or water, caged and sick,” Dawn Contos, of Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, said in an interview following the arrest.

For tips on finding a lost pet, please visit our pet care section.

We'll be on Katie on Monday, July 22 to talk about pet flipping. Check your local listings and tune in!

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I am glad about this but have other concerns. I am an owner of a pet store pet. The reason i purchased my dog is because i have gotten dogs from shelters before, but I always experienced problems. One dog was adopted with a clean bill of health years ago, but a week later was sick. I took him back to be treated and was told he had some illness and had to be put to sleep never to return home. My son was six then and he still talks about that at 22. Thee other dog was not the breed i was told he was and had severe abuse issues and was a threat to my children. I could not leave him in the same room with them. I ended up giving him to my grandmother because her pet of 15 years had passed, but she had a very large home and yard with no other pets. They were very happy and they both passed the same year. My concern is because you ban pet stores does not stop puppy mills from breeding puppies. Those puppies will still be in danger and suffer more because there will be no market for them. They will end up in shelters anyway or killed because people like puppies and are less proned to want a full grown dog. Maybe the focus should be legalizing the puppy mills and regulating them for maintenance and safety and quality of care requiring a higher standard of care for each animal that would assure the proper space and health requirements and breeding are available and requiring breeders and owners to have certifications and training. I am not suggesting that dogs from puppy mills di not get sick they are more proned because of the unsanitary conditions and the conditions thier parents may be in but at least a pet store gives you a chance to return the puppy an they usually provide some medical care and follow-up weeks after the purchase where some breeders, once you pay for the pet you do not have that option with most of them. I would prefer the puppy go to a good home than be put down because of the options tht are not available. It is also more likely a person who pays for a pet will take better care of it than one that is adopted. There are several loving pet homes out there, but there are some real monsters out there who think pets a dispensable. especially if they are free or low cost.


That's a very lame reason to not get a pet from a shelter. I have a wonderful dog that I got from the shelter 2 years ago. He just turned 7. Shame on you for slamming dogs that people get at shelters!


Janice my shelter dog is the best dog ive ever had and LOVES kids.. And i fell in love with him with his pic on the shelters website. Just picked him up and he was mine. sure he had some issues like with separation and anxiety but thats normal for some shelter dogs. but 8mths later and hes bout out of all that.


I cannot imagine buying a puppy from a store. All my fur babies, except one, have been rescues - both canine and feline. I bought a Rotti puppy from a friend in 1992 and then spent over $8000 in extraordinary care because of congenital illnesses. I learned a lesson the hard way and lost my beautiful girl when she was 9 yo. As much as I love my friends, they were back yard breeders and my baby girl paid the ultimate price.

My 9 yo 32lb rescued mixed breed that I have now is like the reincarnation of the best of all the dogs I have had in my life. He is a an absolute joy and the light of my life. Next year I plan to adopt a little girl rescue because my heart has so much room for more fur babies.


You go Chris, keep lovinthose fur-babies, tey give a whole lot more tan they receive.


I so agree with the not imagining buying a pet. The only money you should spend to get a fur baby is the adoption and or shots and spay/neuter costs! I cannot reasonably see why anyone would value pets like this. They are simply is a life, which is in turn, invaluable!!!! Breeders should be stopped until all shelters are empty!!!! I do not agree with buying puppies, cats, or any pet for that matter! Adopt, adopt, adopt!!!! It is the only right way!!!! <3 <3 <3


Wouldn't it be great if breeders took a break until the shelters are empty. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks that way! There are so many great dogs in shelters and rescues. Though rescues charge a bit more they are still worth it...:)


nice idea but people want puppies its just the same as adopting people want to adopt a baby not a five year old. I have seen people who have made concoctions with a two or three year old dog they could have and not pay for but chose to go get a puppy and pay for it. People want puppies and they aren't always happy with them as they get older that's why they end up in shelters. I don't see the sense of passing up a dog that shows you that you are important to them for a puppy but people do it and that's why breeding will not stop because of the demand for puppies.


Not true, Tory. not all folks want puppies. I, for one, always adopt older dogs from shelters. If you love dogs you want to help them, and to me, they're ALL beautiful little souls. All they need is a chance. If you want to get rid of a family member for some minor reason, then don't get a dog. Get a stuffed animal.


Wouldn't it be in the best interest of animals if rescues would stop enabling millions of irresponsible people to throw animals away like garbage? Place the blame properly..Rescues, supporting Millions of unacceptable reasons to dump animals among a few necessary ones, for decades. The very definition of a Pet Flipper is: A person or persons/entity that acquires a pet(s) for the sole purpose of selling them for more than the cost of acquiring them. Good intentions are meaningless, the impact of your actions are what matters. Rescues, accepting your "garbage" for tax free surrender donations, regular donations, and adoption donations, all for the purpose of "saving" them from intentional euthania from the very people unwilling to care for them. You want to "get rid of it?", Great, we'll sell it! Oops-we mean "we'll save it"