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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david Reeves

so you buy your dogs from puppy mills,,and as far as adopting a shelter dog your full of it,,, shelter dogs are great dogs,,i have one and getting ready to get another,,, I am sure some of the dogs you sell in your store have problems,,, a lot of puppy mill dogs are inbreed with lots of problems,,


Bridgette, your experiences were unfortunate but NOT indicative of shelter adoptions overall. "Pet Store" pets are statistically both less healthy and with far more genetic problems. I say "statistically" because even though they are sold as "purebreds," they really are not, and some turn out to be wonderful pets. But most have more issues than a shelter pet.
Remember that all shelters have staff that are minimum wage at best, sometimes only volunteers, and working in a shelter does NOT make them an animal expert any more than the genius selling you a pet in a pet store, and they will label a dog the closest breed they can get based just on what they know, see, or match to a chart on the wall. Most of the time they are wrong about the age and breed, and that is why YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING BEFORE ADOPTING ANY ANIMAL. The rest of your post is so disappointing and irresponsible and selfish I can't even respond to it.


I am glad you rescued a "pet store pet" that came with a "return policy" which reputable rescues, shelters, breeders, and private owners also offer. "Animal Control" is under staffed and funded don't see how they could inspect & enforce rules. We as pet lovers need to do this. "Monsters" exist every where


In college, I did studies on Adopting a pet vs. buying a pet from a pet store. I honestly don't even believe your comment should even be up on the website. I, before I knew better, bought my dog. She died three weeks later, turns out she was from a puppy mill. The pet store shut down and moved a few towns over. You shut down pet stores you shut down the demand of puppy mills. Maybe your should do the research I did.


Are you kidding me? I sure hope you don't sell many dogs in your "pet store" because there is NO way in heck you would know if the dogs are sick, if they have genetic problems or what conditions the dogs were in before they were dumped on you for profit...if the breeders would stop breeding people would feel a little better about taking their dog to a shelter...most arte afraid their dong will be PTS so try to rehome it themselves, you're part of the problem, you buy from puppy mills and then sell to dumbasses, that makes too many dogs for not enough homes. Please STOP being greedy and STOP selling puppies, kittens and rodents for profit.

Rescue shelter ...

I am 50 years old & have had dogs all my life. All adopted from shelters & only shelters. My Belgian shepherd mix-45 pounds lived 19 years-healthy until kidney failure on the 19th year. I have 3 dogs right now that all came from humane society or rescue shelters. I will not even buy a bone or any merchadise from any pet store that sells live animals. You are no different than breeders-its all about the profit & not the safety or well being of the animal.


I couldn't disagree with you more.


Pets from pet stores are bred for sheer numbers, the more they can breed the more they can sell. PERIOD! They don't focus on health, behavior, temperament, NOTHING!!! A shelter dog is one who is a result of this gross over breeding, or an animal who's owner dumped him :( Health is NEVER a guarantee NEVER but you can be sure PET STORE pups were not bred for their health they were bred for $$$ that's it, plain and simple... Sorry Bridgette but your misguided opinion is the exact reason torturous puppy mills still exist-because people like you make excuses about patronizing them. There is NO GOOD reason to buy a dog from a pet store.


Have you visited the National Puppy Mill site...take a look at where your store bought puppy came from.....If you shut down the outlet (i.e. the store) then they won't be breeding the parents....the mills are already regulated and it DOES NOT work. Back yard breeders are everywhere and they hide the lawbreaking. Legal puppy mills are not possible....I seriously doubt sick puppies are getting treatment from the store..


Supply & Demand !!! Heard of it? If the puppy mills are not getting money from pet stores for their puppies they will stop breeding.