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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No argument to what you say but we are talking about thieves trying to make a quick buck, and stealing an existing pet from a family who loves it! This happened to me 20 yrs ago and we never found her..I was devastated! .I didn't sleep well for 6 months-can hardly talk about it now!


First off, if there was NO market for puppy mill dogs, there would be NO puppy mills and no puppies, and therefore, no suffering puppies. People won't breed dogs if they can't make money selling them. Secondly, most shelters do charge for the dogs they place. They have to, or they would not be able to function and provide all the care needed to nurse many sick dogs back to health or provide minimum basics, like food and water. Just because someone pays more for a dog doesn't mean they care more about the dog then someone who adopts one or pays less. Many dogs who suffer severe abuse were purchased for a lot of money - just ask breed rescue organizations who see these types of horror stories every day. The only way to get rid of animal suffering and cruelty is through animal rights advocacy and education: educate people on what it means to be a dog owner & how to properly care for that life they just vowed to be responsible for for the next 10 to 20 years. Educate people on how to pick out a good dog for their lifestyle and animal handling skills. It's not about which dog is "cutest" or "prettiest". Getting a dog that best matches your lifestyle and abilities leads to fewer owner turn ins and less abuse. Educate people on why they should neuter and spay their pets. Educate people on how to educate lawmakers in their area to author and pass stricter animal breeding and health organizations. Educate kids starting as young as possible to respect life, all forms of it. The list goes on. There are so many ways to help. All you need to do is pick one.

Louise W.

Are you for real?


What a bunch of hogwash.


Legalizing puppy mills will not solve the problem I believe. Even if things are regulated it would be nearly impossible to produce a healthy, well bred puppy in any situation that requires mass production of dogs. The reason puppy mills are still around is because they are capable of producing puppies that people will pay hundreds of dollars for for a low cost. If we start to ban stores from carrying live animals then the puppy millers will have no more income and be forced to shut down.

I can also say from personal experience that people who spend a lot of money on dogs does not mean that they will take care of it once the novelty has worn off. I work and train with dogs and people and I have seen people spend thousands on a dog and couldn't care less if it was gone the next day. Also the amount of purebred rescues out there should be a clear sign that these puppy mills are providing plenty of cheap dogs for people to buy and dispose of as they please.

To those people who want a purebred dog please remember that there are rescues out there that specialize in certain breeds. There is almost a rescue for every breed out there! Please take the time to make your choice wisely and choose you're new family member wisely. If you would really like a puppy or a breed that is hard to find please find a reputable breeder. Never go to a pet store to get your dog. A person that truly loves the dog cares more worried about getting her healthy and happy puppy a good home rather than making a few quick bucks.


I have had my shelter dog Minnie, for ten years. The shelter she came from thinks she was a dog from a breeder, bred too young and turned out into the cold to die. Many shelter dogs are from irresponsible breeders just as pet store dogs are, but by giving your money to a shelter instead of giving $1000 to a pet store, you are not perpetuating their heinous breeding practices. Minnie has been nothing but a perfect companion, enjoying her "retirement" in a loving home. Don't write off shelter dogs because of an unfortunate experience or two- you can just as easily have problems from a bad breeder selling to pet stores.


My parents bought me a puppy from a breeder, a chocolate labrador. He had severe mental issues and a good amount of physical issues brought on by inbreeding (mother & father were siblings). He was given away, thankfully, instead of put down or put in a shelter. So don't pretend that shelter animals are somehow bred badly, they're the abandoned product of breeding.

To say that pet stores are necessary because the puppy mill puppies needs home is ignorance. Yes, the puppy mill puppies will suffer... that is why we need to STOP the flow of cash into the breeders' pockets! If there is no market, they can't afford to keep breeding!


Wow. I don't even begin to know where to start here. I'm just dumbstruck.


You adopt a dog, take care of it instead of taking it back because it's sick. I understand returning because it doesn't get along with another pet or bites the kids. but not illness. As for legalizing puppy mills, that's insane. The world doesn't need more puppies and really, do you think they could be regulated? Why would you want animals to suffer. Shows what kind of pet store owner you are, you don't mind making a buck off animals suffering. I do believe they call that GREED! People don't want to return their new pet. Most are attached right away. Back in the 80's I bought a pet store dog. You know cute puppy in the window. Paid a lot of money. With training he was one of the best dogs I had. Lived 17 years. Years later I adopted a 2 year old dog from a shelter. She was right up there with the other dog, I didn't have to pay to have her trained, she already was! And she only cost 60 dollars. Lived 15 years. Now I have 2 dogs from a back yard breeder. Her place wasn't as bad as the ones you see on tv, but still I was glad when she finally gave it up. We don't need more puppies...I do agree on "free" dogs. People will usually take them on a whim. I'm guilty of that. Sometimes they work out, sometimes not. Then you have to find them a good home. And yes many abusers snatch them up, but many abuse dogs they bought. An abuser is an abuser, no matter the cost...Find other things to sell in your store, just not puppy mill dogs!

Concerned cats/...

I hope this is a troll or you are running a puppy mill yourself. Why are shelter dogs inferior to puppy mill dogs? Dogs from shelter have a very heterogeneous background. No one can really guarantee their breeds. All they need is love, care and proper training. Just like human, they can also get sick. I adopted one dog and three cats from three different shelters. They all have their own unique personalities, and I love them all.