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!




If your son is 22 and this happened when he was a child, well, most shelters have come a long way in just the past 5-10 years. How we, as a society, view and respect the lives of our pets has changed too.


The dog that you took back to the shelter, do you know what the illness was? Hopefully this shelter has progressed in attending to sick animals before they are adopted out. I had adopted a kitten that was spayed at a shelter which used a vendor vet service for the spaying. It was done so poorly that she split open. The vet at the shelter re-did it and did a great job! If she had anything differently that was wrong I would have taken her to a private vet. It would not surprise me if the dog was treatable and that the shelter did not want to treat the dog as it may have been expensive or they didn't know what they were doing.

Normally adopted pets have adoption fees which can be similar to purchasing a pet. I agree that a person should be able to afford a pet and it concerns me when people or shelters 'give away' or only charge a nominal fee for adopting a pet. People should be able to afford a pet right off the bat. And people do value money, most people. I would not want to see pets sold but adopted (with fee) from a pet store.

So in the US we kill about 4 Million cats and dogs each year but 17 Million are sold, imported, etc. to people here. That is outrageous! People who do not have respect for dogs, cats and do not take care of them should not be allowed to care take for one. So a person who has committed a cruel act to a pet should no longer have pet privileges ever. Or a person who turns in their 16 year old dog because they do not want vet bills should not be able to adopt another dog and so forth.

They differentiate between puppy mills and decent breeders, which is why animal welfare advocates want to get rid of the puppy mills. Certainly, we should limit the ability to breed pets period, and any breeding should be regulated more. We should not be killing up to 4M pets per year when people are adopting over that amount. They need to limit the breeding and encourage adoption. There should be no unwanted pets in the US.

I cannot believe the amount of cruelty to pets in this country. A recent study suggested about 50 percent of pets are treated cruelly in the US. People do not have to have a pet. Of that 50 percent of households who torture or mutilate or starve or ignore their pet, they should not have one, ever. Pets should be treated as valuable and likely and sadly the only way that they will be is if there is a shortage of them, instead of an abundance.


I am a Rescue volunteer and I would NOT LET YOU ADOPT ANY RESCUE DOG after your story.


I agree with Janice. I think the excuse is a pretty lame one. The only dogs I have ever had were shelter animals and some came with "issues" but they were definitely worth working through those issues. I also disagree that banning pet store sales will not stop puppy mills. The fewer outlets these puppy mills have to sell their puppies at, the less money they make. It may get some of them to stop if their profits are much less. However, it is going to take awhile to get rid of all the puppy mills out there and shutting down pet store sales is just one way toward accomplishing that.


Bridgette, please educate yourseslf on puppy mills. They are legal and they are "legislated". You saying that you are ok with that means you are ok with dogs living their entire lives in cages, never knowing what is like to live in a home and be loved, never to be able to run and play, never to do a lot of things. These dogs have no lives except to sit day after day in a cage waiting to breed. They don't receive appropriate medical care or any at all. I can go on and on. If you ban selling puppies in pet stores, the mills will start going out of business. Don't you get it? Please, before putting ignorant comments out there, educate yourself. There are also tons of puppies in rescues and shelters. Every one of my dogs is a rescue and I wouldnt have it any other way. By the way there is no way to be completely sure of your mixed breed dog unless DNA is done. And even that isnt completely accurate. And by the way, many of the dogs we took into our shelter that were given up..were by people who bought them at pet stores. They werent screened properly and nobody cares who buys these dogs. And many of them are given up or suffer fates you don't want to know about. And these...are facts from someone who has experienced it many times.


Another reason to adopt a mutt from a shelter and make sure they are spayed or neutered! Never leave your animals unsupervised!!




Puppy mill pets are suffering because people like Bridgette think they are better pets. Any "puppy" wheter shelter dog or not, will become a good pet with love and training. Yes older dogs have issues due to the stupidity of man, but most pet shops dont sell grown dogs. Most shelters will let you try out a pet for a week b4 commiting or not.
You also need to be honest with the shelter in your explanation of what YOU want in a pet, where you live, how often you can play with your pet and a 100 other details needed to see if that pet is right for you.
Every pet I have owned has been adopted, and they ALL turned out great, and yes they do all have different personalities, and behavior..dogs are not cut from the same cloth.


Thank you for this comment and DITTO to everything you said. I couldnt have said it better.


A person who paid more for a pet store pet is more likely to take better care of it? Why would we even dignify a statement THAT STUPID with a serious response?