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 so disagree with Bridgett's (other concern), that of shelter dogs and keeping the puppy mills going. Perhaps you need to look at it this way, "Who loves and cares for the dogs the most? and "who does the work from their heart and not their bank account."


:"( my dog was pet flipped but luckily when i saw it on sale i asked one of my friends to go over there and then click the button on the walkie talky without saying anything as the arrest signal and together we got the police, arrested the man and i got my dear dear puppy back!


I don't think that Bridgette is completely off base here. She has some valid points. Dogs from shelters don't always get the best care either. In Chicago alone, shelters have been found to neglect dogs, not be willing to give dogs to loving homes for imaginary reasons, and to say that dogs have no issues when the next day at home they clearly do!!! I adopted a loving "boxer" who was "very calm and quiet". When we got home, I found out she was incredibly food aggressive. Luckily, I was in a position where I could spend the time with her to help her understand not to be. That's not always a reality. She is also terrified of men. Even now, 4 years later, she still has that problem.
I work with her every day, but I hate to see how terrified she is every time a man comes near her. Now that she has gained alot of the weight back from being starved, it is VERY clear that she is more pit bull than boxer. This causes it's own issues! I agree that puppy mills are cruel, but I also think that purebreed breeders have a place in our society and should be made to follow laws that prohibit ill treatment, just like everyone else.
Please don't slam people for having an opinion just because it differs from yours! We all have our own experiences and they are just as valid!


bridgette you are ignorant and should keep your uneducated comments to yourself. Do the world a favor and close down your pathetic pet store where you condone the malicious acts of puppy mills. Free the animals that you hold captive in your store and crawl under a rock. You will be far more useful there.


My question is: What kind of sissies are those German Shepherds, rottweilers and Pit Bulls that someone is able to steal them. I have a German Shepherd and the only way he is going with a stranger is if they shoot him first.


Pets, Dogs recover from abuse/shelters because good people LOVE them. You have to work with shelter dogs. You have to treat them like a baby, for months-reassurance, care, soft voice, laughter, kindness, playing. You should have seen our dog who had parvo and had been abandoned in a dog park, where dogs are now dumped. He was a mess. But he knew right away that we accepted him and were not going to abandon him. He learned that so quickly. We nursed him like a sick baby, for three months-day and night. You should have seen our German Shepherd that was beaten and ran away from this cruelty. My son found him. Make the commitment! You think it is easy? Typical American who does not get it-like those who abuse children. People who commit acts of cruelty should be slammed in jail, as felons. Go to a state that has high dog ownership, like Vermont. See how the Brits treat their dogs and protect their Island. Thank goodness that the US LIKES/:LOVES dogs-othewise this place would be a hellhole for all animals, as it is for those we eat all the time. Think about it. Abuse is abuse. People who abuse dogs have personality disorders and know what they are doing. They should be punished as they punish. ANd Pet flipping is real. I had a beautiful white Shepherd and I was happily walking in my NICE neighborhood. These four thugs drove by me and turned around, laughing and heading towards me. I should have let my GS go loose onto their jugular veins, but the thugs would have shot the dog. I turned up my neighbor's driveway and waited. The cowards drove off to harrass and steal someone else's dog. As I said, a personality disorder or bullying disorder that is learned at HOME and needs to be addressed and harnessed. No mercy on cruelty.


This is horrible. Missouri is one of the worst states I have learned about animal abuse, especially in the Sikeston and St. Louis areas. I know other states have problems with ignorant people thinking they can do what they want with a helpless animal, but it is still wrong. Hopefully, laws will change or be updated and their actions will be brought to justice accordingly. Thanks for the tips that I can share with others.

Patty Meehan

This "flipping" trend is s also happening with people who are posing as a rescue, taking dogs from shelters and CL ads, then turning around and selling them. They often say they are charging an adoption fee, but they do no vetting and no spay/neuter. No legitate rescue adopts out animals unvetted or not spayed/neutered. We have seen quite a few of these in Louisiana. It's extremely disturbing, especially to those of is who work our butts of doing legitimate rescue.