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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Same here. Shelter dogs are fantastic and they definitely appreciate having a second chance more than a pet store dog. I adopted my dog she was a mess with a laundry list a mile long of behavior issues. The only reason the shelter even let me adopt her in the first place was because I am a trainer. It took me 2 years to correct all of her issues, then I spent another year training and socializing her. Now she works as my service dog and is the best damn dog I could ever hope to have the pleasure of knowing. She is an absolute dream and I cannot possibly imagine my life without her. She just celebrated her 17th birthday and is still going strong!

Concerned cats/...

You just made my day.


Are you kidding? Do you have ANY idea of the DEPLORABLE conditions dogs and puppies from puppy mills endure? Have you ever seen a puppy rescued from a puppy mill? I have and it is nothing I would wish on any animal. You should be ashamed of yourself.


Bridgette- I'm sorry to hear what you were put through by the shelter. It IS true what you said about shelter animals; I'd say about half the animals they take in have been abused & are in bad health. I have 3 shelter cats & 2 of them were previously abused (one was just a kitten when; according to the SPCA; was covered w/ tar). Don't stop voicing your experience, it just may get the attention of shelter employees.

S. O. Rooney

Elaine, I appreciate your voice of kindness and understanding. Some of these people are just so rabid (if you'll excuse the phrase) and mean! Nasty! Ban pet stores? Ban purebred breeders? Ban... Get a grip! It is making me so angry to read this because so many of you are so unforgiving, judgmental and reactionary. Please transfer some of the love you feel for your pets to other people.


Seems all these problem dogs have something in Oh and "legalizing and regulating puppy mills" sure bc the government does a great job at regulating things, not to mention a surplus of cashflow they were wondering how to spend... and the answer to the growing pet population is to continue breeding more pets? As far as your statement about banning pet stores will not stop puppy mills....please join my 3rd grade social studies class when we teach about supply and demand. When there is no demand for these puppies, the people who are in the business of supplying them will stop. People are more likely to care for a pet they pay for rather than adopt...have you ever Googled specific breed rescue groups? Oh my goodness, I have to stop addressing your stupidity, as I am becoming more and more irritated the more I read your moronic perspective.


well said Jennifer!

Deb Lehman

Yes Jennifer! When we're not killing millions of dogs each year, maybe I'd be willing to entertain these ridiculous assertions. I guess Bridgette doesn't get that the shelters are not there - and don't have the funds - to bring these poor dogs back to perfect health. But there are RESCUE groups who do get vet care and scrupulously interview potential adopters. I would imagine Bridgette wouldn't have lived up to their standards.

Michael Dalvano

You can't make this decision based purely on your own small sample size of pets. The reality of the situation is VERY different than what you are trying to convey with your uneducated comment. Pet store puppies are allowed to remain a huge business due of the mistreatment of mother dogs, as well as the lack of regard for the health of the puppies. There are horror stories easily available anywhere you research. Shelter dogs are normally evaluated and treated before they are even made available for adoption, which is why they rely so heavily on donations to stay running and keep their animals healthy. Please reconsider your stance, and make sure you know all the facts and realities before you share your experience with others and try to present it as the norm.


Your argument has some logic to it, but not enough to make me change my mind. You say if we ban selling puppy mill puppies it will be worse cause people will still breed and they'll end up in shelters or killed since there's no market for them. Now considering these breeders don't truly value the health and lives of their puppies I think it's safe to say they are mainly in the breeding industry for the profits. So if they can't make money, then more than likely they won't want to breed any more. Sure it would be nice if we could monitor the conditions of their housing environments, but the government doesn't monitor the safety of animals who have owners, why do you think they're going to make the time to visit puppy mills to make sure they are treating the puppies the way they should. And I'm sorry you've had bad experiences with adopted dogs, but if you aren't willing or capable of training them then maybe you aren't fit to own a pet! Sounds to me like you want the perks but none of the work that comes from caring for an animal. Seems pretty heartless to me... how are you any better than the puppy mill breeders? You're condemning these senior animals to death because you ultimately want a purebred puppy. When it shouldn't be solely about you, it should be about the dog getting out of a bad situation and experiencing love at least once in their life.