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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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.


There are many breeders out there that are not puppy mills. If you do want a specific breed, look on the internet. Check out the breeder clubs for verifications. You do not have to buy from a "puppy mill" to get a "papered pet". When you go to these breeders they will send you pictures and you can visit their homes. Which most breeders keep their dogs at their homes. Quality pets and they do come with a clean bill of health (which they will have for you to take) and a return policy. I was a breeder for a lot of years. I took pride in my dogs and where I kept them. And it gave me a lot of happiness when someone would come get a puppy. You can also see their moms and dads. So you know what you are getting. " Puppy Mills" must be destroyed, not licensed, what do you think they do with the puppys that they can't sell, because of their looks or if they get sick. They KILL them and not in a humane way. Adopting a rescue is a way to get all the unwanted, homeless dogs a forever home. When their are no more homeless dogs, then ever one that wants a dog can buy from a reputable breeder.


Like you I am a hobby breeder which means we take great pride in the breed of the dog that we choose to breed. There are people that confuse it with backyard breeding aka Puppy Mills. BY and PM breeders could care less about the environment for the dog let alone health. Like yours my pups have a nice warm bed in a nice warm house with lots of love and affection. They all receive their shots etc and are spoiled rotten:)


If you are breeding dogs to keep as your own pets, I think that's fine. However, if you are selling or even giving those puppies away to other families looking for a pet, you are depriving a shelter animal somewhere of a home.


Breeders need to be illegalized... There is ZERO need for more animals to be dumped into the shelters or put down when they're no longer wanted.


you are the exception...many breeders are out for the $ not the quality, or for the love of the breed.


If you want a specific breed, there are plenty of breed-specific rescues; directing people to breeders, "reputable" or not, is still horrifically irresponsible at best.


Well said, Kelly. There is no need to create more dogs. There are so many that go through the breed specific rescues that don't find homes. Why breed more?

Deb Lehman

Once again, right on Kelly! Why are we breeding and selling more dogs when we're killing millions of "unwanted" ones a year? Supply and demand... so stop supplying.