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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LOL! I have to teach children such as hers, and explain why their parents' similar viewpoints are ignorant. Then I have to explain that being ignorant is usually different from being stupid, but not always.


my first pet was a cat I picked up on the streets that had been abandoned when her owners moved away. I took her in and she gave me more love than I could have hoped for. she wound up testing positive for hyperactive Thyroid Disease 3 years later and 2 years after that her medical conditions worsened and I had to have her put to sleep. I adopted my next cat from my shelter in 2008 she has given me just as much love but soon after I adopted her I discovered she has skin allergies. I take her to the groomer several times a year and to the vet for really bad flare ups. I think it's worth it for the amount of love she gives. I recently bought a pure bred Chinese Crested Dog from a breeder. she wouldn't let me come to her home but said to make it "easier" would meet me half way to show me the dog. when I saw this dog I knew right away he wasn't worth the price she was asking but the condition he was in I just couldn't walk away and leave him to suffer in her care. so I bought him and have paid out an additional $500 and counting in vet bills. not to mention he is so unsocialized that he sticks by my side and barks at anyone else that tries to go near him. I think he's going to be a great dog after his vetting and training are done. my point is, I've spent far less on animals from the street and shelter than I have on one from a breeder. if I knew how I would report the breeder so that she's put out of business and unable to do this to other dogs. at least when you get an animal from the shelter you know you have at least a little work ahead of you. when you buy from a breeder paying hundreds of dollars you expect a very healthy well adjusted animal and we're just not getting that. I know I'll probably never buy from a breeder again. I suggest to anyone that's thinking of buying from a breeder to insist on a check of the home the animal was kept. also she gave me his vet records but my vet said she wrote them out herself and at least some of it was a lie. so when someone provides you with a vet record book of the animal make sure it has a vet's name, phone number and address on it. call the phone number to make sure it's a real number before you buy. no matter where you buy or adopt an animal they will have some medical issues in their life and require regular vaccinations. they need toys, food and time(your time.)


I can't get over the fact that you really believe that. I have got wonderful dogs from the shelter and will always go that route.


I can't get over the fact that you really believe that. I have got wonderful dogs from the shelter and will always go that route.




I doubt your story is 100% true first off. And there are plenty of awesome dogs in shelters, I am blessed to have one in my life. If you aren't willing to commit to a dog and work with them through the bad you have no business getting one. And how much you pay for a dog does not reflect the type of personality it will have, you could pay hundreds for a pure breed puppy and it turn out to have behavioral problems. Puppy mills should NEVER be legal, it is disgusting to profit off of animals that way and disgusting anyone would advocate they stay legal.


Wow! Why get a pet if you would like to get rid of him as soon as he gets sick or shows other problems?? Get a stuffed animal!!!!


Bridgette - your reasoning doesn't hold. If there is no market for puppy mill puppies, then the breeders will stop breeding. Thus the end to puppy mills.


Bridgette, I think you have good intentions but please try to really think about this... by buying a pet you are supporting puppy mills, which make dogs suffer. You are concerned about what will happen with the puppies bred from the puppy mills but by adopting a pet instead of buying one, you are ultimately shutting down the puppy mills by decreasing consumer demand!! Any company must respond to consumer demand.. if there is no market for their "product" then they will stop producing them! Of course there's always a black market for anything really but I am still adamant that adoption is the way to go! I agree with you that no pet should be available for free because then they could "flip" them but that is why shelters come with adoption fees! The fee for a dog is usually around $200-300 dollars and includes neutering/spaying to help fight dog/cat homelessness and vaccinations. I think this fee is reasonable yet high enough to deter people who are only interested in the animals to "flip" them. I also read something a while ago about people on sites like kijiji or craigs list who put up ads looking to rehome their cat/dog. These people should still ask for a small fee to prevent pet "flipping" as well.
BOTTOM LINE: DOGS/CATS ARE NOT DISPOSABLE AND ARE NOT "PRODUCTS"! THEY DESERVE TO BE TREATED WITH LOVE AND RESPECT. I hope that if you are reading this and you are looking for a dog/cat as an addition to your family that you will only get one if you are ready for the responsibility... it is not fair to just "dump" an animal because you get bored of it or because you were not prepared for the work! Imagine if your parents did this to you when you were a kid! Imagine how sad/confused/scared you would be!! Why do this to an animal?!


I understand your point, Bridgette. We adopted a dog years ago from a local Rottweiler rescue group. The dog had been on the streets for the first six months of its life, but the we were told that he'd done very well on all behavior tests, and was safe to bring into our home.
Just a few weeks later, the dog bit my sister. Her wounds weren't terrible, and we thought it might just be a slight aggression issue that could be worked out, with training.
After several weeks of training, the dog bit my mother. This time, is was so bad, she had to have surgery on her hand.
We realized we couldn't keep him, and tried very hard to find somewhere to place him, only to find that no one would take a known "biter". We ended up putting the poor animal down.

Please know that I think puppy mills are utterly evil, and should be put out of business. Some "rescue" groups are also irresponsible, and should also be put out of business.

Please don't be insulted by some of the self-righteous (but clueless) comments.