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 find it difficult to believe the rescue from whom you adopted your rottie wouldn't take him back and find a better parent for him


I agree Kelly... I've worked with 3 different rescue groups as volunteers. ALL of them have a section in their adoption policy form that says that if you don't want the dog anymore, please return the dog back to them and not to put the dog in a shelter or give them away.


Thank you for confirming Rose! Also to the person above who calls us self-righteous- that's usually the only argument someone with no argument ends up making, so go right ahead...


So so many horrible reasons to buy from a pet store, I don't know where to begin. Rationalize all you want, but when the demand goes out, so will puppy mills. Regulating won't solve anything - there are always ways around the law. Conscientious, caring human beings can make a difference by having pets spayed & neutered & encouraging others to do the same, & help reduce the homeless pet population by adoption. Do your homework: go to several shelters, ask around to see which ones people think are most reputable, see if you can arrange a home visit, & find out if the shelter offers any kind of short term health coverage in case of illness (many do). Finally, if what you're really after is a "breed" & not a family member, you shouldn't have a pet at all.


Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the horrible health problems & genetic diseases that can come from interbreeding at these places. Also, behavior problems from abuse & poor living conditions. Geez, you really are poorly informed.


I'm sorry but you are very wrong. I am in school for Animal Science and one of my teachers worked for DEM and other organizations that dealt with animal abuse cases, animal hoarding, and of course puppy mills. They get away with it because as soon as there is a case built up against them they change their name, move their operation to a new location, and avoid the legal system. And they get away with this. The ONLY way to stop them, is to make their business fail- which means if customers refuse to buy from stores that sell puppy mill puppies, it affects that pet store, which in turn affects the puppy mills. It's going to take a little effort at a time to make a real impact, but it IS happening. Here in Rhode Island protestors finally won after a few rallies against Rumford Pet Center. They now do not buy or sell puppy mill puppies.

If you want a purebred you do NOT go through a store still, you find a legitimate, licensed breeder and check into them. A true breeder will never have more than 3 breeds at one time, will possess an FDA license to breed, and will be able to provide you will certifications on the breed and also veterinary care information for both the mom and pups.

And all we can do for the puppy mill pups is donate to ASPCA and send out tons of good energy for them to be rescued by the ASPCA- and they DO get rescued, all the time.


Legalizing the puppy mills? No way! they should be shut down!! Instead of getting a dog from pet stores, why not get a dog from a legit breeder? Shelters also have a lot of puppies. Do your research to find the right puppy from a right place instead of supporting puppy mills. This is crazy!!!


Bridgette, Adopt DON'T Shop! If you're not part of the solution you are part of the problem.


There are some amazing organizations out there that match people looking for dogs with one that fits their personality and lifestyle, and there's Save A Sato. My kindred spirit, amazing doggie extraordinaire, came from them. They take homeless dogs off the streets of Puerto Rico, house train them, socialize them, nurse them back to health if they need it, and by the time they get to you - it's baffling that they were ever homeless and not trained. Piruli has saved my heart and spirit. He's absolutely amazing and insanely smart. And I'm so glad he didn't die on some street in Puerto Rico, as so many others do every day. The more people who adopt, the less of a market for breeders. While we're at it, let's go after the people who race greyhounds too - what a horrible existence and experience on this planet, while others get to live, love and experience joy - all those animals experience is torture.

Laurie Koppenaal

It would be ideal to have all breeders and pet shops closely monitored but the reality is that the law still has not changed nearly enough to protect the animals wellfare or ever will. These "pets" are really nothing more to the lawmakers than property to be sold. Profit for their supporters will always overrule lawmakers as long as there are people to donate and control them. Any pet you adopt from a shelter is tramatized to some degree and require a lot of TLC and good routine with training. They often don't respond well to being put into a busy situation, such as with children or left alone for long periods. Children can be rough (even if they do not realize it) on these animals, both need lots of time to adjust to each other. I am glad to hear however you found him a good home in the end.