“Pet Flipping” Criminals Are Cashing in on Lost Dogs

September 24, 2013

pet dogOne of the latest crimes on the rise is what’s known as “pet flipping.” According to TODAY, criminals are finding lost dogs and using them to turn a profit rather than returning them to their owner. The crook will create an ad on Craigslist for the dog, and depending on the breed, sell them for $50 to $1000. Scammers have multiple tactics for getting and selling a lost pets including, finding a wondering lost animal, answering a found ad and pretending to be the owner and some may even take an unsupervised pet out of its own yard. To protect yourself from pet theft, never leave your pet unattended, and if they do go missing, check the pets section of Craigslist to see if someone is trying to sell it. You also may want to consider getting a microchip for your pet which can prove your ownership. This can be done at your local vet.

That being said, not all dogs on Craigslist are stolen pets. But you should be advised that there is little to no regulation on such Internet sales. Your safest bet is to buy a dog through a legitimate breeder or a registered animal shelter. If you do decide to purchase a pet online, follow these 6 tips to ensure you’re not getting involved with a “pet flipping” crook:

  • Request pictures of the pet—particularly ones with the seller.
  • Ask to visit the pet at the sellers home to see how they interact with their supposed owner.
  • Require the pet’s paperwork—i.e. vet bills, insurance information, kennel club registration.
  • Ask about the pet’s history—has it been spayed or neutered? Cross-reference with the vet bill.
  • Have the seller create an official bill of sale. Make sure all terms of the agreement are in writing.
  • Do not purchase the pet unless the seller agrees to a vet’s examination and micro-chip scan first