Have you heard about pet flipping? It’s when a criminal picks up a dog or cat, either by stealing the animal or claiming to be the owner of a missing pet, and then quickly sells the animal for profit. Oftentimes, the purchase price is disguised as a “rehoming fee.”
Purebred dogs and cats are the usual target. Pet flippers snatch them from front porches or backyards or pick them up if they’re found straying from home. In some instances, perpetrators answer online classified ads or neighborhood flyers for dogs that have been found. The pet flipper pretends to be the pet owner, takes the dog home and turns around and then sells the dog for a tidy profit.
“While the finder of the dog is simply trying to do a good deed, if they turn it over to a flipper, they may be adding an obstacle to the real owner’s search for their pet,” said Shelley Polansky, vice president of communications for Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming.
If your pet has been lost or stolen, check local pet ads. If you find your pet is the victim of a petflipper, don’t hesitate to contact the police.
BBB recommends several tips to protect pets from potential pet flippers:
Don’t leave pets unattended.
Have your pets spayed or neutered. Some pet flippers try to acquire animals for breeding purposes, hoping to sell litters for large sums of money.
Microchip pets. Veterinary clinics and animal shelters can use a scanner to look up contact information. It’s useful only if the number has been registered, however.
Ensure your pet has a readable identification tag on at all times.
And for those in the market for a pet, BBB suggests these tips:
Request photos of the owner and pet together before you actually meet with them.
Visit the seller with the pet and observe how they interact.
Find out if the pet is spayed or neutered.
Ask to see paperwork such as Kennel Club registration and vet bills.
Get an official bill of sale from the seller.
BBB said if your pet has been lost or stolen, it is advisable to check local pet ads.