Dog Flipping

lost dog

7 Million Dogs and Cats are Lost Every Year. 

If someone is looking to make a quick buck, they can take advantage of these statistics.  There are kids and adults that are now willing to go so far as to adopt a dog in need, and then sell it to the highest online bidder. 

It’s called Dog-flipping.

This is a new twist on dog-snatching.  With Dog-Flipping, dogs are stolen, given a new identity, then put up for sale, or “flipped,” on Internet sites like Craig’s List.

Stealing dogs is illegal, but proving that a dog was stolen and didn’t run off is nearly impossible (unless there’s a witness to a theft who comes forward).  If the dog is quickly resold, the original owner might never find out where the dog ended up.

show_imageDog Flipping is specifically defined as “the buying or receiving, of a dog, with the intention that the buyer wants them as a pets, but instead the buyer resells the dog for a profit to a third party.”

These “dog-flippers” are posing as feasible adopters, but then pack them in at home with the other dogs that they intend to sell for profit.  Police say criminals can make anywhere from $50 to $1,000 on one lost dog, depending on the breed.

Officer Theresa Redmon of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department explained, “Sometimes they’ll just find a missing pet; sometimes they’ll answer a found ad and then they claim to be the owner of that pet. Sometimes they’ll just steal it right out of your yard.”

In a typical pet-flipping situation, a criminal will get hold of a pet — either by stealing it or seeing the animal in a “Pet found” poster or ad on Craigslist and claiming to be the owner — and then turn around and sell it for a quick profit.  It’s clearly a cause for concern for cat and dog guardians, but also for anyone looking to buy a dog or cat.   


It’s unclear how organized and strategic pet thieves and dog flippers are, but in some cases it appears as if criminals target their prey very carefully.   Often, the dogs that disappear aredog theft prevention considered very valuable and used for breeding and dog fighting.   That was the case with five pit bulls stolen in Montgomery, Alabama during a week when a total of eight dogs in the neighborhood were reported stolen — The others including dachshunds that owners used for breeding.  

Animal theft is also being used as a way to get “bait” for dog-fighting rings.  They target animal owners who tether their dogs outside of stores, restaurants or coffee shops while they run in to go about their business.  

They gather dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds from backyards to use as “free” bait dogs for dog fighting.  –Oh, and the friendlier and more submissive dog, the better. 

Police in Indianapolis arrested a man and seized four dogs at the end of a three-month “dog-flipping” investigation.   According to Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, this man had been acquiring purebred German shepherds, Rottweilers and pit bulls for years, some allegedly via illegal means, and he resold many of them.  “Sadly, some of the purebreds who aren’t fixed show up in these garages and are breeding machines,” Danielle Beck, who runs Indy Lost Pet Alert. 

Purebreds are more likely to be victims of pet flips, but all dogs are fair game.  

Citizens Against Flipping Dogs is bringing awareness to “Dog Flipping” – Their website shows you what to look for.



1.  Of course, the best deterrent is to NEVER leave your dog unattended! – This includes in your yard without adult supervision.  Never tie up your dog in front of a store, or leave them in the car, even if you’re only going inside for a short time.  New Yorker Mary Ann Dineen paid $500 to recover her lost Maltese, which had been stolen from her front yard during a potty break.

 2.  Make sure your animal has an ID tag AT ALL TIMES.  Whether it’s a quick coffee run or a potty break in the back yard, don’t ever let your animals leave the house without their ID tags. Leashes break, animals slip through fences, and most animals simply cannot resist chasing a squirrel or other distractions.  An ID tag with updated contact information will be your first step towards recovery.  Check your dog or cat’s tag to make sure the inscription is still legible and the phone number is correct.  Adding an email address also helps.

 3.  Keep up-to-date photos and records.  You know you have a few thousand pictures of your fur kids.  Well, pet detective Carl Washington shared tips such as selecting one picture to use on fliers.  Rather than blanketing the community with thousands of posters, he advises animal guardians to focus on high-traffic areas such as neighborhood entrances and exits, nearby vet clinics and pet stores; if someone has stolen a dog, they may need to make a pit stop for supplies.  Your flier could help jog an employee’s memory.   Be proactive about spreading the word. Post your pet’s info on free websites such as Craigslist and Lost Pet USA.  Contact pet rescue organizations and shelters in neighboring counties.  Ask friends and neighbors to join the search and amplify your reach through social media.  Note any identifying marks and make it very difficult for anyone to flip your fur kid.

 4.  Microchip!  This is something that I believe should be required for ALL animal companions.  It saves lives!   A microchip the size of a grain of rice is inserted under the animal’s skin.  Each chip has an ID that functions much like a Social Security number.   When your animal is recovered, animal shelters and veterinary clinics use a scanner to detect the chip’s ID number.  With that number, they can look up your contact information — but only if the chip has been registered.

microchipping pets home againIt’s very important is to register the information and make sure the microchip provider’s database is always current.  “Folks may not understand that the chip only holds a number,” said Aimee Gilbreath, executive director of a Los Angeles-based nonprofit called Found Animals, which offers a free online microchip registry.  “They think the code is like LoJack or GPS.  It’s really important for folks to know that they have to register the chip in the first place — and keep contact info up to date — or the chip is useless.”  With updated contact info on file, Found Animals will email, call and send text message alerts up to four days after someone searches the registry.   You can have your animal companion microchipped at most veterinary clinics.  Microchips are said to last 20 years, so there is no need to remove or replace it in the duration of a pet’s lifetime.  And if you plan on adopting a pet, make sure to have it microchipped immediately!  Also, if your animal is recovered, you will need to provide proof of ownership.  Be sure that all vet records are readily available; animal shelters and veterinary clinics use a scanner to detect the chip’s ID number.  With that number, they can look up your contact information — but only if the chip has been registered.  Learn more about the importance of microchipping at


5.  SPAY AND NEUTER!!!!  Animal advocates highly recommend that dog and cat guardians spay or neuter your pets so they can’t be used by criminals for breeding.

6.  NEVER use “free to good home ads” when looking for a new home for your pet.  Do not place your pet in a new home without checking the new guardian’s references, visiting the premises, or having the new guardians sign a pet adoption contract.  See more information on finding a new home for your pet.

What to do if you think your animal has been stolen

dog theft prevention pets

“People think it won’t happen to them,” Gilbreath said. “The pet is an indoor pet. It’s always with them, always on the leash.  They don’t think about gardener leaving the door open or Hurricane Katrina.  They think it won’t happen.”

Pet flipping is a real scam — and it’s on the rise.

Be a Conscious Companion and spread the word about dog flipping.  Then do your duty as their guardian to protect them in every way that you can!

home again microchipping for pets




Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig!


Its National Pet I.D. Week – Are your animal companions protected?

Each year, 10 million animals are lost.  One in three family animal companions will become lost in their lifetime.  I have heard many times why many people believe that pet I.D. devices aren’t necessary: “I have an indoor cat,” or “My dog never leaves the yard,” or “We always have them on a leash when we leave the house,” or “They never go outside,” or “We don’t need pet IDs.”

But unexpected things can happen.  Natural disasters like tornados and hurricanes can cause unexpected separations, and pet theft is on the rise.  More common issues include a cat that slips through the front door, or the dog clears that fence with a jump that you thought was impossible, or the bird that flies outside when a guest comes over, or that somehow escapes when the pet sitter comes over.   The opportunities for your animal companion to escape or become separated from you are countless.   Even indoor-only animals, assumed to be safely confined and whose guardians have provided them with the most sophisticated gates and fences to securely play outdoors, are at risk of going missing.  If an animal is determined to get away, then I promise you, they can and will find ways to do so.

According to the ASPCA, each year an estimated 5 to 7 million dogs and cats arrive at shelters.  Only half of those numbers are strays.  Only 15 to 20 percent of dogs and 2 percent of cats are reunited with their family.  The rest, unfortunately, do not have a happy ending.


There are very easy measures that you can take to make sure there’s a way to identify your animal companion should he or she become inadvertently separated from you: 

  • Microchip  – A small inert device that has an individualized code that is unique to your animal companion.  It’s about the size a grain of rice.  They are placed siMicrochippingmply and relatively painlessly under their skin within minutes at the vet’s office.  When a lost animal has been found, veterinary offices and animal shelters have a scanner that checks for these chips under the skin and enables an animal clinic or veterinary hospital to contact you.  If your animal companion has been injured while lost, the ability to contact you that the chip provides could be urgent – and life saving when it comes to needing your approval to provide necessary medical care or talk about treatment options.  According to a research study, the return rate for lost animals with microchips was 20 times higher for cats and 2.5 times higher for dogs compared to lost animals without a microchip identification device. If your animal companion already has a microchip, have your vet scan it routinely to make sure it’s still functioning.  Register your information through the microchip company’s website and make sure they have updated contact information.  A microchip can help save your animal companion.                                                                                                                                      Learn more about how you can protect your animal companion with a microchip here.
  • Update their identification information –  Key information like their name, your contact information, and any medical conditions should be included on their ID tags.  They should be wearing their ID tags AT ALL TIMES.  Rabies tags are another way for people to locate you in the event that your animal companion becomes separated from you.  If you move, don’t forget to update their tags with your new contact information.
  • Get a good photograph of each animal companion – Make sure you have a good photo to post on social media sites and for lost pet posters.  They are vital in people helping to identify lost animals.
  • Meet and Greet  –  Introduce your animal companion to your neighbors or people that live around you. Have an official meet and greet or show them a picture of your animal companion. This will help your neighbors to know what your bird, pig, ferret, rabbit, cat, rat or dog, etc. looks like in the event that he or she escapes. If they are seen, your neighbors will be familiar with them and know that they aren’t supposed to be running amuck! 
  • Know who to call – Create a list in advance of your local animal controls agencies, rescues, shelters, and nearby veterinary offices to alert them if your animal companion becomes lost.
  • The Tagg™ pet tracking system  – A GPS tracking system that allows you to track your animal companion’s location at any time from your computer or mobile device.  The lightweight tracker attaches to your companion animal’s existing collar, and is designed to be worn at all times, even while swimming.  It is rather bulky, but unlike a microchip, which won’t alert you if your animal companion is lost, the Tagg  sends you a text and email when your animal companion gets out so you can find him or her immediately.  Watch this video to see how Tagg works.  They even have a gps tracker for cats.


Since it’s National Pet I.D. week, there is no better time to get all of this in order.  Now is the time to ensure that your animal companions are protected if they happen to escape or are stolen.  Animals escape when you least expect it, so it’s necessary to be prepared.  Being a responsible, conscious companion means you must take the precautions to ensure their safety and quick recovery in the event they are separated from you.  Why take the risk?

Prevention starts now, and it starts with you!