All pet parents should be aware about the terrible practice of pet flipping (also commonly called dog flipping). What is pet flipping? According to Animal Law Update, it is defined as the criminal act of stealing a pet and then selling it as a pet in need of a home to unknowing buyers, often through sites like Craigslist. Another version of pet flipping is when a lost animal is claimed by someone pretending to be the owner, who then turns around and sells it. Still another variation of pet flipping occurs when a pet is stolen, and the thieves extort ransom from the owners to get it back.
Time Magazine reports that pet flipping is on the rise across the United States, with some cities like Kansas City, St. Louis, and Indianapolis experiencing a particularly sharp increase. Organized rings of thieves in these cities target particular breeds of dogs with high resale or breeding value, such as pit bulls, German shepherds, Boxers, and Rottweilers.
Big dogs aren’t the only targets for flippers. Desirable and popular toy breeds like Yorkies, French bulldogs, and Pugs are also victims. What can you do to protect your beloved pet from being taken by flippers? Here’s some practical advice all pet parents should keep in mind, courtesy of the American Kennel Club:
- Don’t let your dog go off-leash or leave her unsupervised in the yard or in your car. Cats should also not be left unattended outside.
- Be suspicious of strangers who ask you questions about your dog (such as “Is it purebred?” or “How much did it cost?”)
- City dwellers should never tie their dogs up outside of shops or restaurants while they go inside.
- Make sure your pet is microchipped and that the provider has your up-to-date contact information.
- Don’t participate in pet flipping by buying pets from the Internet, flea markets, or newspaper ads.
- Get your pets from established shelters and rescue organizations, or reputable breeders. Purebred pets should have the proper paperwork.
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