News agencies across the country are reporting that “pet flipping” is on the rise. What is pet flipping? Pet flipping is when someone steals a pet, then turns around and sells the pet through popular websites like Craigslist. Or, it may be a situation where someone is desperate to re-home their pet, and advertised their pet as “free to good home”…only to be smoothed-talked and duped into handing their pet over to a person whose only intention is to sell or breed the pet for profit. These situations undoubtedly lead to extreme animal abuse and neglect, as well as heartache to those who are victimized.
Here are some tips on how to avoid your pet from becoming part of this scam.
Do not leave your pet tied up outside the store while you run errands
We love to take our pets with us on errands, but pet flippers are looking for easy ways to steal your pet. And leaving them tied up outside the store makes them an easy victim for these scammers.
Spay/Neuter your pet
Some of these pet flipper scams revolve around obtaining purebreds and then breeding them over and over in puppy mill-like conditions. The scammers then sell the puppy or kitten litters for profit.
Microchip your pet
Pet flippers may steal a pet in one state, and then sell them to someone in a different state. Even if you find your pet afterwards, it could be extremely difficult to provide sufficient proof that this pet really belongs to you. Getting them microchipped is an additional step to linking the identification of the dog back to their original guardians.
Do not give your dog away to a stranger
Pet flippers are looking for people who are needing to re-home their pets. These scammers are very good at convincing people that they have a loving home for your pet. If you must give your dog away, look towards family members or friends as potential homes. Many animal rescue groups will also provide services to help you re-home the pet; they use screening methods and additional processes to help avoid this scam. Reputable animal rescue organizations also have an adoption fee – along the theory that you will place a higher value on anything you pay money for.
Photo: Courtesy of Sten-Erik Armitage via Flickr (CC by 2.0)