Lost or stolen family pets are being put up for sale online by people trying to make a quick buck.
“Dog-Flipping” – if you do not know the phrase by now, get used to hearing it again, and again. Here is how it works – on social media sites like Craigslist, there are posts saying someone found a lost dog. What a dog flipper does is say that dog is theirs, then they turn right around and sell it. A local pet owner said she was a victim.
Her dog was lost, found and is now microchipped.
“So happy that we got her back now,” said dog owner Leisa Waggoner.
It was a reunion with Rosie the dog, that almost did not happen. The black miniature schnauzer was on an electric fence. She wandered off when someone cut the line while mowing.
Rosie was found, then wound up at a vet’s office in Beech Grove. That was when Wiley Brown got the call.
“‘We know this is your dog, it looks just like her.’ I said, ‘that is great, my family will be ecstatic,'” said Brown.
But the dog did not belong to the Browns. They posted “Dog Found” messages on Indy Lost Pet Alert and Craigslist. It did not take long for someone to come forward, with a sad story, and claim the dog.
“I am pregnant, I have a 1-year-old, I have not had time to get pictures on my phone,” Brown said he was told over the phone. “I do not have anything to send you, but it does look like my dog, Ginger.”
So after hearing the hard-luck story of a dog lost and now found, the Brown family brought the dog and met the woman in a parking lot. Even after reuniting “Ginger” with her rightful owner, something still did not feel right.
“I never thought somebody would ‘flip’ a dog, so it really did not come up in my mind,” said Brown. “I just thought she was happy to see her. She said, ‘Oh Ginger.'”
Then another call that changed everything, another family said the dog was theirs.
“They had pictures of the dog,” said Brown. “They described everything about her, even the white patch of fur on her chest. We just knew it was their dog.”
The Browns checked Craigslist again. The dog they had returned was now for sale.
“We could believe it, but at the same time it was like, ‘Why would someone actually do that?'” said Brown.
Dog flipping, claiming a dog as your own then selling it to make money, is on the rise.
“Unfortunately dog flipping in a new source of revenue for people,” said Danielle Beck o Indy Lost Pet Alert. “They do not think about the pets someone’s family member, but a source of let’s try to re-home this pet for $25 on Craigslist. Let’s go for $50.”
“We will put things aside and we will give you $100,” Brown said he told the woman. “We know who the real owners are, we just want to be able to give them their dog back. She said, ‘No, this is my dog.’ We said okay, $200. She said, ‘$250 and I will do it.'”
They met up at the parking lot again.
“I told her, ‘You can either give me the dog and I give you the money, or you can leave and I will get your license plate number. I know your name and your number and we will find you.’ She just left,” said Brown.
Brown got the woman’s information and Rosie was returned, safe into the rightful owner’s waiting arms.
Rosie is now microchipped. Experts said having her chipped would’ve ended the search to find her a lot sooner. Instead of days to get her back home, dog and owner could have been reunited within an hour. In most cases it only costs $10, or less.