A joint investigation involving Indianapolis Animal Care & Control (IACC) and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department resulted in charges against a man accused of “dog flipping.”
According to investigators, it works much like house flipping. A person acquires a dog and then tries to sell the pet at a higher price to make a profit. According to IACC, there are no laws regulating the practice in regards to pets. In many cases, the pets live in puppy mill-like conditions with no food or water. Animals that can’t be sold for a profit are then dumped to fend for themselves. Many dog flippers use Craigslist to find their targets.
The investigation started in January when a couple contacted authorities to report that their dog, a German Shepherd named Ceazer, had been stolen in a Craigslist scam.
According to investigators, an Indianapolis man named Johnny Jones, Jr., was an expert at it. For years, they said, he’s acquired dogs by searching for owners on Craigslist. Jones looked for people who were down on their luck and needed to part ways with their pets for one reason or another. He specifically looked for German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Pit Bulls and other purebred, unaltered breeds.
In a recent case, investigators said Jones contacted a woman who needed to give up her German Shepherd. To gain her trust, Jones talked to her, told her his dog had died and spent an hour getting to know the dog. After he bought the dog, Jones posted the German Shepherd on Craigslist with his phone number. The former owner saw the ad two days later. After that, the woman found the dog on eBay Classifieds with a different phone number.
Investigators said Jones also ran a dog obedience and “personal protection” training facility in his living room. They believe he bred dogs from his clients’ purebred dogs without their knowledge or consent and profited from selling the resulting litters.
Since the investigation began, IACC has received several reports of stolen dogs. One victim bought back a purebred puppy after seeing it on Craigslist and immediately had the dog micro-chipped.
As for Ceazer—the dog whose disappearance sparked the investigation—Jones ended up dumping him before investigators closed in. Someone found Ceazer, had his microchip analyzed and made arrangements with his owner to have him returned.
Investigators served an arrest warrant at Jones’ east side home in February, recovering firearms and four dogs, including two purebred German Shepherds. He’s charged with theft and being a serious violent felon in possession of firearms.