If you keep up with pet news at all, you have likely heard about the crummy new trend in the animal theft underworld called ‘pet flipping.’ Pet flipping occurs when a bad guy steals a pet and then sells it to turn a quick profit. The pet can be stolen from a backyard, or fraudulently claimed in response to a Good Samaritan’s “Found Pet” post in the newspaper or on Craigslist.
Primarily, dogs are the target of pet flippers, and the dogs stolen most often are those that look like “purebreds.” In some cases, if the dog is not spayed or neutered, the criminal will keep the dog as a breeding machine until it has outlived its earning potential.
As disgusting and scary as this crime sounds, there are steps you can take to prevent it happening to you and your dog.
- DO NOT BUY PETS. EVER. If you want to add a furry friend to your family, go to the nearest animal shelter or reputable rescue, and adopt your next pet. Do not search Craigslist or newspaper classified ads for your new pet. If someone is selling a pet, the chances are very good they have only profit in mind. The animal could have been stolen or could have been bred in a backyard mill. Don’t take the chance – don’t shop; adopt.
- DON’T LEAVE YOUR DOG UNATTENDED. Especially if your dog looks “purebred,” don’t leave him out alone in the yard all day when you’re not home. When traveling or walking your dog, practice vigilance and common sense. Don’t leave him tethered out of your eyesight or waiting in the car. The best place for your dog when not with you, is in your house; period.
- SPAY/NEUTER YOUR DOG. You look at your dog and see a cute member of your family. A dognapper looks at your dog and sees a revenue stream. Don’t let your dog’s fate be several abusive years in a dark garage or filthy kennel, cranking out puppies. It is never too late to spay or neuter your dog and it brings with it other health benefits aside from deterring would-be ‘flippers.’
- MICROCHIP YOUR PET. This, more than anything else you do, can help bring your pet back to you, his rightful owner. Microchipping is a simple, cheap way to insure that if your pet is identified as stolen, authorities can track you down and reunite you with the pet you love.
- IF YOU FIND A PET, VERIFY THE OWNER’S CLAIM. Before you hand Fido over, take steps to insure that the person who showed up to take him is really the person who lost him. If there is a phone number on the tag, call it. Take him to the local shelter or vet to be scanned for a microchip (it’s free). Watch for signs that the dog really knows (and likes) the person who is claiming him. Trust your gut.
Pet flipping crimes are on the rise across the United States. With these simple steps, you can avoid becoming a victim or unwitting accomplice.
Can you think of other ways to avoid being victimized by pet flippers? What about ways to avoid becoming an accidental accomplice? Share your ideas with us!
This post was written by Estelle W. and reprinted with permission from http://www.foundanimals.org
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