It seems crazy, but it’s true. What you may see as a beloved member of your family, “pet flippers” — petty thieves who have been known to steal dogs from yards and homes only to sell them on Craigslist for a quick buck — see as a business opportunity. Pet theft is on the rise, and it has become a sad reality for many pet owners who have searched tirelessly for their missing pets only to discover their pup’s photos online advertised for sale. Some pet owners have come across the listings in time to involve the police and see their pets safely returned, while others sadly never see their beloved family pet again. And while pure-bred dogs are most commonly targeted, cats and mixed breed dogs are not immune.
So how can you and your pet avoid becoming a victim of one of these heartless schemes? According to the ASPCA in a recent interview with the Baltimore Sun —
ASPCA officials say pets should never be left outside unattended, even in fenced areas. Even letting them out for a bathroom break is risky. Be sure your pet has an up-to-date ID tag or collar with your contact information on it, and microchip your pet in case he or she ends up in a reputable shelter or with a rescue. Be sure your information is kept accurate with the microchip company, too.
And if you’re in the market for a pet, make sure you go to a reputable rescue (or breeder if you’re so inclined) rather than a pet store or buying from an owner directly where you’re more likely to be purchasing someone else’s flipped family pet.