RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – You've heard of house flipping but what about dog flipping? Well, it was a mystery to us too. We investigated and turns out it happens in our area. People are targeting pooches to make a profit. So if you need find a new home for your pet, be warned, dog flippers are on the prowl.
"Essentially flipping the dog like you would flip a house," Sarah Clinton with the Richmond Animal League told us. She says it all about the money.
"There are some predatory people out there who will take your dog and say they are going to give it a good home and then turn around and sell that dog for $50, $60, a couple of hundred dollars," she said.
If your dog is flipped, not only can it be heartbreaking for you but it can be harmful for the animal. The process can cause stress, a loss of human connection and they may not get the medical attention they need. The dog flippers usually target sites like Craigslist, betting no one will catch the deception.
"You might think you are giving your dog to a loving home, but it is going to be warehoused with up to 8 to 10 other dogs in tiny apartments and sold to the highest bidder," said Clinton.
These so-called Dog Flippers, prey on families looking for a good place to re-home their pet. There's already a website and Facebook page, Citizens Against Flipping Dogs, warning the public about this trend. A couple in Ohio started the page after their dog, Frankie, was flipped. They eventually tracked down the "flipper" and got Frankie back.
Robin Starr, with the Richmond SPCA says consumers have to be alert when looking to adopt a pet or re-homing. She says while dog flipping could be labeled as cruel, no laws are being broken.
"It is perfectly legal in the Commonwealth of Virginia to sale a pet for profit," Starr told us.
The good news, there are ways to prevent this. Organizations like the SPCA, have tips on how to re-home your pet. It also has an extensive process before it will let anyone adopt.
"We want to get a read on the people that we are adopting to and feel comfortable that their intention is to provide a life-time home to this pet," Starr said.
Experts say a big deterrent for dog flipping, charge a fee.
"It cuts down on their profit and maybe they will overlook that pet and look for some easy money some other way," explained Clinton.
Another piece of advice, have your pet spayed or neutered.
"We always see a lot of puppies and kittens that are oops litters. They are not planned, so if you spay and neuter your pet you take that out of the equation," she added.
Rescue groups say build a relationship with the potential adopting family. Lookout for Ads where people claim they lost their pet tragically and can't afford re-homing or adoptions fees.
"It's beyond our realm of thinking that anybody would look at a companion animal and see it as a means to turn a quick buck," Clinton said.
Remember, no matter how convincing, not everyone who says they love your pet and wants to give it a good home is telling the truth. For more helpful information, visit the links below.