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Con artists stealing dogs, cats for profit

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Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com

Con artists stealing dogs, cats for profit

By Rachel Garceau. CREATED Aug 11, 2014

Have you heard about pet flipping? it’s when a criminal picks up a dog or cat, either by stealing the animal or claiming to be the owner of a missing pet, and then quickly sells the animal  for profit. Oftentimes, the purchase price is disguised as a “rehoming fee.” Better Business Bureau’s Dale Dixon chatted with Good Morning Idaho about the scam.

He says purebred dogs and cats are the usual target. Pet flippers snatch them from front porches or backyards or pick them up if they’re found straying from home. In some instances, perpetrators answer online classified ads or neighborhood flyers for dogs that have been found. The pet flipper pretends to be the pet owner, takes the dog home and turns around and sells the dog for a tidy profit.

Dixon says if your pet has been lost or stolen, check local pet ads. If you find your pet is the victim of a pet-flipper, don’t hesitate to contact the police.

BBB also has these tips to protect pets from potential pet flippers:

  • Don’t leave pets unattended.
  • Microchip pets. Veterinary clinics and animal shelters can use a scanner to look up contact information. It’s useful only if the number has been registered, however.
  • Ensure your pet has a readable identification tag on at all times.

And for those in the market for a pet, BBB suggests these tips:

  • Request photos of the owner and pet together before you actually meet with them.
  • Visit the seller with the pet and observe how they interact.
  • Find out if the pet is spayed or neutered.
  • Ask to see paperwork such as Kennel Club registration and vet bills.
  • Get an official bill of sale from the seller.

For more information on these and countless other scams, head to the BBB's website.