CINCINNATI - An increasingly popular way to make money has animal lovers crying foul. It’s called “dog flipping”. Blame it on a bad economy or just plain greed. That nice family that wants to adopt your dog may not be planning to keep it as they promise. They may be set to “flip” it to make a buck.
Amy Cannon of Milford, Ohio suspects that’s what happened to two of the puppies from an “oops” litter her dog delivered. With nine puppies in all, she and her boyfriend couldn’t keep them all. They advertised on craigslist and Facebook to find homes for the puppies. But first, Cannon says they spent $380 on shots and de-worming to make sure the puppies got a good start.
Cannon says choosing families for the dogs proved difficult. “I hoped that each of the puppies would just have a really great, loving home. That was the scary part, where are they going to end up?”
It all seemed to work out, ‘til a week or so after she adopted out a puppy she’d named “Frankie.” Its original family had found it couldn’t keep him so Cannon says she called a young couple who had adopted one of its female littermates for their little boy. They gladly took Frankie too.
A week or so later, the original family called Cannon and told her to look on craigslist. A new ad had been posted, saying “My husband and I are selling our dog Frankie. We just moved and now don’t have enough yard for him to play. We are asking $60 for him.” The pictures showed Cannon’s Frankie.
“I was so angry. I was really angry and really frustrated and so disappointed in people at that moment, to basically tell someone and be dishonest… that you’re taking the dog for a completely different reason and then resell them to make a profit,” said Cannon.
When Cannon confronted the couple, she found out they also no longer had the female littermate. Cannon suspects that “nice family” really was “flipping” dogs. That’s the term some dog lovers are calling for a trend we found in postings on the Internet accusing various people of being a “boxer flipper in Amelia” or “Batavia flipper” of various breeds. There’s a Facebook page called “ Citizens Against Flipping Dogs ” with 162 Tri-State members. The phenomenon is not local ‘though. We found more complaints across the nation, including at usabreeders.com .
Sites like craigslist - which warns readers to avoid scams and fraud - feature many legitimate postings advertising homes for cute puppies hard to resist. But the sites can’t monitor every listing. And dog flipping isn’t illegal. Those who decry it warn: Don’t fall for sob stories from people claiming they lost their dogs tragically, posting ads claiming they just lost a beloved pet but can’t afford a re-homing or adoption fee. It may be true. It may not.
Cannon says she asked the wife who now advertised Frankie what had happened to his littermate. “I said, ‘So you were never planning on keeping this dog as a pet for your son?‘ And she said, ‘Well, I needed grocery money.’” Cannon says she worries that people who flip animals may not feed or care for them properly because they’re planning to be rid of them soon.
We contacted the couple who took Cannon’s two dogs and spoke to the wife by phone. She refused to meet with us and denied being a “dog flipper”. She said both puppies weren’t housebroken so she changed her mind about keeping them.
Cannon says she and her boyfriend felt Frankie had gone through enough. They paid the couple $70, more than the asking price, to get him back. They’ve decided to keep him rather than take any more chances.
Animal shelters say this demonstrates why most charge even nominal adoption fees, to make “flipping” unprofitable and discourage the practice.