It has now been almost a year since I had a very bad experience with a local puppy mill dog rescue. That experience caused me to start researching the various aspects of puppy mills and dog rescues. In this research, I have come across far too many activities that are the work of truly sleazy people. Even as I start to question WHY anyone would do these things, I realize I know that the answer is about money, more money, and even more money.
Until just a few years ago, I had no idea what a puppy mill was or that the adorable puppies in the pet store window most likely came from such a place. When I heard about or saw a poster of a “lost dog,” I never even considered the possibility that someone had stolen the dog to then sell to an unsuspecting dog lover. Only recently did I find out that puppy mill owners are beginning to falsely identify themselves as animal rescue groups to attract buyers on social media websites
Just when I think the sleaze can’t go any lower, a new “sleaze scheme” comes along. One of the newest is called “dog flipping.” The “flipping” concept was first applied to the housing market. In good economic times, people can buy a house, make a few improvements to the house or simply let a little time pass, and then sell the house for more than they paid. Voila! Money in their pockets for very little effort.
There is nothing illegal about house flipping. People are just gambling that house prices will continue to increase. Dog flipping is similar in concept and is not illegal. However, because it is based on lies to unsuspecting people and involves our faithful pets, it is at best sleazy.
Dog flippers are individuals or small groups of people who scour the newspapers and sales websites, like Craigslist, to find dogs that people have listed as “Free to good home” or “Small rehoming fee required.” The flippers then visit the individual or family advertising the pet. Dog flippers arrive will a sob story about their family and/or why this particular dog is so important to them. “Fido looks just like the dog I had as a child.” They also have a sob story to explain why they have no money. “I just lost my job, but little Johnny has his heart set on a new puppy.”
The unsuspecting family turns their dog over to the flipper feeling relieved of a responsibility while at the same time feeling that they have done a good deed for others. The family has no idea what is really going to happen to their pet.
The flipper takes the dog to a location where other dogs obtained by the same method are housed. These living conditions in no way can be considered a loving home. The flipper next places ads in the very same places initially checked; but this time, the same pet is being SOLD for $60, $100, $200, or whatever he/she thinks the dog will bring. The flipper may “earn” several hundred dollars on the dog the family thought they were giving to a needy family.
This scheme first came to light when a young woman found a listing on Craigslist for the very same dog she had given away the day before. Is the practice of dog flipping illegal? No. Is it “right?” This is a much more difficult question to answer. There are those who would respond that business is business. Some people consider dog flipping as no different than finding a special buy at a rummage sale for $1 and then reselling that item for $1000.
As you might infer from my use of the term “sleazy,” I do not share the views mentioned above. I do not consider a pet to be a commodity to be given away when it no longer fits or becomes inconvenient. Just as we make accommodations when our children sometimes cause problems, we can and should do likewise for our pets. Our pets look to us to care for their every need for their entire life. Taking on a pet should be considered a commitment to do exactly that.
I do realize that sometimes bad things happen and cannot be helped. The Sheltie I just adopted came to me as a result of such a situation. I also know, however, that we can totally eliminate dog flipping by relinquishing our pet to a No Kill shelter or rescue rather than advertising our faithful family member as “Free to a good home.”