'Dog-flipping' a worrisome new trend across U.S.
Some want to make money off man's best friend
You might have heard about flipping houses, but what about flipping dogs? It's a new trend sweeping the nation.
Dog-flipping is when someone steals or buys a dog, then turns around and quickly sells them. Although it's not as common here in Bend, it has happened before.
"We had a situation where we adopted a couple puppies out with a standard $65 adoption fee, and within 24 hours they were listed in the Bulletin for over $500," said Humane Society of Central Oregon Shelter Manager Karen Burns.
Buying dogs for cheap, then reselling them for a lot more is just one way dog flippers are turning man's best friend into man's best money-maker.
Stealing or claiming a lost pet is another.
"The challenge we run into with a lot of thefts with dogs, animals are no different is, how can you identify that that piece of property or that animal is yours," said Bend police Community Service Officer Bob Gaede.
Although collars are helpful, they can be easily removed. The number one way to protect your pooch?
"A microchip -- it's much harder to disguise or remove that," said Gaede said.
Keeping your pup's microchip information up to date is key. You can flag a chip if your dog is stolen.
According to the American Kennel Club, thefts are on the rise, increasing nearly 30 percent between January and May compared to a year ago.
It's a shocking number for many of us in 'Dog Town USA.'
"That's just not fair, because most of us care so much about our dogs, especially in this great Bend area," said Bend resident Madeline Bednarek.
Stealing an animal is a felony.
If you are looking to "re-home" a pet, be warned: There is nothing illegal about someone selling an animal they bought, even if it is the next day, for much more than they paid.
"Those dogs legally belong to those people, at that point," said Burns.
Dog-flippers usually target sites like Craigslist and newspaper classifieds, so buyer and seller beware.
The Humane Society of Central Oregon recommends taking time to get a feel for the people interested in your dog, and watching them interact.
"This is a living, breathing thing that you're giving away, and you want to make sure that you're doing right by that animal," said Burns.
To some the dog could look like a large profit, but to others a new family member.
Police also warn pet owners about tying dogs up outside of businesses. They say since no one knows who that dog belongs to, it can be any easy way for your dog to be stolen.
Copyright 2013 KTVZ. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed