In a scam known as "dog-flipping," Arkansas residents are on the lookout for con artists who are stealing family dogs, then selling them online.
It's every pet owner's nightmare - your dog is stolen right from your own yard, only to be sold to bidders in an online yard sale. Some central Arkansas residents have coined the term "dog-flipping," and everyone is on the lookout for these cruel perpetrators.
Sherwood, Arkansas resident Dawn Baty and her pint-sized senior pooch Misty were victimized by the scam.
"She doesn't ever run off because she's so little and old," Dawn said in an interview with Arkansas Matters.
"I went inside I think to just put my purse down, I mean just a matter of seconds I came back outside and she was nowhere to be found."
After searching every inch of her neighborhood with no luck, Baty took to social media, posting Misty on a local lost and found group on Facebook. It wasn't long before a kind citizen reached out with some surprising info.
"Someone from there sent me a message and said 'Is this your dog?'," Baty said. "And they actually sent me a picture of where she was posted on a yard sale site in a totally different town."
Group admin Brittany Hodges sees cases like this a couple of times a month, often resulting in the original owner attempting to buy their own dog back. Once flippers realize they're in contact with the owner, some get cold feet and scramble to sell the dog at a low rate, or just end up dumping the dog at a local shelter, which is exactly what happened in Baty's case.
Despite the trauma of having her dog held hostage, things worked out for Baty and Misty, but some aren't so lucky, and because pet ownership isn't so clearly defined by Arkansas state law, it's pretty much impossible to convict a dog flipper of their crime.
To keep your own dog safe, it's recommended to have them microchipped as photos, vet records, and even papers will do little to provide proof of ownership. To date, there are no cases of anyone being prosecuted for dog-flipping in Arkansas.
Tell us what you think about dog-flipping in the comments below.
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