Avoiding "pet flippers" when selling pets online

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Pet flipping, it's when you buy an animal for a small price or get it for free. But then you turn around and sell the animal to make a profit. This is becoming an all too common and easy way for people to make some extra cash. We were contacted through our Whistleblower Hotline about a local woman who believes her dog was a victim of a pet flipper.

"It really disheartens me to know that somebody could be mistreating and misusing these dogs," says a local woman.

An F-M area woman who wishes to remain anonymous, put her dog up for sale on Craigslist. She listed her dog, Jade for free. She has a baby on the way and thought it was a lot to handle.

In a matter of hours, Jade's Owner thought she found a perfect new home for the dog.

"I am recently retired and I live near a dog park. I have all kinds of time to spend with her. That thrilled me," says the woman.

The dog was given to the new owner, but what happened next was completely unexpected. The new owner says the dog was too rambunctious and she was going to put it back on Craigslist.

"My best friend saw an ad on Craigslist of her trying to re-home Jade. I thought, that's fine she told me she was going to look for a new home for her. But she was selling her for $125, when I gave her the dog for free," says the woman.

Jade's original owner ended up tracking down the new family that Jade was sold to. She now wants to warn others about pet flipping.

"It just lead me to believe that this woman may be selling dogs for profit. In the F-M area, people take their pets so seriously and we love our pets, whether or not we can keep them," says the woman.

Cases similar to this are pretty common, according to the American Kennel Club. Heather Clyde is the manager at the Homeward Animal Shelter. She says, you have to be careful when selling a dog online.

"Anytime you're giving away a free animal, you always risk the chance that they end up with an animal flipper or something else is happening that is not in the best interest of the animal," says Homeward Animal Shelter Manager, Heather Clyde.

We tried reaching out to the alleged pet flipper. She was not willing to speak on camera but denies all accusations.

Heather says in order to avoid pet flippers, make sure you're giving the pet away to a trusting person. Ask for references, including from their veterinarian. Surrendering the pet to a humane society will ensure you're not giving it to someone who just wants to make a profit.