Monday, June 17, 2013

Warning: "Pet Flipping" on the rise

A friend of ours on twitter brought to our attention a news story from a local TV station warning about a new scam - pet flipping - that targets dog lovers.

What it is

Say you find a lost dog wandering your neighborhood. As a good citizen, what do you do?

Clyde the bulldog. Photo: public domain.
Take photos, and then hang flyers in the neighborhood, at the local market, even perhaps in the lost and found section of your local paper or on craigslist.

You get a call from someone, and they sound both frantic and relieved at the same time: "omigosh, you found my dog! We've been worried sick!"

You meet with the person who gratefully takes said pup off your hands and you feel this warm glow because you've helped reunite a family member.

But then you happen to be cruising through craigslist the next day and you see a photo of the dog you rescued up for sale. You - and the pet's real owner - have just fallen victim to the current new scam: pet flipping.

What you can do

Sometimes even the most meticulous pet owner can lose a pet. It might be a pet sitter who accidentally leaves a door ajar, or a secure fence that develops weaknesses your pup can exploit. Regardless, you can't assume that your indoor pet will remain indoors every moment of their life. And how many of you own pets that you believe are secretly related to Houdini, please raise your hands?

Houdini? Who, me? *innocent look*
Then there are natural disasters such as flood, fire, or tornado.

And yes, this can happen to you.

When we were so personally involved in the fire that devoured Sebastian's home and the homes of 20 other families, two pets were lost.

One, to our knowledge, was never recovered. The other one was found, and restored to  his grateful owners, but only because of one little detail: he was microchipped.

Microchips save lives & reunite families

Here are a few facts you may not have known about lost pets, courtesy of Found Animals. And please take special note of how a microchip can improve your chances of reuniting with your cat:

The Good News

An increasing number of shelters are microchipping all animals adopted out. And awareness of the benefits of microchipping your pet is increasing among pet owners.

The Bad News

According to studies published in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA), over 40% of pets that are implanted with microchips cannot be found in a pet registry database anywhere.

What you need to do

Is your pet microchipped? Great! If not, I urge you to please consider doing so at your earliest convenience.  But more importantly, have you registered your microchipped loved one in a registry?
We have. Our three are registered with Petlink, the company associated with our microchip manufacturer. However, we recently received an email from FoundAnimals about a free national microchip registry here in the US.

Regardless of your microchip's manufacture - and regardless of whether or not you're in another registry already - you can enter your information into Found Animal's Microchip registry for free.

According to their website,

"The Found Animals Microchip Registry is a free, nonprofit service dedicated to reuniting lost pets with their families. By registering your pet's microchip number in the Found Animals Microchip Registry, if your pet is ever lost and picked up by a humane organization or individual, you will be contacted via phone, email, and text with information on where your pet can be found.

"There is no coest to use the Found Animals Microchip Registry. You can register any brand of microchip, add pets, and update your information for free online 24/7."

Why registries are important

Did you know? A microchip does not store your pet's information. It simply sends a number to a microchip reader when the reader activates it (the microchip remains completely dormant all other times).

An owner must go online and fill in the information - name, address, contact info, veterinarian, medical issues, etc - or the implanted microchip is, in essence, useless.

So please... Microchip. Register. And update your information regularly.
And please encourage friends and family to do the same.


  1. How awful that people do such thing as pet-flipping :(
    Me I´m chipped and YES I´m registered too :)

  2. It never ceases to amaze me what criminals will think of next!!

    Austin is microchipped and registered. I believe we have a national register in the UK!

  3. That is just horrid. We'd never had thought people could be so horrid. We are both chipped and registered. Have a marvellous Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  4. Pet flipping? What will they think of next? MOUSES!

    I just wanna mention that those tatts some cats get, don't really work. My brother, Seville, has a tatt in his ear. Came to us that way. The peeps called every doctor for miles around and even contacted the SPCA in another province but... well... now I have a brother named Seville so you can kind of guess how that worked out. Problem is, there's no national registry for tatts. Just wanted to let everyone know 'bout that.


  5. I am chipped and registered but we don't think Audrey is. We need to ask our vet to check. I guess then if we have the vet tell us the number, we could register her? Her first Mom doesn't remember if she was chipped by the adoption agency when she adopted her. But presumably if she was, she was never registered (her Mom was furry furry busy with her work back then).

  6. oooh...goodness how awful. Maybe it good idea if yoo find a pet and someone calls saying it ders dat yoo require piccies before giving it to dem? And maybe get da police involved if it is posted fer sale on Craig's list, dey can always set up a sting..if da awful person is doing it once chances are dey doing it a lot! Mom used to work pt at a police dept and first ting dey did when a stray dog or cat was found was to check for microchip. Many many times da poor ting had 1 but it wasn't registered...very sad. TANKS for da info on de free registry site...I's goin der right now. *poof*

  7. we are HUGE proponents of microchips!!! but they have to be registered.... it makes mom moan when an animal comes in with a chip and no info. as for "pet flipping": grrrrrrr

  8. you would be horribly surprised how many people microchip and don't register.. and then even those that do register often forget to keep the information updated.

  9. When I was adopted, I was microchipped also and mom was told to register me - which she did. It's such a simple thing to do;. Pet flipping is a scary thing. Even 25+ years ago, when M had a schnauzer, she was afraid to leave him by himself in the front yard because there were reportings of some pedigreed dogs being snatched and then probably sold. Thanks for this important update. Every anipal should be microchipped - just in case. It's such a simple things to do for added protection.

  10. I never heard of pet flipping - the only kind of flipping I ever knew about was when my human flipped me on my side to rub my tummy (unlike the kitty in my advice column today, I love tummy rubs!).

    My human is going to register my microchip with Found Animals today! She keeps forgetting, which is SO not helpful.

  11. This is SUCH an important post! Although Katie and Waff are both chipped, I was not aware of this registry. I'll be sure to look up their chip info and take care of this.

    Although the closest they will come to going "outside" is a trip in the PTU to the vet, we know that crazy things can happen. When Katie was a kitten, she slipped out the front door as we were carrying bags inside. We didn't notice for about a half hour and it was the dead of winter!!! When I couldn't find her inside, I went outside and called for her. There she came, scampering out of a bush, terrified and cold.

    You are right. IT CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE.

    xo Glogirly

  12. that is beyond awful!! Dakota is microchipped but Cody isn't. Even with microchipping I would be worried that no one would even check to see if the dog IS microchipped!

  13. Pet flipping? How awful...I'd never heard of this before and can't believe that there are folks this cruel out there...The meanness of some people just astounds me...And thank you for info on the FoundAnimals registry...Gizmo is registered through the shelter where I adopted him but I'm going to register him with FoundAnimals now cause you can't be too safe where a lost pet is concerned

  14. Sounds like a pretty scary thing! Registering a microchip is so important - I agree. Many times, we would find microchips in lost pets but when we contacted the chip company the owners had never registered the chips or when they adopted the pet from the shelter they had never updated the information. Half the microchips would just point back to the shelter.

  15. O.M.D. This is just terrible. Why are people so cruel to one another?!? I want to check out the Found Animals site...always good to have your chip registered in more than one place. Thanks for the tip!

  16. That is just horrible! Why would someone do that? I had never heard of this before, thanks for the warning!

  17. Thanks for this post. We had no idea about either!!

  18. BJ was microchipped before I adopted him from the Humane Society in NYC. All of the cats and dogs are microchipped before they are allowed to be adopted They gave me the paperwork to transfer registration from the HS to me. The fee was only $15.

    Every shelter should do this if possible. In the same way the animals are neutered and spayed, they should be microchipped.

  19. We contact our pets' microchip companies annualy just to make sure they are still around, and that the information they have is correct.

  20. Thank you for this excellent info. Only two of our kitties are microchipped. I have thought of doing the others and probably will. I had no idea that the microchips had to be registered. That will be the next thing I do. One of the microchipped kitties, Astrid, is an escape artist so I'm doing this right away. Thanks again, Janet

  21. We are all microchipped! But we will tell TBT to be very careful of returning any found pets to unverified owners.

  22. Thank you guys for commenting and sharing. We think this post in particular is very important! And we are trying very hard to recover our PC so we can come visit everyone again. Currently it's repairing disck errors and such and Mommy's a bit skeered!

  23. What an awful thing to do (the pet flipping, not the microchip). We are still waiting for a national registry for microchips in our country. Until then, there is really no point microchipping.

  24. yikes that is absolutely awful.. We are both chipped..have a wonderful day xx00xxx

    Mollie and Alfie

  25. In France, all dogs and cats now must be microchipped and there is only one database so that works pretty well.

    The Chans


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