An increasing number of dog owners are falling victim to a new scam on Craiglist, in which they find their missing pets on the classified ad site, but then have to buy them back.
Known as dog-flipping, the scam begins either with a dog being lost or having escaped from a yard or having been stolen from the owner.
The person who ends up in possession of the pet then offers it for sale online on a site such as Craigslist. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. 11-year-old Yorkshire terrier Sushi escaped from a Houston backyard and was soon found listed for sale on Craigslist.
One family from Houston, Texas, became victim to just such a scam when their 11-year-old Yorkshire terrier, named Sushi, escaped from their yard in December of last year.
On the very same day the family, the Lowes, received a phone call from someone who asked if they were missing a dog, according to ABC.
When the family could not find Sushi, they redialed the number of the person who had called them, but he then flatly denied having any knowledge of the pet.
2. Kara Lowe confronted the seller but the ad was taken down and the trail went cold for seven months.
Then several weeks later, Kara Lowe saw an ad on Craigslist which offered a dog for sale and it looked just like Sushi, however it was now named Sparkle.
Kara immediately contacted the seller, but the ensuing confrontation failed and the trail went cold when the ad was then removed from Craigslist.
Seven months later, a second ad for the same dog appeared on the classified ads site.
This time Kara changed tactics and pretended to be interested in buying the dog. She arranged a meeting with the seller for this past Friday in the parking lot of a Sam’s Club in Cypress, Texas.
3. Kara, pictured here showing how Sushi escaped the yard, paid $250 to get her beloved dog back, despite a friend being able to identify the dog with a microchip scanner.
Kara went to the meeting with Kathy Vasquez, an animal rescuer friend, who brought along a microchip reader, but at first they couldn’t verify that the dog was Sushi. Lowe told ABC:
I didn’t think it was her. Her coat was a different color. She’d been dyed.
Furthermore, the dog didn’t appear to know her. Yet, Kara went ahead with the deal anyway and bought the dog for $250. She said:
It was priceless. I figured even if it wasn’t Sushi, it was somebody’s dog that we could save and try to return.
4. Sushi is now happily back at home playing with the Lowe’s children and two new foster dogs. The message to all dog owners is to make sure your pet is microchipped and to check online listings if your dog is missing.
Kathy Vasquez’s microchip reader then confirmed that the pet was Sushi.
Yet, despite being able to verify the dog’s identity by microchip, the police said they would not investigate, because of a lack of evidence.
5. Sushi was put on CraigsList for sale after escaping from her family’s back yard.
Read more: ABC.
Share this story with your friends and your thoughts in the comments below. Retweet it to your Twitter followers — they would want to read that, too.