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Helen Smith


November 12, 2013 - 4:00 pm


I was recently looking at the news site of our local station and saw a story on how pets are being stolen and “flipped” for cash:

(KSDK) Criminals are finding a new way to make money on other people’s pets. They’re flipping pets, and it’s happening across the country.

Flipping is stealing a pet and reselling it on places like Craigslist, Facebook, Ebay and other websites. Victims across the country said they tried to file police reports to report their pets stolen but many couldn’t. Law enforcement agencies wouldn’t take the report.

In Indianapolis, a full-time officer is hunting down the flippers and charging them.

Officer Theresa Redmon was able to get an older dog named Stewart back to his owners. He disappeared on his mother’s wedding night from his home.

“I hit the street, I was out looking for him,” said Jenelle Carr. She and her 5-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son and husband spent nine heartbreaking days looking for him. “I couldn’t sleep. He’s a Chihuahua. He’s deformed, he has no nails, no teeth.”

Carr knew somebody snatched Stewart. She switched from searching the streets to surfing the web. She landed on a website called Indy Lost Pet Alert.

My question is “how do you make money off a deformed Chihuahua with no nails or teeth? Are they that much in demand?

An officer in the article says the following:

“If you found my kid, my child, my daughter, would you put her on Craigslist tomorrow? It’s the same thing” she said. “Pets are a part of their owner’s family.”

Really? Yes, pets are important but are they as important as a person? So many people are substituting “fur children” for kids that maybe it really is getting to be the same thing. Don’t get me wrong. It’s terrible that anyone should be stealing pets and the police should take a report and find them, but to equate a dog with one’s child seems a bit overboard to me. But maybe I’m wrong on this one, given all the books and TV shows on pets. America is obviously obsessed with them.

What do you think?

Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.

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All Comments   (6)
All Comments   (6)
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"He disappeared on his mother’s wedding night from his home."

No he did not.

He may have disappeared from his owner's home, but not his mother's.

Dogs don't get married, and dogs don't own homes.

People who speak about dogs as if they are children are... children.

At best.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There are two solutions to this problem.

#1. Don't let your animals roam free. If people really love their cats and dogs they should always be inside or outside only when you are there to watch them. Dogs are easy to walk on a leash but cats can be leashed as well. I adopted a 5-year-old feral cat who adjusted very well to a harness and leash. Kittens, of course, are easier to train.

#2.) With so many unwanted mixed-breed dogs needing homes it's so much kinder to adopt one of them rather than spend thousands on a fancy pure-bred dog. Mutts probably don't fetch the high prices that the pedigreed dogs do and are therefore less tempting to steal.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If people will steal your dog or other pet, they will steal your car, break into your house, take whatever they can get. God forbid, if they could turn a quick buck w/o consequences, they might even steal your child.

I look at this as an extension of James Q. Wilson's 'Broken Windows Theory', where if you signal no tolerance for petty crime, then you stand a much better chance of preventing more serious crime.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The child-rearing practices of the last few generations have a lot to do with it. Theoretically, a child's life is more valuable than a domestic pet's ... but modern children are often raised & disciplined in a way that makes such a fact considerably less than obvious on its face, one that has to be taken on faith in spite of all appearances.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There's trauma in that wee lil' face..... TRAUMA!!1!.......
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's a chihuahua. Of COURSE there's trauma in that face.

For chihuahuas, being looked at can be trauma. Merely EXISTING is mostly trauma.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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