Every year, at least two million pets are stolen from their families. Sometimes, the thieves keep these animals for themselves, but most often, they "flip" them. These stolen dogs end up for sale online, in newspapers or are sold through less savory channels. Often, they'll be advertised as a dog that needs to be rehomed for a fee due to the "owner" experiencing a change in circumstances.
The purpose of dog flipping is to make a quick buck without any regard for the welfare of the pup. Often, caring humans participate in dog flipping by purchasing a dog from a flipper, believing them to be the pup's real owner. Tragically, many flipped dogs end up in dog fighting rings. If the pups are purebred, they can end up in a puppy mill.
While pet theft is illegal, there are very few laws that address stealing a pet with the intent of selling it for profit. New Jersey Senator Nick Scutari plans on changing that.
“We started to do a little digging on it and we see where people are stealing animals and then selling them, especially more expensive ones, but sometimes it’s an average family pet or a rescue dog. If somebody were to steal my dog I would be devastated."
Senator Scutari proposed legislation that would make dog flipping a third degree crime in New Jersey. It would be punishable by an up to $15,000 fine and/or three to five years in prison.
Scutari says that while this bill will make it easier to punish criminals, the driving force behind the legislation is to keep families together.
“When a pet is stolen people are devastated. Families are essentially broken apart and broken up. These animals are a part of their family.”
High paws Senator Scutari! We hope the law passes and that other states follow your lead!
Feature image via @jstreator.