Michigan Dog Flippers

Dog Flippers? This may be new to you, but Michigan has plenty of them! They are people who misrepresent themselves and their motives in the process of obtaining a dog from an individual or a family – only to turn around and sell the dog for a profit. 

Here are some that have been caught!

2009 Rick and Maria Sherman were featured on the Hall of Shame Report on WJBK Channel 2 by Rob Wolchek on the night of 2/25/09.

2010 Joe Yaquinto was exposed by Channel 4 Defenders Hank Winchester for flipping dogs in Shelby Township. PMA’s investigation. 

Flipping Dogs
Unfortunately I’m not referring to dogs doing gymnastics.  “Flipping dogs” refers to a money-making practice similar to flipping houses.  The flipper obtains dogs for free or at a low cost by responding to ads in newspapers or on Craig’s List.  The flipper then advertises those same dogs for sale on Craig’s List for a higher price.

Flipping dogs is not illegal.  And if the flipper was honest with the people that he obtained dogs from, it really wouldn’t even be unethical.  But it seems that flippers generally aren’t operating on the up and up.  And whenever someone is dealing in dogs for financial gain, you have to worry about the level of care that will be provided to the animals and the attention that will be paid to finding a good and permanent home for them. 

I appreciate it when people take responsibility and work to find new homes for their pets on their own.  Shelters and rescue groups have limited resources and transferring an animal from one home to another is less stressful for the animal than admission to a shelter.  However, people who place ads in the newspaper or online looking to re-home their pets cannot rely on the promises of a total stranger.

When animals are relinquished to the a Humane Society their health is monitored by a trained staff and they receive medical treatment when needed.  Precautions are taken to prevent the spread of disease.  The staff understands animal behavior and prevents animals from doing harm to each other.  Animals are handled humanely.  The facility is regulated by the Department of Agriculture, governed by a board of directors, and constantly faces public scrutiny.  A screening process is used to avoid placing animals with hoarders, flippers, felons or anyone who has a record of not providing appropriate care for pets.  None of these protections exist for animals in the hands of a flipper. 

So what can be done to stop flippers?  Not a lot, but it depends in part on where they are located.  In some areas there are laws that regulate the number of animals a person can house in their home.  Zoning laws may regulate how many animals a person can house on their property.  Obviously, flippers can be charged and prosecuted for other crimes related to humane care for animals and animal cruelty if sufficient evidence of such crimes can be obtained.  Humane Investigators and Animal Control officers rely on the public for tips about suspected animal neglect, dog fighting, hoarding, or abuse.  Now we all also need to keep an eye out for flippers.