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MSNBC TV
updated 7/16/2013 2:46:58 PM ET 2013-07-16T18:46:58

The thieves steal dogs and cats and then use lost-pet posting websites to track down the owners. Pet-flippers then promise to return the pets for a ‘reward’ or a fee.

A new brand of thieves has figured out a way to cash in on that invaluable bond between pet owners and their four-legged friends. It’s being called ‘pet-flipping’—although pet-napping might be a more appropriate term.

The thieves steal dogs and cats and then use lost-pet postings online to track down the owners. Pet-flippers then promise to return the pets for a ‘reward’ or a fee.

It’s a scam that’s been reported from Indiana to Kansas to Virginia and has animal advocates very concerned.

“I think this has been going on for a long time, potentially under the radar but with the increase in social media, it’s come to the forefront, ”said Daniel Shackle in an interview with Chris Jansing Tuesday. Shackle, Indianapolis’ Animal Care & Control Administrator, warned that the best way to ensure you’re re-united with your pet is to micro-chip your dogs and cats, and to contact your local police department or animal control center if your pet goes missing. He also recommended checking lost pet websites and local shelters.

Watch Chris Jansing’s interview with Daniel Shackle, Animal Care and Control Administrator for Indianapolis, below: 

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