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FRANKLIN, TN – Animal advocates are warning of a growing trend in Middle Tennessee called dog flipping.
Experts said criminals are walking right into fenced-in yards and taking dogs in broad daylight.
Hermitage resident Brian Savage believes he almost became a victim. He heard his two dogs barking Sunday night and went outside to check on them.
“I saw a man standing at the gate and he was fiddling with the gate,” Savage said.
Savage asked the man what he was doing, first politely and then with a little more vigor.
“I said, ‘Hey what do you want?'” he said.
Savage said the man took off in car parked by the fence and was followed by a van parked around the corner.
“They floored it down this road. They must have been going 40 at least,” Savage said.
Savage did some research and found stories similar to his.
Animal rights advocate Laura Turner said dog flipping is a growing trend.
“Unfortunately with growing social media and things like Craigslist, there is much more accessibility,” Turner said.
She’s seeing more criminals stealing dogs, even adopting them for a low price at a shelter and then selling them online.
“The thought of someone taking Sadie or Addie and selling them just for profit and to never know what was going to happen to them – if they were starved or fighting dogs or what,” Savage said. “They are my family and I don’t want them to leave my side.”
Turner suggests pet owners microchip their animals.
She said pet owners should also change up your routine because dog flippers are watching, and people on a set schedule are the most vulnerable victims.
“It’s kind of like leaving your Christmas packages in your car. It’s an invitation for someone with ill intent,” Turner said.
Savage is sharing his story so others keep a watchful eye.
“They are not just a piece of property. They are my family,” Savage said.
Turner said anyone planning to buy a dog online should meet the owner before making payments. They should also request vet records. If something doesn’t feel right, report it.