'Dog-flipping' investigation results in theft, firearms arrest

Police: Stolen dogs peddled on Craigslist

INDIANAPOLIS - A man was arrested last month after a three-month investigation of suspected "dog flipping."

Indianapolis Animal Care and Control said an investigation of Johnny Jones Jr., of Indianapolis, began in January when a couple called IACC to report their German shepherd, "Ceazer," had been stolen in a Craigslist scam.

Jones was charged in February with felony theft and being a serious violent felon in possession of firearms.

Police seized the weapons and four dogs, including two German shepherds.

Dog flipping is similar to the more well-known house flipping. Flippers typically hang out on Craigslist and other classifieds sites looking for people who are getting rid of their pets.

"Many of these pets are housed in puppy mill-like conditions until they can be flipped -- no food or water, caged and sick," said Dawn Contos, of IACC, in a news release. "Many times those animals that can't be flipped are dumped to fend for themselves."

IACC said that Jones been acquiring dogs for years, typically purebred German shepherds, rottweilers and pit bulls.

In one instance, IACC said, Jones purchased a German shepherd from a woman and "cried and spent an hour with her getting to know the dog" before the woman found her dog posted for sale on Craigslist a few days later with Jones' phone number.

"Jones also operated a dog obedience and personal protection (attack) training facility in his living room," Contos said. "It is suspected that he bred dogs that he acquired to his clients' purebred dogs without their knowledge and then profited from the sales of the litters."

IACC said Jones dumped Ceazer, but that someone found the dog and took him to a vet, learning that the dog had been stolen and making arrangements for him to be returned to his owners.

Experts recommend that families, if they must, surrender their animals to rescue groups or to people they know. Pet owners should have their animals spayed or neutered and should invest in microchips.

"We charge only $10 for a microchip. I'd say the animal in this incident that started this all off, if he hadn't been microchipped, the chances of us getting him home probably would have been a lot worse," said Marcus Brown, deputy chief of enforcement for IACC.

More Information: Indianapolis Animal Care and Control

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