Starke County Humane Society officials say people claiming to represent the animal shelter and offering to pick up stray pets may be up to no good. Director Shanna Lloyd says at least one person notified the shelter after having such an encounter.
“We do not go out picking up stray dogs and unwanted animals, because we’re not animal control,” Lloyd says.
On the rare occasions when shelter volunteers do go out to assist the Starke County Sheriff’s Office, they will have identification. She says the imposters are likely animal flippers.
“Individuals get any free dog that they can, whether that be searching down someone that has found a dog, or someone is giving away free puppies or free kittens. Then they turn around and they advertise these animals on websites such as Craigslist or sometimes Facebook pages simply to turn a profit,” Lloyd explains. She says they may also be using the animals as bait for dog fighting.
Lloyd advises anyone who finds a stray animal to check it thoroughly for tags or perhaps a telephone number written on its collar. She also recommends calling the shelter to report found pets. If you do post information on social media, Lloyd recommends keeping it as vague as possible.
“Don’t put down its gender. Don’t put down what color of collar it was wearing, or that it had tags, simply because if you put all of that on these sites, any thief, any dog flipper, can then view your picture and gain as much information as possible to pretend they are actually the owner.”
Lloyd says an animal’s real owner should have that information and more about their missing pet. If you encounter someone you believe is an animal flipper, try to provide as detailed a description as possible of the person and their vehicle to the animal shelter and local authorities.