Dog-stealing trend on the rise in Eastern North Carolina - WNCT

Dog-stealing trend on the rise in Eastern North Carolina

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Pet owners beware.

Veterinarians want you to know about a disturbing new trend. It's called "Pet Flipping."

People steal your dog or cat from your yard and then sell it.

In the last two days, two Pitt County families have become victims of this disturbing crime trend. Fortunately, they both were able to get their dogs back.

A Pit bull named "Spike" was one of the dogs stolen.

"I was scared that somebody was going to try to fight him, knowing that he's a Pit and I didn't want them to do that, cause you know, he's not a fighting dog," said Spike's owner, Chris.

Someone Chris' family knew spotted the dog with a suspicious person. No charges have been filed yet, but investigators say it's a disturbing new crime trend. A crime that became personal for Patty Richardson in 2010 when spotted a strange man in her driveway.

"I'm not saying this man took our dog... but what I'm saying is my dog disappeared while he was on our property," said Richardson.

Sadly, Richardson never found her dog.

"Although the theft of a dog is a felony in North Carolina, I can understand it's not top on the priority list for law enforcement. They're so over worked with crimes," said Richardson.

She decided to take matters into her own hands. Several years later she's now a private investigator with "Private Eyes" in Greenville. Her specialty is crimes involving pets. Richardson's been able to reunite pet owners with their stolen animals, in part, because of microchips.

It's something Dr. Sarah McCain at "Spay Today" says she can't stress enough.

"Collars and tags fall off. In that case the microchip is a great way for you to prove your dog is yours, if it is lost or stolen and if it's found, for that dog to be returned to you," she said.

For Spike's family…a happy ending and a lesson learned. He now has a microchip.

"I don't know how they got him the first time without us knowing but we're going to keep a close eye on him now," said his owner.

"Spay Today" in Pitt County now offers a microchip clinic the second Tuesday of every month. It's a very simple process and it's only $25.00. All you have to do is walk in.

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