5 on Your Side: Pet flipping follow up

WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. - "Meow" resonated through the bars of the pet taxi on the floor of the Webster Grove Animal Hospital.

This is familiar territory for Leo. He ended up here in late December, four months after he got out of his owner's home.

"They called and said they found Leo and I couldn't believe it, couldn't believe it," said Mardene Rowland, as she watched her cat slink around a small enclosed space in the hospital.

The hospital called her after Leo's chip came back to registered to her. Rowland looked everywhere for Leo after he disappeared. He wasn't anywhere on the streets. Then she found him. There he was, on Craiglist. She recognized him instantly. She said he's looks very distinctive. He's a Bengal. The Craigslist ad asked for a re-homing fee.

"They were going to make a quick buck," said Rowland. She put her own ad in response to the ad with Leo, asking people not to buy Leo, and he was stolen.

A 5 on Your Side investigation in November showed how pet flippers were stealing pets and selling them on Craigslist. Pet owners often don't see their pets again. Our investigation took us to Indianapolis.

Indianapolis police officer Teresa Redmon said she is overwhelmed with the number of pet flipping cases she works.

"These animals are being stolen, those are crimes," said Redmon.

Rowland believes Leo got away from whoever had him, the same way he got away from her. He saw an open door and bolted. The bars of a cage will now separate him from freedom from now on. It's as close as he'll get to the outside world.

Veterinarians say microchipping your pet is extremely important. It could cost up to $75. Some vets offer microchipping for free when your pet is spayed or neutered.


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