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It's called "dog flipping," and it's a crime.

Lock your doggy doors, pet owners. There's a new crimewave that's targeting runaway pups around the country. And like many horrible things on the Internet, it begins when an enterprising scumbag loads up Craigslist.

The scam, called "dog flipping," preys on our better nature. A lot of times when people find stray dogs or runaways, they'll snap a photo and post it to Craigslist, hoping the owner might stumble across the ad. But dog flippers are searching through those posts, too. They'll pretend to be the owner, pick up the dog, then put it up for sale on Craigslist the next day.

It's an easy way to score a pretty sizable payday.

The Indianapolis Star recently documented the case of Raiden, a gorgeous white wolf malamute mix that ran away in June. Thanks to the help of a local group that monitors pet flipping, Raiden's owner found him on Craigslist--for sale. So 22-year-old Elizabeth Arroyo answered the ad and showed up at the woman's house. Raiden recognized his owner immediately The Star detailed what happened next:

After Arroyo and her father talked down the woman’s price to $900, they told her they would go to an ATM to get the cash to finish the deal.

They brought back police instead.

So be careful the next time you purchase a dog over Craigslist. Your cute and cuddly new friend might be a victim of illegal dog trafficking. Stick to the SPCA, folks.

Photo via Epsos.de/Flickr

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