Tracking dog flipping cases in Springfield

We're looking into cases of stolen dogs in the Springfield area and cases of so called dog flipping, where someone steals your dog and then sells it online.

It's happened to several people who posted their lost dogs on Leigh's Lost and Found, including the owner of Nova. Someone tried to sell her on Craigslist. The buyer thought something was fishy and found out through the site that Nova was actually missing.

Springfield police say if your dogs is stolen, you need to file a report immediately.

"Provide documentation with the report, photos or any documentation proving you're the owner like vet records. And we do encourage people to scour the internet, look on facebook and Craigslist, if they think it was an unknown person who stole the dog."

Between 2013 up until today, Springfield police say cases of stolen dogs have stayed pretty level, with about 60-80 reported every year.
They say many of the cases involve someone who knows the owner
or thinks the owner is mistreating the dog.

Animal control says your best prevention is to keep your animal inside as often as you can.

"If that's not possible, there are six sided pens that you can buy or build that you can have in your backyard for your animal for when you're not home. Those are much more difficult for people to break into."

And a warning to any potential thieves, animal theft is considered a felony and carries some pretty stiff penalties, depending on the case.