Undercover 2NEWS Investigation: Risks of buying dogs and puppies online

TULSA - Chances are you've heard of "house-flipping."

It's the practice of buying a house on the cheap, fixing it up and selling it for a profit.

But have you heard of "dog-flipping?" It's the same principle as flipping houses, and it's perfectly legal. With flipping dogs however, the pups may not be what they seem.

In a 2NEWS Investigation, we went undercover to meet someone who was selling puppies we found on Craigslist.

WATCH the uncut video of the meeting by clicking on the video attached to this story.

We responded to an ad for dachshund puppies and met a woman who called herself Alyssa. She told us she worked for Gabbie Lott, and they were part of a pet rescue called Paws.

"We do a lot of rescues," Alyssa told our undercover crew. "We watch Craigslist to make sure all the animals are taken care of."

Alyssa said they get the dogs, give them shots and then sell them through Craigslist.

She told us the $120 that Paws was charging for the pair of dachshund puppies we were asking about goes back to the charity.

The ads said the puppies had their shots and had been de-wormed, that's what Lott told our undercover crew too. "They have been given their shots," she said.

While poring over ads online, we discovered Gabbie Lott's phone number showed up half a dozen times or more when we searched for puppies on Craigslist. Those ads included Red Heeler, Pitt and Hound pups for sale.

Rebecca Smith rescues puppies. She rescued a Pitt mix named Tyga a couple months ago, which later had puppies. Smith put the puppies on Craigslist and got a response right away.

Smith says the woman who showed up to get the dogs was Gabbie Lott. The same woman Alyssa told us she worked for.

Two hours after Lott took the puppies, Smith says at least one of the dogs was for sale on Craigslist.

"I thought well maybe the puppy didn't work out, but it's like how can a dog not work out within two hours," Smith said.

Getting dogs free or cheap and then selling them for a profit is called dog-flipping, and it's perfectly legal.

But you should check out the seller and the claims in the ad before buying a dog or pet online.

RELATED STORY: How and where our Facebook fans say they buy, adopt dogs

We checked on the "Paws" charity, and found no record. Alyssa told our undercover crew that she was a vet assistant at Banfield.

That didn't check out either. We called the Banfield Pet Hospital. We were told Alyssa doesn't work at any of their locations.

We asked Lott for an on-camera interview but she declined, so we paid her visit at her home.

We noted nine dogs in her front yard. City ordinance only allows for three.

Lott didn't answer the door but did peak out the window.

As it turns out, Gabbie Lott and Alyssa are the same person.

While Gabbie Lott didn't answer the door, she did talk to us by phone, denying dog-flipping. She also told us the so-called charity she said the money is going to is not set up yet, but she says she's working on it.

And remember this claim she made to our undercover crew, "They have been given their shots."

When we asked for the shot and vet records, she declined to provide them to 2NEWS.

The Humane Society says that's not a good sign.

"You need to be very, very cautious," said Gina Gardner, president of the Tulsa Humane Society.

Advice from the Humane Society of Tulsa about buying pets online

"If you're placing a dog, or if you're looking to adopt a dog, that you be very, very careful on Craigslist," Gardner said. "And we're really appreciative to Channel 2 for trying to get the word out there."

Dog-flipping is legal, but it is a case of buyer beware.

2NEWS Investigator Marla Carter will be on Facebook and Twitter Monday night. She wants to hear what you think. Tweet her using the hashtag #2investigation.




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