JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It's a crime happening all across the country: So-called dog-flipping is robbing families of their pets, and allowing thieves to cash in on it.
One woman who lives in Jacksonville's East Arlington area told News4Jax on Tuesday that it happened to her this weekend, and she wants to prevent it from happening to anyone else.
It was thanks to a good Samaritan, who realized something wasn't right and did the right thing, that Kristy Bryan now has her 2-year-old Cairn Terrier, Dougie, back. Still, the dog's rightful owner said she she hopes the dog thief will be caught.
Dougie has since been reunited with his family. But over the weekend, Bryan wasn't sure if she would ever see him again.
"I went looking for him immediately, of course," Bryan said. "But then I went looking for him again and I started to worry pretty bad after I didn’t hear anything."
Dougie disappeared Sunday. But though he had a collar and a microchip, there was no word on his whereabouts. That’s when Bryan became suspicious, and started searching the internet.
"I started searching Craigslist ads that day. I actually came across the ad where he was being sold, but the woman used different pictures of a different dog and I discarded it. I didn’t realize it was actually him," Bryan said.
It turns out, Bryan said, the dog was for sale. She said a Craiglist post was advertising her dog with a $300 price tag. It listed a slightly different breed and showed photos of a similar dog, but it was Dougie, Bryan said.
An unsuspecting buyer bought the dog from a still unknown woman, but later became suspicious when things just weren't adding up.
"She paid for him for her and her daughters to have," Bryan said. "Then, after she realized that he was stolen, that’s when she started to look on Craigslist to find if there was a lost dog that matched his description and she saw my ad."
That woman, who's now out $300 bucks and is consoling two upset daughters, returned Dougie to his rightful owner. Her one request: Get the thief off the streets.
"There's no emotion like that when someone does something so kind for you. It was just a very emotional situation for everybody involved," Bryan said.
Both women want the thief to be arrested.
Bryan told News4Jax that she has been in contact with police and hopes this doesn't happen to anyone else.