CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The next time you let your dog outside, you may want to keep a close eye on them.
There have been several cases of dogs reported stolen in the Charlotte area.
There's a trend called "dog-flipping." It's when someone steals or adopts a dog and then sells the pet for hundreds of dollars.
Ally Montier, a Charlotte woman who owns two pugs, told WBTV she fears she may be a victim of dog flipping.
"I am alone here. My family is in Brazil...they are my kids, they took my kids," said Montier.
According to Montier, on April 26 someone broke into her home and stole her two pugs, Coco Chanel and Valentino.
"Everything was trashed, the dogs stuff was all on the floor, their toys and everything," said Montier.
Montier said amazingly, this is the second time her pugs were stolen. Montier said in November 2014, the pugs were taken out of her home, but were found roaming in south Charlotte and returned her.
However, Montier said this time, she's afraid there will be a different outcome.
"They've been missing for four months," said Montier.
"Some of these highly desired breeds are worth a lot of money....yorkies are probably the number one dog breeds that are stolen," said Public Information Specialist for CMPD Animal Care and Control Melissa Knicely.
Knicely said owners with small, expensive dog are most at risk of becoming victims of dog flipping.
"You post them on social media, many of us are guilty of this....you leave them out in the yard...the next thing you know they're selling it on craigslist," said Knicely.
At the Humane Society of Concord and Greater Cabarrus County, Director Judy Sims said that's exactly where she found one of her shelter's dogs. In this case the dog wasn't stolen, but the seller was trying to 'flip' the dog to make a profit.
"We recently had someone who had adopted a dog and had within two weeks put it out on craigslist...she was selling it for twice the price," said Sims.
Sims said it's not enough for owners to just microchip their pets in order to protect them from this crime.
"You want to get the microchipped registered that's a problem, a lot of people neglect to do that," said Sims.
When it comes to dog flipping pets adopted from shelters, it's against most shelter's policies.
But dog flipping a stolen pet can come with serious consequences.
"If you steal a dog in North Carolina it's a felony and if you're caught you're going to really have some penalties to face," said Knicely.
Montier said in her case, her dogs have been microchipped and registered.
Her friends have started a Facebook page for the dogs and helped her put up signs.
Now, Montier said she's hoping a reward will entice the thief or thieves to bring Valentino and Coco home.
"The reward I'm offering which is $7,000 you can buy like 7 pugs or I don't know whatever you want to do this money just please give me them back I don't care anything else."