Have you ever seen those “free to a good home” posts on Craigslist and other sites? A quick glance through the Cleveland pet listings recently pulled up a few too many listings for me, so I thought I’d take some time to discuss this issue.
(If you have a minute, read these articles first: http://our-compass.org/2012/04/11/free-to-a-good-home-craigslist-dog-killer-sentenced-in-west-virginia/ and http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Person-of-Interest-in-Puppy-Doe-Case-Found-in-New-Britain-Report-229555281.html)
I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but some horrible things have happened to dogs posted online for free. I am sure a lot of the people doing this have good intentions, but too many dogs have ended up in bad circumstances after being posted online for free. Rescue groups often will try to intervene when they see free dog postings as these dogs often end up in one of a few different bad scenarios:
- bait animals for dog fighting
- animal research dogs
- in the hands of animal torturers
- taken to a puppy mill to be a breeder
Another common scenario for these dogs is to end up with people who “pet flip” and find dogs to sell to people who may use them for dog fighting or any of the other above scenarios.
It makes me sad to think of anyone giving up their dog since, evrn though it’s not always rainbows and belly rubs, I cannot imagine my life without him. He is pretty much the best thing in my life and I tell him that every day. But I do live in reality and know that there are circumstances where people really can’t keep a dog, or maybe they just really shouldn’t have a dog to begin with. I very much encourage anyone thinking of getting a dog to think about it very seriously and be willing to commit for life. If you are not willing to think of your dog as a family member, you probably shouldn’t get one.
But, this blog is not really about that, it’s about how you should never post a dog for free on Craigslist, and I’ll take it even further, you should probably never post a dog at all on Craiglist. People involved in dog fighting or puppy mills that search for these ads are experts in making people think they are wonderful owners and will do their best to come off as a responsible dog lover. Although I am sure some really great potential dog owners are searching online on sites like Craiglist, you are still taking a big chance posting a dog there. Although you will turn off some of these offenders by charging a rehoming fee, it’s still a risk.
If you’re reading this blog you are probably not the type of person who would give away their dog, much less post him or her for free online, but maybe you know someone struggling with what to do with their dog. It’s important to spread the word about the options people have if they do find themselves in this situation. The best option, if you don’t want to take the time to screen people closely and find a suitable family, is to check with local rescue groups or no-kill shelters. These groups have screening procedures and are focused on finding the best possible homes for dogs they take in. You could also ask them to do a courtesy post for you and be involved in the rehoming process. To find shelters in your area, check out shelterpetproject.com.
Here’s some other good advice for what to do from the Humane Society: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/finding_responsible_pet_home.html
If you see one of these free posts and are feeling bold, send them a quick email letting them know of the dangers. Chances are the person really might not realize what could happen to the dog.
Check out http://www.puppydoekiya.com for more info on the campaign to stop Craigslist from posting these free dog ads.