I regularly check the pet section on Craigslist. I don’t know why I do it. It’s a lot like watching a train wreck and my heart alternately breaks while I seethe with anger over some of the things posted there.
There are so many dogs that people need to get rid of for various reasons that you wonder why people bother getting a pet in the first place. I think they hold grandiose dreams of what it will be like to have a pet and all the wonderful things they will do with them. They get the puppy/dog home and reality sets in. Dogs are WORK. Dogs cost MONEY. You can’t just throw them in your backyard and call it done. More people need to carefully think about what it takes to own a dog BEFORE they bring one into their home.
I really get mad over the posts of people looking for a “free puppy”. There was a post awhile back from a guy who was looking for a free puppy for his wife’s birthday. He had spent all his money on supplies for her party and had no money to purchase a puppy but wanted to get her one as a gift. While the sentiment is nice, if you can’t afford even an adoption fee from a shelter you have no business getting a dog. If you have no money how will you buy supplies? Food? Pay for vet bills? Think please…
I understand that life circumstances and changes in lifestyle can often cause you to have to re-home a dog when all other options are exhausted. There ARE almost always options though. If you purchased your dog from a breeder, the breeder is always the first option to take the dog back. This is of course assuming you bought from a reputable breeder in the first place (which you really should do, avoiding any back yard breeders). If you have a purebred you can also always find a rescue group that will take them in, foster them, give them the attention they need and make sure they are placed in the best possible home they can find.
That being said, there are far too many situations I see on Craigslist that are appalling.
Craigslist recommends you always ask a re-homing fee to ensure that they are going to an actual home and not a lab or testing facility. However, just how much you should ask for seems to be in constant contention. It’s clear that there are people who are simply trying to sell an “oops” litter of puppies or those who are trying to make a profit. If you’re concerned with whom your dog is going to then you need to check them out. Go with your gut. Never set a fixed re-homing fee. If you meet someone and they seem like they are good people who will give your dog a great home and they want to pay you less, take it! The number one priority here should be finding your dog another fantastic home (presumably better than you could provide).
What I find most appalling are the people who are getting rid of their dog because of the following:
- We are having a baby. AND? A baby doesn’t mean you need to ditch your dog! Does this mean when you have another baby you’ll have to get rid of the older sibling? “I’m sorry Joe. You’re 2 now and we’ve decided to have another baby and we just won’t have the time to pay attention to you anymore so we’re finding you a new home.”
- Our dog needs someone with a (bigger) yard. Did you think about the dog’s needs before you bought them? With the internet age we’re in there is NO excuse ever for not understanding your breed before you buy. You can almost always make it work in any situation. Go for daily walks. Find a dog park. Sure, you’ll have to put extra time in to make sure they are getting the exercise they need but you should have thought about that people acquiring a dog.
- We are moving. Unless you’re moving to another country you can find a place to take your dog; especially if you only have one. It’s just a convenient excuse to get rid of him.
- It’s me or the dog (usually in the context of new relationships). If this isn’t a red flag I don’t know what is. You have a dog. You love your dog. Your new boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife doesn’t like dogs. Umm… that’s a huge compatibility issue in my book. Perhaps you weren’t really into dogs in the first place. If that’s the case you should have never gotten one to begin with just to get rid of at the drop of a hat.
- If we don’t re-home these puppies they’ll have to be gassed/put to sleep/thrown in the river. You can tell YOU’RE responsible. Ever heard of spay and neutering your pet? You ended up with a litter you want to simply sell off for profit with no real care to the animal. Get responsible. Threatening people on Craigslist is ALWAYS a good idea; trust me, they love it.
Get responsible please. Think BEFORE you get to a situation where you need to use Craigslist. As I said, there are some legitimate situations but I believe 90% (or more) are not.
Individuals on Craigslist tend to police themselves so there is a built in community function to keep illegal posts and back yard breeders off. However, I think some people go too far in their definition of a BYB or back lash against those who might want a purebred…but that dear reader is another post for another day.