Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Warning: Do not rehome animals on Craigslist.com

Eamon the cat looking at the computer
Eamon helps with the proofreading.
I am consistently amazed at the number of people who use sites like craigslist.com in order to rehome their pets. They attempt to screen for good owners by asking for a rehoming fee (thinking that will keep the poor from applying), and they also may perform a cursory phone interview to make sure the new owner seems sound and somewhat rational. Then, when the money changes hands, off goes the pet to the new home and all is well.

Except when it's not.

According to this news report (link is no longer active), these people adopted a pit bull about 2 weeks ago from Craigslist. Then, they allegedly tied the dog to the outside of their Jeep, forgot the dog was there, and drove about 600 feet. As the dog was pulled along, he lost most of his nails and foot pads. The people only stopped driving when people on the outside of the Jeep began waving their arms and yelling.

In addition to this dog, the people had cats, a snake and a rabbit in their Jeep. They appear to be living in the Jeep.

A quick home interview would have pointed out that these people had no place to call home. In addition, an interview might have indicated that these people might also have a few too many animals already, and might not be able to provide a loving home for a dog. In addition, these people might not have been able to produce proper veterinary references, which might also be a red flag that they aren't ideal owners. That could have also been part of an interview.

My guess is that no such interview ever took place.

I have no idea if the original owner of this dog knows what has happened. I also have no idea if that person is concerned about this dog. But I do think this little gem of a story should make more people leery of posting adoption adverts on Craigslist. How do you know who will take your dog? How do you know you're not subjecting your dog to torture? An interview might help, but people might even lie in an interview. Craigslist could be quick, but it also could be dangerous.

Breed rescues, on the other hand, do a significant amount of research on homes before they place dogs, checking references, doing credit checks and conducting home visits to ensure that the people are truly prepared for the hard work of owning a pet.

Ideally, people will keep their pets. But if you cannot, please let this story convince you that the world is full of crazies. Please use a breed rescue, not Craigslist, to rehome your pets.