Why I shouldn’t read Craigslist posts

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I shouldn’t read the “Pets” postings on Craigslist because I always get really angry or upset. I wander to our local Craigslist from time to time, just to see what kind of animals people are re-homing or have lost or found in the neighborhood. I often come away very distressed.

These are the common posts I see on Craigslist (punctuated and spelled in standard English, for my readers’ sake). And yes, I have seen all of these posts, often multiple times.

“I need to find a new home for my dog because I’m allergic/I don’t have time for him/he’s too big for our apartment now.”

AGGGH. You people are the worst. Do NOT get a dog if you are, a.) allergic or someone in your family is allergic; b.) unable to properly care for him or give him the time he needs; or c.) living in a space that is not accommodating to an animal. Everyone is susceptible to a dewy-eyed puppy, but so few people really think through the consequences and responsibilities of caring for a dog. I just saw a post from a college student who was giving away her dog–whom she had adopted just three months ago from the SPCA–because she “realized [she] didn’t have time for him.” People, think about these things! SPCA, you probably shouldn’t let college students adopt dogs! It never fails to amaze me, but there you have it. I find that this is the most common post in the pets section of Craigslist. It’s also the one that gets me the most riled up.

“I’m giving away my dog because we’re moving.”

I understand that in this economy, there may be mitigating circumstances and you really can’t afford to bring your dog along. Sometimes, though, I feel like this statement may be a cover for the truth that you either can’t afford to keep your dog anymore or you are looking for an excuse to get rid of her. If so, fine, but I wish people were more up front about this. These posts are often peppered with comments about how much they love their dog, etc. Barring any dire financial circumstances, a committed dog parent would find a place to live that accommodated their dog. Simple as that.

“I want a dog who looks exactly like my old dog.”

Um, OK. Good luck with that.

“I’m looking for a purebred [insert breed here] but I want to pay less than $100 for it!”

You will be buying from a backyard breeder at best and a puppy mill at worst. I don’t know why people think they can get high-quality and humanely bred pets for such a small amount of money.

“I want a pit bull/rottweiler/German shepherd puppy! I also want it to be free or have a very small adoption fee!”

This makes me extremely nervous and angry–especially because those are the breeds that are most commonly mentioned in these types of posts. Just a few days ago, I saw this exact post from someone who wanted a “free” pit bull puppy. I was so distressed about it that I actually sent the person an e-mail, telling them to go visit our local shelter, which currently has a few pit bulls right now. I gave them a link to the shelter website and even recommended a particular pit bull (Pooch) that I had worked with. I also couldn’t help myself from throwing in a gentle statement that said, more or less, you get what you pay for, so don’t go looking for a free puppy. After all, the adoption fee at a shelter is a negligible amount compared to what you’ll be paying for the lifetime of that dog. If you can’t afford that adoption fee, then you definitely can’t afford to keep a dog.

Am I the only one who needs to stop reading Craigslist? Is there anything that can be done?

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6 thoughts on “Why I shouldn’t read Craigslist posts

  1. I need to stop reading Craigslist as well, or at least that’s what my fiance tells me.

    I read the ads and try to interpret what the real problem with the dog is, when they cite things like “not enough time” and “too big”, because that’s the PERSON’S problem, y’know? Sometimes, in the picture, they even have the smaller, more manageable new dog sitting next to the one they’re discarding. I occasionally email people the info for Doberman Rescue, if they’ve got a dobie up (obviously) as free or difficult or “not a good match” or what have you, hoping against hope that they can do the right thing and put their dog in the care of those who love the breed and who will spay and neuter and find them a loving home.

    And all of those “accident” puppies just break my heart 😦

  2. I did stop reading pet ads on Craigslist. It was making me crazy.

    The ones that get me the most are people looking for puppies. Because I know these are the folks who will surrender their adolescent dogs to the shelter when they’re no longer “cute.”

    I feel like they keep a puppy just long enough to ruin him and make him harder for the next person to train. 😦

  3. I read Craigslist ads every day for a full year. It’s how I found Bowpi, so I’m glad I did.

    But I went through the same rage as you… and I still do, from time to time, when I check for Shiba or Basenji ads (the former much more common than the latter).

    It’s hard. I feel very conflicted about that forum. I do think the woman whom we got Bowpi from was better off trying to rehome her than keep her, and she had some pretty complicated circumstances that prompted her to give her up. But I also think she was damn lucky that we came along. 😉 Maybe this type of perfect union is exceptional, so not subject to the same kind of vitriol that I generally reserve for the same types of people you’ve listed above. Or maybe it’s commonplace… I think there are a lot of happy rehoming stories as a result of Craigslist that will just continue to ensure its place in this cycle of OOPS-rehome-OOPS, for better or for worse.

    We have a pretty active patrol of Craigslist flaggers around here. Any ad that seems to cross over into sale/blatantly irresponsible territory gets flagged off pretty quickly. Then the ad posters just repost, and repost, and it occasionally gets nasty. There doesn’t seem to be any end.

  4. I’m glad that people who can’t properly care for their dogs are looking for new homes (and hey – sometimes you honestly don’t know that until you get the dog home). However, Craigslist is so NOT the place to go to advertise (or look? maybe?) for a dog 😦 There are plenty of shelters and rescues in every town across America and they should (unfortunately not always the case but that’s a separate issue entirely) be more than willing to either give you the help you need to be able to keep your dog or be able to take your dog & find it an appropriate home.

    And holy crap, I don’t know what I would do with myself if I saw an “I’m looking for a free pit bull” ad. Good for you for e-mailing! I really hope that some of that is just that people who haven’t been raised in a household with animals are really sadly unaware of the other resources out there – so hopefully you opened that person’s eyes a little!!

  5. I was just reading Craigslist ads. Seriously, like, two minutes ago. And then I checked Google Reader & saw your post – ironic.

    I feel like a hypocrite though, because we had to give Riggins to my friend when he got older due to Mr. Britt’s allergies. Charles had a cat when he was younger, and it didn’t bother his allergies at all. However, for some reason, Riggs caused his eyes to be puffy & made him sneeze all the time. It made me sick to be “that person” who obviously didn’t think through the decision to rescue an animal (and he was legitimately rescued, as in: he was born in the wild & his mom was killed by another animal & we found him all alone). I’m just glad I had a friend who wanted the lil guy!

    Anyway, I’m glad you emailed the pit bull guy. Maybe you enlightened him a bit! You’re absolutely right in that you get what you pay for with a free pup/animal in general (i.e.: Riggs was most likely the most demonic feline in North Carolina). =)

  6. I’m not even allowed to look at Petfinder because I want to bring them all home.
    I think Craigslist is a mixed bag. I know someone who re-homed her dog using craigslist. She got divorced and had to move from a single family home with a big back yard to a townhouse with a very small yard. (Finances, her commute to work and her kids being able to stay in the same schools were her obvious first priorities.) The new home was fine for her little dog but not for her Rott.
    However, she didn’t trust a shelter or rescue organization to find the right home for her baby. So, she used craigslist and an extensive interviewing process. It was almost like adopting a kid from foster care – in her home visit, in their home visit, a weekend sleep over, and then final transition, with agreed upon scheduled visits for the first couple of months. She wouldn’t give her dog to anyone who wasn’t willing to meet those requirements (and she was extra selective because of the reputation Rotties have). She found a great home for her dog. But, she also put in the work to do so. The person who got her dog got a great dog, but they also had to be willing to put in the work.

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