Free to Good Home | Searching Craigslist for Our Next Dog

November 22, 2013

Dog Rescue

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Free to Good Home, Pets on Craigslist

This week, my boyfriend and I have been discussing adopting a new dog (or buying from a breeder) and the discussion quickly spiraled down and there was a point when I looked at my boyfriend and wondered how we were going to survive this difference of opinion.

My boyfriend wants an Australian Cattle Dog / Australian Shepherd mix with spots.  He wants a dog who has a unique look like Blue, but isn’t a carbon copy of Blue.  I would love an Autralian Shepherd, but I mostly just want a happy, healthy dog.  Since PetFinder isn’t working, Ive been visiting adoption and rescue sites for our next forever dog.

I’ve stopped searching.

Do Reputable Breeders Advertise on Craigslist

My boyfriend started searching on Craigslist and his search has expanded from locally to nationally and he’s found tons of “breeders” who have the breed mix that he’s looking for, but I’ve turned into the Devil’s Advocate as I share my concerns…

  • Who are these breeders?
  • Have you Googled them?  Have you called them?
  • Can we visit their property, see their dogs, see the puppies’ sires?
  • Are those the real pictures of the puppies?
  • With prices like $350, have they tested for eyes, hips?
  • Do they take the puppy back?
  • Is there a contract, home visit?
  • Are the puppies vaccinated? wormed? temperament tested?

This led to a very difficult conversation that was important for me to have, because I can’t help but feel that THIS IS WRONG.  I want to keep an open mind, I know that not everyone who advertises dogs on Craigslist is a puppy mill, but the risk of buying a puppy from an irresponsible breeder is too high.  Just to clarify – I do know that not all breeders are bad.

Plus this goes against everything I believe.

Free to Good Home

My boyfriend has a very strong personality and when he has set his mind about something, it’s hard to get him to see differently and even after a very emotionally charged conversation where it seemed like he was finally understanding my concerns, he still spent the evening searching Craigslist for puppies.  That’s when I realized how easy Craigslist is when compared to working with a reputable breeder (too expensive) or rescue (too many hoops).

I went into a separate room and clicked over to Craigslist to start flagging the puppies available ads (yes, a little passive aggressive and a lot judgmental).  Although it’s against Craigslist Terms of Service for breeders to sell their puppies, is it my job to police the site?

As I was struggling with this (while still flagging away), I was stunned to find more Free to Good Home ads and this gave me chills.

Craigslist Warning

Craigslist does have a warning provided by PETA that I doubt that anyone reads when they’re posting an ad to get rid of their dog.  It warns about animals tortured, used as bait in dog fighting rings, sold to animal testing labs, or even stolen animals flipped through Craigslist ads.

I used to think it was about ignorance, but now I’m starting to believe that people don’t want to know.

Did We Forget About Michael Vick?

The Michael Vick case was shocking and I can’t imagine that the news of what happened to his dogs hasn’t reached every corner of our country.  So for people to remain unaware when it comes to their pet is unacceptable, in my opinion.  Sadly, we live in a time when we all have a low attention span – out of sight, out of mind.  Since we’re no longer talking about Michael Vick’s dogs, we can all pretend that all is well again.  It never was.

Educating People About Craigslist

My conversation with my boyfriend gave me a new appreciation for what my friend, Jennifer, and her Scrub-a-Mutt co-founder go through with their organization.  They started Scrub-a-Mutt to raise awareness of puppy mills and this feels impossible when people (1) don’t believe that they exist or (2) don’t understand the connection between puppy mills and pet stores and sites like Craigslist.

So, to bring awareness back into the spotlight, I will be hosting a Blog Hop that will share why Craiglist isn’t Safe for Our Pets.  Pet bloggers from around the globe will be sharing warnings to dog owners, alternatives to rehoming through Craigslist, and encouraging dog lovers to spend 15 minutes a day flagging Free to Good Home and Puppies for Sale listings.

The goal of this awareness campaign isn’t to make villans out of the breeders or families who use Craigslist; I want to arm people with more information so that they make better decisions for their pets and in their new pet search.

The Next Step

If you’re a pet blogger, please add the below button to your blog and stay tuned for new of the Blog Hop, which is scheduled for December 9th.

 

Keep the Tail Wagging

 

If you’re not a pet blogger, please come back and share our posts with your friends and families and help us spread awareness of why Craigslist is dangerous for our pets.

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31 Responses to “Free to Good Home | Searching Craigslist for Our Next Dog”

  1. Talent Hounds Says:

    Great post. It fits well with our new TV episode and campaign #RescuesRock, Adop’t Don’t Shop.
    We will be happy to share the message about Craig’s List as noone has really addressed it yet. I know several young people who have thought nothing of getting their puppies from Craig’s List as they use it frequently for other things very efficiently and are not aware of the dangers.
    best Susie, Talent Hounds

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  2. slimdoggy Says:

    We’re in. We were fortunate enough to be able to adopt all of our last 3 dogs through Lab rescue groups. Yes, there are a lot of hoops – but they are there for your protection as well as a safeguard for the dogs too! Funny you should write this today as I just saw Sand Spring Chesapeakes new website today. Now this is a good example of a reputable ‘backyard’ breeder. 1. she blogs about her dogs, so if you follow, you know them personally. 2. She has years worth of photos and movies about the four dogs she owns. 3. She plans the breeding far, far in advance. 4. She has strict rules for studs as well as purchase of the dogs. This is a business for sure, but not how they make their living. Backyard breeders aren’t all bad. I breed my first dog Maxine twice!
    Now craigslist is a whole different thing. I recently read that book The Stolen Dog and the first thing they did was look at craigslist for people selling their stolen dog. There’s no vetting of anything on craigslist. J being a cop, I’m kind of surprised he would approve of this route since craigslist is a notorious ocean of scammers. Nothing is EVER free. Don’t be fooled.
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    • Kimberly Says:

      You’re right, not all backyard breeders are bad. We need a new word to cover the people who are irresponsibly breeding dogs, not testing their lines, inbreeding dogs, breeding sick or deformed dogs. I don’t know what to call them, but it seems unfair to even use the term breeder, because people seem to get hung up when you mention the word and miss the point that it’s wrong.

      I’m sick over this, because I understand where J is coming from. He missing Blue and he wants that spirit and energy back in our home. He’s convinced himself that he can only get it through one mix and when he Googled it, he found tons of CL ads and it’s addicting. It’s not about logic, it’s about the heart and that’s what makes this so tragic. We love our dogs and it’s easy for people like us to toss aside what we know is right to go for what we want; not realizing that it’s a mirage.
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  3. Christine Hoy Says:

    Before your Blog Hop, you should read up about the case and torture of “Puppy Doe” who was re-homed through Craigs list. (just google Puppy Doe – or they have a FB page – “Justice for Puppy Doe” It is one of the worst cruelty & torture case I have read about. I need to warn you, what happened to this poor dog will make you weep, but it’s a strong case against Craigs List. She was given away on Craigslist :(

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    • Kimberly Says:

      I have a friend on the east coast that is in rescue and she kept me abreast of everything that was going on with that case. It absolutely broke my heart.

      There’s another case (man is in jail now) where a man would arrive with his kids to give the people the comfort of knowing their dog was going to a happy home, when they were going to a shop of horrors.

      I don’t think these people don’t care, I just don’t think they want to believe that this would happen to them or in their town.
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  4. Kathryn Durno Says:

    We own purebred dogs, Brittanys. I show my dogs actively. I bought them from a breeder. I breeder that has spent a lifetime devoted to this breed. After researching to find the right puppy we were able to meet many breeders of Brittanys that too, had devoted their entire life to the betterment of this breed. We had to prove that we would be a good home for our puppy. Good breeders never “make money” breeding. It is typically really the other way. Their “breed” isn’t a business for them, it is a lifetime of dedication to their dogs. Sadly, in the dog community, those with purebreds get called “backyard breeders” and worse. Even worse, there are people out there that make dogs their “business”, make money at it, and present themselves to the public as experts. Dogs are not a business,
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    • Kimberly Says:

      We met with a backyard breeder today – a friend told me that not all backyard breeders are bad so I thought I’d give this one a chance. He was a perfectly nice guy and his dog were sweet and his puppies were gorgeous. But there were so many red flags for me and since I’ve never worked with a breeder before (I just know a few who are very different). The experience was interesting and based on what I understand about breeders, I’m not sure if this was someone that we should work with so I went with my gut and walked away.

      We were curious.

      We’ll probably rescue our next dog, but in case we decide to work with a breeder, I really want to learn more about what to expect so that we’re prepared.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience. It’s helpful to get stories like yours out there, because many of us don’t know.
      Kimberly recently published..3 Reasons Dogs Need a Joint Care Supplement #NaturalStrideMy Profile
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      • Vlad & Barkly's Dee Says:

        “We’ll probably rescue our next dog, but in case we decide to work with a breeder, I really want to learn more about what to expect so that we’re prepared.”

        Expect expensive. There’s a reason we never let ours off-lead unless in their own fenced backyard. Expect the breeder to be all up in your business. If you don’t feel like a proctologist has been checking you out once they finish, they don’t care enough about their puppies. Be ready to be told what you will and won’t do with that puppy. The really good ones will stress that if you ever have to let go of your puppy, it comes back to them. Expect to be required to sign a legal and binding contract that locks you into the breeder’s demands. (actually like a lot of rescues) Expect them to want progress reports of your dog’s life. (Vlad’s breeder actually sees him regularly.) Also, expect to fill out an application before you’re actually considered for one of their puppies. Be prepared to wait for a litter.

        Be sure to ask for OFA’d hips,those joint areas done. Ask for the CERF’s of their eyes. Unless it’s working stock for farmwork–where many of them are taken to working or hunting trials instead of conformation shows–ask about the dogs’ championships and accomplishments. If you’re looking at working stock, make sure you ask about those trials. Be aware that if you go for farm stock, you’re going to HAVE to find something for that dog to do because it will most likely be driven as all get out. Dannyboy was. Conformation champions are usually driven too, but not to the extent of those other dogs that know nothing else. Then there are breeders where their dogs excel at it ALL. Ask for pedigrees. If they’re seriously caring, they’ve got them and can show them to you.

        Ask how many times they breed each dam and how long they wait between litters. They shouldn’t breed that dam over 3 times. She should have some form of championship, whether it be working or conformation, and then be allowed to retire after 3 litters. Make sure they don’t breed a dog before the age of two.

        Learn what a proper bite for the breed is supposed to be and look at the dam and the sire’s mouths (If he’s physically available.) The breeder’s got his paperwork even if he was just a stud for the dam. The breeders that actually care even consider proper bite for breeding. Look at how long the breeder wants to keep the puppies after whelping. It’s often accepted now that it’s best for them to stay with their dam 10-12 weeks instead of only eight. They seem to be socially/psychologically better off this way.

        Tell them which sex you want, then make sure you completely share what you want FROM the dog. This will be part of what determines which puppy you get. GOOD breeders know how to fit the proper puppy to the proper owner. It felt like forever waiting to see which puppy was going to be mine. I had his name figured out before I even knew which puppy was going to be named Vlad.

        Those are the most important things I can think of when it comes to selecting a breeder. Please tell J, he’s not going to find one of these breeders on Craigslist, and he’s asking for all kinds of trouble from THOSE kinds of breeders. Ask him to consider how much heartbreak he’s willing to put up with in the future when bad genes have him at the vet’s office constantly, and he’s spending his time nursing a sick dog instead of being out playing with the dog. There’s no absolute guarantee that every puppy will be perfectly healthy, but good breeders have clauses about bad health in their contracts that you can hold them to when you get a puppy from them.
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        • Kimberly Says:

          This is a blog post for sure. Thank you so very much! I cannot believe you took the time to write this out. I’m so touched by this and wish that I could just hug you tightly, because this is something I can take to J for SURE!

          We found five dogs in rescue that we’ve submitted applications for – 5 seems like overkill, but each dog is out of state so our chances of getting the dog is lower.

          What you shared is the exact OPPOSITE of the experience we had with a very nice breeder this weekend.

          Thank you!!!
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          • Vlad & Barkly's Dee Says:

            You’re welcome. I love your caring spirit, and I just don’t want to see you heartbroken again from a bad genes POV so soon after you’ve just lost your baby. At least with a rescue, you can already see SOME of their health before getting the dog. I finally found the championship titles for dogs for you: http://www.dobermanclub.org/Buying_Puppy/titles.htm and this list has the hunting/working titles too: http://www.akc.org/events/titles.cfm Those are some of the titles I expect to see a breeder have when looking at “working farm stock.” That heavy level of work is why those breeders get OFAs or Pennhips too and are serious about the dogs’ physical wellness. If you go to Youtube and search some of those titles, you can see dogs working.
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  5. Jana Rade Says:

    I’m pretty lucky this way; if I have a conviction and can defend it, hubby usually goes along with it. He certainly did when we were deciding about what dog will best honor Jasmine’s legacy and where and how to get one. Cookie is a result of our agreeing on things.
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  6. Carol Bryant Says:

    I have helped get the word out and help with transport of dogs that were pulled from CraigsList. Oh the stories I could tell. So upsetting. I wish you well getting your next family member!

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  7. Dogmama Says:

    Unfortunately, I only know of ONE person who rehomed their beloved dog through Craigslist and they were very concerned about the process, the new home/owners and get to keep in touch with them and their former dog who is happy in the new home. Of all the CL transactions out there, and all the animal lovers I know, it’s really sad that that is the only happy story I know of. I also can’t believe that people have forgotten the Michael Vick story.

    We started with PetFinder to find HufflePup, and we’ll do an owner rescue next to see if we can have two big boys in our home, but if I had to go look for another, there are amazing senior dog and regular rescues that come to the local pet supply stores to remind people that there are lovely dogs who need new homes. I met the most adorable mastiff there, but we don’t have quite enough room for a mini-canine submarine :)
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  8. Wilma Says:

    I’m not a pet blogger, but, as you know, I occasionally blog about Thor, Dog of Thunder so I installed the button on my website. You could tell your man that there are a lot of lovely pit bulls in need of good homes at the shelter. Neville was a bomb dog for the WSP down at the Coleman Dock for many years. http://www.king5.com/internal?st=print&id=88957032&path=/home
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  9. Diane Says:

    I don’t believe anyone reputable would advertise on Craigslist. Someone who takes their job seriously as a breeder vets potential families and probably has a waiting list and NOT extra dogs sitting around to sell to the lowest bidder. Just the opposite, too few dogs and too much interest. It’s sad but I hope your post educated at least one person on the dangers of searching Craigslist. I can’t help but feel bad for the dogs. ;-(

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  10. Dawn Says:

    I agree with you so much on all of this. But I also think if it wasn’t for people being so dishonest or for using Craigslist for nefarious means, that it can be a good place to find a pet. My mom’s dog Rocky was found from a Craigslist ad reading “free to a good home”. It was a real family needing to rehome a dog they just didn’t have time for, and it was a real honest person, my mom, looking for just the right companion. It was a match made in heaven and my mom has had Rocky many years now.

    My Maya also came from Craigslist. In fact, I was just going to post about this on my blog because November is the six year anniversary of when I got her.

    The thing that makes Criagslist bad, is the few unsavory people who are using it. If we can educate people, as you suggest, then perhaps more dogs like Rocky and Maya will have happy endings because of Craigslist.
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    • Kimberly Says:

      It’s nice to know people are having good experiences, because it gives me hope. In our city, all we see are people selling puppies and dogs to the highest bidder. It’s truly sad. Our rescue groups are reaching out to people, even those with dogs free to a good home, and they get no response or cooperation. It’s sad.

      What I wish to see are more rescue groups using Craiglist to advertise adoption events, rehoming tips, and alternatives to Craigslist. I know of one person who is doing this locally, but we need more.
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  11. Pamela | Something Wagging This Way Comes Says:

    The bad news is that as more pet stores go out of the pet selling business, more commercial breeders will turn to the internet to sell their puppies.

    Two years ago, I joined a similar campaign against puppy sales on eBay. http://www.somethingwagging.com/and-now-for-something-completely-serious-selling-puppies-on-ebay/. In it, I contrasted my experience working with a responsible, hobby breeder.

    Yes, it’s harder. It’s more expensive. But, if you feel it’s important to have a particular breed dog, it is definitely worth it.

    Not once have I said to myself, I’m sorry I answered all those nosy questions and spent all those hours visiting Honey’s breeders. I’m not sure I would be saying the same if I found her in the classifieds.
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  12. Chad Says:

    While there are some hoops to jump through with rescue organizations, they are there for a reason. I had to drive 3 hours one way, 6 hours total, twice before I could adopt my Husky, Wonder. I’m sure that everyone would agree that after jumping through the hoops you look back at it as totally worth it.

    I think it’s amazing some of the listings that are on Craigslist. I live in rural Wisconsin, and while all of the listings aren’t puppy mills, I would say a majority of them are, along with just plain dumb people. I actually rescued a dog from Craigslist, I was looking through the listings and found a Husky (yup I’m a sucker for a Husky) that was free to a good home. I looked at the picture and could tell that the poor thing was emaciated, and was only on a one foot chain in a barn. I could see that he was relieving himself on the pole that he was attached to. No food or water in sight, and she said in the posting that if no one came and got him she was going to have him put down. The poor thing was only 2-3 years old. I was working at the local humane society so I emailed the person and said that I would like to see him. I went there walked into the barn that he was being kept in and told the crazy lady that I was taking him. Obviously she didn’t care what kind of person I was.

    I thought about calling our humane officer, but after working with him on a few cases decided that it would be a sure thing if I just had the person give me the dog and be done with it. I still drive by there on occasion to make sure that she hasn’t gotten any more dogs.
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    • Kimberly Says:

      God bless you for saving that dog, Chad. Stories like that break my heart. I just couldn’t imagine treating our dogs that way. I cherish them. They make me laugh every day.

      It’s funny, because I was saying the same about rescue; the hoops we jump through give us a chance to make sure we’re up for the commitment. It’s worth it. We’ve reached out to rescue groups in other states, ready to drive or fly to them to meet a dog. We think it’s worth it.
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