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.
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 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.
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.