For the Good of Animals, Granite Staters Should be Weary of Craigslist

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By: DJ Bettencourt – October, 2014

At the Salem Animal Rescue League, we appreciate that the vast majority of pet owners love their pets and could never imagine having to give them up for adoption. Sadly, sometimes desperate situations arise in which it’s the only option.

We see this heart wrenching situation everyday at our shelter and we work tirelessly to ensure that every family that walks through our door is treated with compassion and respect. Additionally, we are committed to finding every animal in our care a permanent and loving home.

Recently, SARL has taken note of an influx of individuals turning to classified advertisement websites, like Craigslist, to re-home their pets. For a variety of animal welfare reasons, we strongly discourage the use of Craigslist in re-homing or adopting animals.

Craigslist is a wonderful and affordable option for people who are looking to buy or sell furniture, cars, apartments and many other items. And while Craigslist does not allow the sale of animals in its Terms of Use, it does allow for the re-homing of animals with an “adoption fee.” Unfortunately, this practice leads to many unintended consequences.
First, it is important to remember that transactions on Craigslist are almost completely unregulated. This means that pets posted for adoption are sometimes coming out of illegal puppy and kitten mills. These operations do not follow responsible breeding practices, which can result in animals being severely neglected or having genetic disorders.

Furthermore, often times, the lineages of animals are falsified.

When using Craigslist, not only is the public unaware where the animals are coming from, sellers also are unaware of where the animals are going. Sadly, sometimes people adopt pets for cruel practices, like dog fighting. Another unfortunate situation involved a poster selling three-day old puppies. It was later discovered that the mother of the puppies was stolen. Some other cases have been reported in which animals are being sold on Craigslist for use in unlicensed and unregulated scientific research labs. These “adopters” pose as benevolent pet lovers but it is hard to confirm their authenticity without screening tests that shelters, like SARL, employ.

Individuals posting or adopting pets on Craigslist are taking a huge risk and may unknowingly contributing to inhumane animal welfare practices.

We believe the best option for individuals who need to surrender their animals or are looking to adopt is the use of services of licensed and trusted animal rescues. Alternatively, should you choose to re-home your animals through the Internet, there are a few important tips that should be followed:

1. Always meet potential adopters in person;
2. Always visit your pet’s new home beforehand to ensure it is safe;
3. If the adopting individual currently has a pet, check with their veterinarian to see what type of care they have provided the animal;
4. Ensure that the whole adopting family is on board with the adoption and ask for a re-homing fee to put value on your pet and to see if the individual can afford the pet and is willing to take care of it.

Remember, individuals who look to accumulate animals for dog fighting or other nefarious purposes commonly arrive accompanied by woman and children to give the appearance that the pet is headed to a good home with a friendly family.

This underscores the importance of collecting background information and a home check.

The Salem Animal Rescue League is a no-kill shelter. This means your animal will never be euthanized for space or because it may be harder to adopt. Animal rescues provide the certainly that a Craigslist transaction can never provide: certainty that a healthy pet will only be placed in a safe and loving home.

D.J. Bettencourt served as a State Representative in the New Hampshire House of Representatives from 2005 to 2012 and was the House Majority Leader for the 2011-2012 legislative term. He currently works as the Director of Development and Community Relations at the Salem Animal Rescue League and serves on the Economic Development Action Committee in Salem, NH.