Craigslist pet ads are irking me.
Look. I get it. The economy in Michigan sucks, and some people are stuck with the gut-wrenching decision of getting rid of their ‘beloved’ pet. And the shelter system, which is barely adequate in the best of economic times, is simply overwhelmed with unwanted pets — mostly cats, incidentally. So I have some pity for folks who resort to the internet in a last-ditch effort to avoid using the shelters to place their pets.
But there are some real issues involved with Craigslisting pets.
Some of these people are running a racket. It’s not about finding their beloved Fido a new home, or getting Polly a place where she can squawk all day, or even getting Kitty in a single “forever home.” It’s about making some fast cash on their allegedly beloved pets. One guy I spoke to about a nine-week old chow mix puppy he’s selling wants a “re-homing fee” for the little guy of $100. Yes, a $100 for a mix that includes a dog known for aggressive tendencies.
The pup has its first set of shots, which I am sure helps justify the cost in his mind. But here’s a reality check. The Capital Area Humane Society offers puppies for $150 and that covers shots, spay/neuter, microchip and vet checking. The Ingham County Animal Shelter offers puppies for $130 and that includes shots, spay/neuter, microchip and a license for the pup.
So why would anyone give some guy who was too irresponsible to get his dog spayed $100 for a puppy that just got its first set of shots, is not altered and does not have a microchip? Particularly when for a little bit more, you can adopt a puppy from a place that might euthanize the pet? That is a greed move, and it’s appalling.
I offered to spend the $100 on the condition the guy used the money to get the mother dog spayed, and I wanted to see verification of a spay appointment before I paid. He declined. And why not? The pups are cute, and he can make $600-$800 every time she has a litter.
More disconcerting to me, however, are people offering dogs but placing red flags in their posts. You know messages like, no small children, only likes women, doesn’t like other pets, etc. Those red flags mean aggressive. Particularly with older dogs. If you take in one of these pets, paying a lovely re-homing fee, you are buying yourself into a liability lawsuit waiting to happen, or worse.
With CAHS or ICAC, the dogs are temperment tested. It’s a controversial concept, the idea some one can evaluate a dog for potential aggression based on a few simple tests. But as someone who has run a humane society, and was trained and trained others in such testing, it is effective, and it could save someone’s life.
I am also troubled by the dishonesty about breeds all over CL. That cute little boxer mix, unless you can see the mother and/or father and the registered boxer paperwork, is most likely NOT a boxer. It’s a pit bull.
I don’t have an issue with pit bulls, in fact I adore them. But this is not a novice’s dog. They are strong, bulky and extremely intelligent. They require a great deal of special training. And some of them are simply animal aggressive. It’s in their nature. Before you get one, you need to know what you are getting into, and lying and calling the dog a boxer mix is setting you up for a failure, and the dog for a one way trip to the animal shelter.
I am also concerned about the offerings on CL about less traditional pets. Ferrets and their cages offered for the sacrificial price of $200, or just the ferret for $75.
One guy is trying to off load a coatimundi, a wild animal native to the American Southwest and Central and South American. But remember, said Coati was abused and will bite hands. Um, really?
Or the fish tanks that are at or above retail — real deal there.
Of there is the guy offering his Rose Hair Tarantula for the low price of $45. Um, that’s retail, idiot.
It’s also irritating to see the overabundance of cat and kitten ads. Seriously, shelters are euthanizing those animals by the bundle, and you want to add to that death sentencing by getting a cat or kitten from some private person instead? I know, I know. You just LOVE cats so much. Great! Get the cat altered so it won’t reproduce. And spend your money adopting one from a shelter to prevent it from taking a ride on the proverbial blue juice express (10 cc’s of sodium pentobarbitol for euthanasia).
And, folks, the near hysterics about death sentences for shelter animals are over the top. The fact is, because of folks who refuse to get their pets altered, there are too many cats, dogs and other animals, and shelters have to make a decision between euthanizing or holding onto the animals forever. It’s not a pretty decision, but it’s a matter of economics for them. It sucks. If the animal is not being adopted, there’s a reason. Move on, and drop the dramatics.
Re-homing pets is an unfortunately reality. But with the CL ads, it’s important to remember, the buyer beware. There are risks, serious risks, in re-homing an animal without taking the time to understand its background, history and behavioral quirks.