Warning: Triggers for pet lovers.
Kiya’s original owner was moving and decided to give her away on Craigslist, posting a “free to a good home” ad. Kiya was taken by a woman who then “flipped” the dog, selling it to someone else.
Months after her owner gave her away, this dog…
…was found in a park looking like this:
…with injuries so horrific, so purely sadistic, she had to be euthanized.
(What kills me about abused dogs is they always look so confused, like they can’t figure out what they did wrong that someone would hurt them this way. They don’t understand.)
Nor is she the only case of people cruising Craigslist and similar sites for animals to profit from or abuse.
Several groups have petitioned Craigslist to end pet adoption on their site, but they refuse.
If you must give your pet away (and sometimes financial circumstances or family issues dictate that):
1. Give yourself time to find them a good home. That means the pet is the first factor in your decision and the first thing you are making plans to deal with. Don’t get woobly and clingy, “Oh, I just can’t deal with it…” now. You will not be doing them any favors. Immediately start the process. Do not wait until the last minute and then give the pet away to the first person who e-mails you. If you do not have a friend or family member who wants your pet, you need a month, at the minimum, to find your pet a good home.
2. Contact a no-kill shelter. Often you will be put on a waiting list as they adopt pets out and room is made for your pet. (This is part of why you need to give yourself time.)
3. In the meantime, approach local rescue groups. There should be at least a couple. See if they can foster and place your pet. Or if they can find a home while you hold onto her or him. (Another reason why you need time.) Work these two angles at the same time. No one in either the shelter or the rescue group is going to be upset if your dog or cat finds home through someone else.
4. The last resort is to surrender your pet to the local city/state animal control/pound. Then advertise them on Craigslist and the local paper and Petfinder and everywhere you can, saying, “Here is a great pet, and you can get them at the Main Street Animal Shelter.” With all of three of avenues of adoption, going to shelters and rescue groups, people are being screened, paying to adopt and leaving an entire record of personal information behind. You will not find sadists cruising these venues.
5. Another thing you can do while dealing with these groups is to place flyers in veterinary offices (that’s a big one a lot of people miss) and pet stores. The people who contact you, get as clear a picture of your pet’s future life as you can, ask about children, other pets, how much time they will spend with your pet, ask who their veterinarian is (that a nice indicator question). Insist on seeing their home. If you do decide to give them your pet, ask to see their driver’s license and take that information down. Some people also charge a “rehoming fee” as another means of discouraging pet flippers or abusers. Be nice, be apologetic (“I’m sorry, but this is my dog and I want to be sure she is well-cared for…”) but firm. True pet lovers will understand and be open to that. If anything feels hinky, say you will think about it and walk away. (Again, why you need time to do this.)
There are ways to make sure that your pet is safe and happy in their new forever home, you just need to take time and be conscientious.
If there is a tiny ray of sunshine out of all this, it’s that many states, including Massachusetts, have toughened their animal cruelty laws and judges are not being shy with handing those sentences down.
Now I will try to cheer you up a bit: I was fostering a pit bull who was a very sweet girl, but L.A. was in the grip of Pit Bull paranoia and nothing was coming through for her. So some friends in Oregon said they would take her if I could get her up there. My car certainly was not going to make the trip, so I flew her up. This was post 9/11, so of course TWA was inspecting everything. I got stopped at the check-in counter by two security guys.
“We’re going to have to ask you take the dog out of the crate mam’.”
“What kind of dog is that?”
“She’s a pit bull.”
One security guy looked at the other. “That look like a dog to you?”
“Yup, looks like a dog to me. Have a nice flight.”