Never Give an Animal Away Over the Internet

Warning: Triggers for pet lovers.

This weekend, animal lovers in Quincy, Massachusetts dedicated a park bench to Kiya, a pit bull who is better known as “Puppy Doe.”

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…

Kiya

…was found in a park looking like this:

9/19/13- Appeal for help in fatal 'Puppy Doe' dog torture case.

…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.

http://our-compass.org/2012/04/11/free-to-a-good-home-craigslist-dog-killer-sentenced-in-west-virginia/

http://www.wave3.com/story/20320106/craiglist-animal-abuse-suspect-pleads-guilty

http://blog.al.com/breaking/2013/10/questions_after_accused_kitten.html

http://www.cbs46.com/story/17758400/dog-flipping-could-be-a-concern-for-pet-owners

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’.”

“Oh O.k.”

“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.”

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17 thoughts on “Never Give an Animal Away Over the Internet

  1. I could barely even glimpse at that second pic before I had to scroll on. What you said about the look in the eyes really got to me. It’s so true. As for the “free to good home” bullshit- about two years ago police and animal welfare authorites raided a property about 20 km from where I live. The found the owner had got dogs that were “free to a good home” and had used them as bait to train fighting dogs or killed them and sold them as pet meat. Clearly the dogs’ previous owners put a lot of effort into ensuring they went to a “good home”.
    LOL at the airport security guys. Now I know how to get something dodgy through US customs- sit a pit bull on top of it. 😀

    • Wow, that’s appalling, but sadly not that unusual. At least not the bait-dog aspect of it.

      A lot of people don’t put the effort in, but I also think a lot of people don’t know where to start or don’t know where to turn if the obvious, preferable choice doesn’t work out. For instance, I have found sometimes rescue groups in an area are so overwhelmed, they may not be able to help as they should, which is why it is important to work all the angles at the same time.

      • What are regulations regarding pets like in your state? In Victoria all cats and dogs must be registered with the local council and you can only have two. Also, there’s a push on to ban puppy farms and the state government is making supportive noises. Another thing that makes a huge difference is campaigns by various animal rights groups to make pet shops more accountable. All animals sold have to be desexed, which has put a huge dent in the trade. Many years ago a neighbour’s cat had kittens and they were given to a pet shop which sold them for ten dollars each. Kittens now cost at least $120 because shops have to cover the cost of getting them desexed. A ten dollar kitten is an impulse buy but more thought has to be given to forking out $120. There’s more and more pressure for pet shops to stop selling kittens and puppies at all and it’s becoming increasingly rare to see them for sale. The pet megastores now tend to have kittens for sale on behalf of local vets and rescue shelters. I got my two from the vets. They were itsy-bitsy orphans handed in to the local council.

      • O.K., so I typed up a response to this comment twice, and then reaching for my tea would accidentally hit the “Esc” key and my comment would disappear. The second time I decided that the planet would implode or something if I pressed on making that comment, and anyway it was time for work.

        So, third time is the charm!

        D’awwws. You’re an adoptive mommy too! Pics! I need to see pic of yours and Nellie’s furbabies.

        There is a big push in in the U.S. as well to shut down puppy mills and selling dogs and cat in pet stores. A couple states have outlawed puppy mills, several states have enacted stricter regulations. A few states have banned selling dogs and cats through pet stores. I don’t think it’s banned in North Carolina, but none of the pet stores in my area sell cats and dogs. They let groups come in and hold adoption events, but they don’t sell them.

        The only regulations regarding pets my state seems to have is vaccinations. Beyond that, they are content to let the counties and towns/cities regulate pets. In my town, they only seem to be concerned with registering dogs. Of course any stray put up for adoption through the pound is automatically spayed or neutered, and the county runs a low cost spay/neuter clinic. There doesn’t seem to be any limit on the number of pets you can have (while we are a university town, we are also in the middle of farm country). Even if there was, the animal control officers here tend to be easy going, good ole’ boys about things. I doubt they would be sticklers unless someone was complaining.

        Actually, the animal control here has been very nice. The head officer was watching Taeda’s case while she was running wild, even tried to trap her. But when he heard I had taken her into my pack, he dropped off three huge bags of dog food to say “Thanks” and help out. Another time, my neighbors’ extremely exuberant 70lb Pit/American Bull Dog mix got loose during a storm while his owner was away. I collared him, but since he was intact I could not risk keeping him in the house where he might set Pilot off. I called animal control and instead of taking the dog to the pound and fining the guy, they just put the dog back in the yard, wedged the gate closed and left a sticky note on his door to get his gate fixed.

        Honestly, it’s that kind of community service that helps makes small towns so nice.

  2. My doggy, a sprollie setter, came from a raided puppy farm in Ireland. We got her through a rescue centre when she was just fourteen weeks old (luckily she didn’t appear to be abused, but you never know) She is the best dog EVER. We don’t legally own her, just a long term rent from the rescue centre, If we couldn’t take care of her any more she would have to go back to them, as per the contract we signed. I agree with Auggie, what you said about the look in the dogs eyes is crushing. I’m going to reblog this.

    • Thanks for reblogging that. 🙂

      That’s great the rescue group is that invested in the pups they “loan” out. I know of a few rescue groups that have similar arrangements as part of their adoption agreements.

      Also, “sprollie setter” sound very interesting. Spring, Collie, Irish/English Setter?

    • Aww, Nellie, you have a rescued puppy! I like you even more than I did before- I am ultralike with you! I never bother reblogging as I only have fourteen followers, half of which are you guys and the rest of who follow you anyway, but I think I’ll reblog this anyway…..now I’m off to figure out how to reblog. You just post a link to the original post, don’t you…..

      • I like to think of us as a small coterie of influence which will gain considerable power over time in an insidious, possibly, slightly menacing manner.

        My puppy dog is now seven…almost veteran.

      • Some of us are clever enough to be insidious, I tend to think of myself as “outright belligerent.”

        My elder furkid (Bower/Damnation) is 8 and has slowed down a tick, just a tick mind. This means she now has the energy of a normal two year old dog. My Pittie is 4.

  3. Yep, springer spaniel, border collie, Irish red setter. She got the best bits from each. Temperament from the spaniel, intelligence from the collie, and the body of the setter…she’s my third baby.

  4. I’m here, bit out of breath, but here!
    Helly’s dog Tips is a beautifully elegant girl, also tall, very tall, she can practically lick my face standing on all fours…
    I’m so offended by the people who do these dreadful things, but the authorities do seem at last to be catching up with the idea it’s unacceptable. By the way I include fox hunting in the ‘dreadful things’.

    I couldn’t even try to put a value on the delight and friendship my girls give me. Yep, they can be little cows when they feel like it, but that’s because they have quite distinct personalities. They are part of our family, Lucy always tries to talk to them when we skype, and she’s unfailingly disappointed that they only react to her whistling!
    Never planned to get dogs, but we always seem to be there when someone was chucking out.
    Like Bryn, a beautiful Golden Lab who was a police dog reject. He didn’t like dark buildings, subsequently declined to enter them (apparently that’s a no, no for a police dog, seemed very sensible to me!)
    Then there was Amy, a champagne coloured Shih tzu. She was going to be ‘put down’ because she supposedly ate a Chihuahua. She was as mad as a cat in a bag, sang like a loon when you scratched her back. When she went blind we took all the doors off ‘cos she kept bumping into them.
    Now we have Mitsy and Sammy, the dynamic duo. Mitsy’s part Jack Russell, part corgi, she was for the knacker’s yard at a year old, because she was ‘uncontrollable’. Well she’s 15ish now, a bit cronky, only one eye (and that’s a bit duff) and as deaf as a post, and I think she may have dementia, but hell, I think I do too!
    Sammy is an 8 year old toy Jack, who looks like a puppy, and has small dog syndrome, feisty, till it comes to the other dog turning round, then she runs for the hills. She was rejected because a baby was on the way, sad that.
    My kids grew up with dogs, I think it made them better people, just sayin’.

    As for taking over the world, insidiously or otherwise, is Saturday OK with you ladies?

    • Saturday is fine, shall I bring tea?

      I am wary of people who have not owned pets. I have run into a couple and they, they don’t have quiet the same ability to connect, or at least can’t connect in the same way…they’re just not quite right. I definitely think owning animals makes one a better person. It teaches people who to be compassionate and merciful to care for someone that is entirely dependent on them and the only reward is love. I certainly would be wary of trusting someone to care for kids who had not owned a dog. Lucy shouldn’t feel disappointed, the only thing on the internet that my dogs notice are theses things:

      They go absolutely bonkers when they hear it. Sabre on, the other hand, notices/watches birds on TV/Internet.

      Funny how those “uncontrollable dogs’ are controllable in the right hands, isn’t it? 🙂 Sounds like you have had quite a family of characters. I started with Rocky, a Shepard/Collie mix who was sweet, patient and honest as the day was long. I had him since I was two. He actually saved me when I ran away from home with I was five by bringing my brother out to where I was. My parents did not want to take him to California with us and it broke my heart. Utterly.

      When I was twenty, a collected Rutger, a black, 6lb Chihuahua who was actually mellow, believe it or not, he was, vet techs loved him! He also knew he was adorable and knew how to work it. I am not a small dog person, but he was kismet. And Kuluk, the Keeshond who was dippy but had upbeat and forceful attitude. She was scheduled to be put down because she had laterally-luxated patellas and therefore “unbreedable” as a showdog. A couple years later I picked up her BF Gerard, the Husky/Chow mix (I posted his picture above). He was the the mischievous one, the one who once ran away just for fun and then came back within an 30 minute. The one who ripped a chuck of drywall out to get to a bird who had fallen down between and out and inner walls. I found him just wandering just off Hawthorne Blvd. He and Kuluk were BF and GF (neutered and spayed, but BF/GF). Once when I was walking them a Shepard jumped his fence and charged them. Gerry got in front of Kuluk and warned him off. After the Shepard ran back in his yard and we started walking again, Kuluk stuck her nose into Gerry’s muzzle and, my hand to the Gods, gave him a smacker-kiss. That is what it sounded like.

  5. I want to hug you all and your rescued animals. VIRTUAL GROUP HUG! Ok, got that out of my system. Kip, I’m really (very pleasantly) surprised by what you said about puppy mills being banned in some states and pet shops not selling animals. I had the impression that the U.S. had an “anything goes” attitude to animals. I’ve heard about people over there legally owning monkeys and cougars and such and it seems like there aren’t any regulations around animal ownership. I’ve probably been misled by tv and the internet. I’m very gullible.

    • Well, like I said, a lot of it depends the state, county or city ordinances, some of which are way too lilberal or simply have no caught up yet. I know in most states it’s banned to own “exotic pets”/wild animals, but not all of them. http://www.bornfreeusa.org/b4a2_exotic_animals_summary.php And if it’s not banned at the state level, it maybe banned at the county or city level. But that doesn’t mean some numbnuts won’t try to get away with having them anyway, no matter how cruel such ownership can be.

  6. Pingback: Remember What I Said…. | Kip's Kardo

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