Pets in Danger on Craigslist

Every once in a while on Facebook, one of my many dog rescue friends will suggest that I join the cause “Stop People from Selling Animals on Craigslist”.  Selling pets on Craigslist is actually against that website’s Terms of Service, so this seems like a pointless exercise to me. The situation that seems far more urgent to me, is to stop people from giving away pets on Craigslist for free.

I know my last blog post was about my reaction at seeing a “Free Kittens” sign, and the dangers of offering pets for free. This post probably seems like overkill if you’ve been paying attention; but a little switch went off in my brain last week. I became so consumed by the thought that people need to be educated about this issue, that I made a commitment to myself, and I’d like to challenge you to do the same.

I’m just one person, and there are only so many hours in a day. Craigslist reaches practically every major city in the United States. I got this idea that if I went to the Cleveland Craigslist pet ads every day and skimmed every dog and cat ad, I might be able to save some animals right from my couch, armed with only my laptop and some carefully chosen words. It takes about twenty minutes a day for me to do both Akron and Cleveland. You can do the same in your city. How many times have you felt like you wanted to do something to help dogs and cats that can’t speak for themselves, but had no idea where to start?

I realize that many of these people love their pets and don’t even want to get rid of them, but are in desperate situations and feel like they have no other choice. They honestly do not know the danger they are putting their beloved pets in. (If you don’t know why it’s so dangerous, please read my article at the Cleveland Pets Examiner, or check out my previous post here on Up on the Woof. Or, read this article about animal abuser Alex Phelps.) So I composed a short letter to the person who is advertising their pet on Craigslist for free. Every evening, I skim the ads, and when I come across one that doesn’t ask a rehoming fee, (which Craigslist allows) or says outright that the animal is “free”, I send them my form letter. If the ads are about purebred dogs that need to be rehomed, I also suggest to the advertiser that they try a rescue group for their specific breed, and when possible, I give them a link to a breed rescue group to get them started.

I fully expected to get a lot of hate mail in return. I expected to hear “Mind your own business”, and “screw you”, and any number of other similar comments. Instead, much to my surprise, I began getting thank you notes from these people, because they really had no idea how their ads were endangering their animals.

If you want to take my challenge and take on the Craigslist pet ads in your city, you can download three different form letters to use and share. (or you can email me and I’ll send you a word document of my form letter that you can copy and paste.)

For Craigslist ads offering a pet for free: YourFreePet

For Craigslist ads that don’t say free, but don’t ask a re-homing fee: YourPetNoFee

For Craigslist ads offering pit bulls for free: YourPetBully

About yelodoggie

Ariel C. Wulff is an author, artist and animal advocate. They have been involved in pet rescue for over twenty-five years. They have written two books about their true-life adventures living with an ever-changing house full of pets: Born Without a Tail, and Circling the Waggins, and a guide to animal advocacy using the Internet as a tool: How to Change the World in 30 Seconds". Wulff also wrote a pet column and book review column for the Examiner, and was a contributing editor for They attribute their love of animals to having been raised by Wulffs.
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53 Responses to Pets in Danger on Craigslist

  1. nicole says:

    Can you send me a copy of this letter? I’d like to start posting 🙂


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  3. bro says:

    I think the real threat is from those animal care homes that flag free ads yet charge a fortune to rescue animals. $300-500 for a dog is absurd.


    • yelodoggie says:

      I guess that depends on what the rescue group has done to care for the dog. Many rescue dogs incur high health expenses. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a rescue trying to recoup some of that money. It can be several hundred dollars just to spay or neuter a pet. Any pet you adopt from a rescue group is spayed or neutered and has all its shots. (a series of puppy shots for one of my dogs was $400., so you see, it’s not ridiculous at all.)


    • yelodoggie says:

      This subject addressed in detail in a new blog post:


    • A rescue has to pay pulling fees at the shelter, then they have to pay for a vet, and often the dog coming out of a shelter has special needs even if it’s just an intestinal parasite, so add in meds, and medical boarding. Of course there’s also transporting, which is easily several hundred dollars. Then add in boarding if no one stepped up to foster…..

      It can EASILY run into that much money.


    • Jessica says:

      Many rescues barely even break even with the amount they’ve spent on the animal by charging that much; it depends on the animal and the rescue. I paid a donation of $300 to the rescue for my last dog (the adoption fee was $200 but I gave extra because they do very important work). The dog I adopted had been saved at the last minute from being euthanized in a high-kill California shelter, then boarded at a kennel until a rescue with space was available, then transported to that rescue. Here’s a very general breakdown of the costs associated with rescue dogs like this:

      1. Shelter adoption fee: the cost to get the dog out of the shelter before it is euthanized; this fee.

      2. Spay/neuter and basic health exam: this is often incorporated into the initial shelter adoption fee, but many rescues get the animal additional veterinary attention after the animal is pulled from the shelter, as many of the overburdened shelters do very quick, basic exams only (because why spend a lot of time/money on an animal that is not considered adoptable, and will therefore likely be euthanized in a few days?). Many rescues also get the animal microchipped. And depending on the animal, the spay/neuter alone can be incredibly expensive; depending on where you live, a spay/neuter and basic vet exam for a domesticated rabbit can be between $200-300 on its own!

      3. Veterinary care for medical issues: many rescues take on animals that are in pretty bad shape when first rescued, and require veterinary care to get the animal healthy and adoptable. This ranges from low-cost stuff like de-worming to much higher-cost procedures such as surgery (if the animal was injured) and intensive care (if the animal was severely neglected/starved, etc.)

      4. Boarding: When an animal is pulled from the shelter to keep it from being euthanized, many times the local rescues are at or over capacity and cannot take it in immediately. In this case, the animal is boarded at a kennel or similar location until a suitable rescue can be found. This alone can cost hundreds of dollars, depending on how long the animal is there.

      5. Transportation: Sometimes, the rescue that can take the animal and care for the animal is nowhere near where the animal was rescued. But with the goal of saving as many lives as possible, rescuers volunteer their time and spend their own money to get these animals someplace safe. Sometimes, this means coordinating volunteers or paying for transportation to transfer the animal to a rescue or foster home in another city, or even another state (or sometimes even in a neighboring country!). The dog I adopted was rescued from a high-kill shelter in California, then boarded, then transferred to an animal rescue just north of the border in Canada! When I adopted her, she was brought back over the border to Washington.

      6. Those are just the most common costs associated with rescuing a dog. Even just one of the above can easily run into the hundreds of dollars. Rescues very rarely charge the actual amount that they spent on the animal from the point of rescue to their final home; they only charge a fraction of the amount, but enough to ensure they can continue to operate and save more lives.

      All that being said, there may very well be unscrupulous people out there who are selling their dogs for $200-$300 and aren’t actually a legitimate rescue. Legitimate rescues should be able to provide you with information on the history of the animal and its rescue, copies of the original shelter adoption papers, and should definitely require an application and adoption contract (copies should be provided to both of you). Although many rescues are very small and haven’t been able to incorporate as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the larger rescues should also be able to provide information/proof of their tax-exempt nonprofit status.


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  6. Donna B. says:

    Hi, I didn’t quite get WHY the pets are in danger! Is this explained in a different post? I’d like to link on Facebook, but need reasons…


  7. Lorea says:

    I would like a copy of your letter.
    Also I would look out for people wanting free dogs, I found a lady who is wanting a free chihuahua with no re-homing fee, because she says she wants to spoil it like her other chihuahua. Well I googled her phone number and email and it turns out she is selling or re-homing various other dogs on craigslist and other sites. Found that strange…


    • yelodoggie says:

      I have heard of people doing this, taking free dogs and rehoming them or selling them. I’m not entirely sure that flipping dogs like this is a bad idea…at least if the person flipping them is careful about the rehoming. In my gut, I feel like it’s preferable to the crap-shoot that “free to a good home” is. I don’t even have an issue with a person taking a pet advertised as free and selling it to recoup food and vetting. Of all the villains taking free pets from Craigslist, I think these must be the least dangerous. If somebody knows differently, please educate me.


      • LouLou says:

        It depends; some people take free dogs to keep them safe and cared for while taking as long as needed to find a safe forever home for them. But many *flippers* just buy dogs, steal them, claim lost dogs as their own, etc., and sell them to whomever will pay just to make a quick buck. Flippers generally don’t care about the safety or health of the animal, or ensuring they are placed in a good home; they just want money. I recently saw a flipper who had obtained a special-needs dog (blind and deaf) and was selling it as a gorgeous, perfectly-healthy purebred dog. That’s so unscrupulous and immoral, it’s unreal. That dog is going to a home where someone isn’t expecting a special-needs dog, so it is very likely going to end up being rehomed again, dumped at a shelter, or costing the new owners a ton of money to diagnose something that was already known to the flipper. Flippers also often will sell sick or dying dogs, as long as they can be temporarily passed off as healthy. This leaves the animal without the care it needs (because the new family has no idea until it’s often too late), and often leaves new families heartbroken when their dog dies of parvo, heartworm, etc. Many people believe if they pay a few hundred dollars for an animal, it’s going to be well-vetted, good lines, healthy, etc., and then they find out tragically that it’s not the case.


  8. Madeline says:

    I agree do not post your dog for FREE on Craigslist or any list for that matter. Even if someone is flipping the dog you don’t know the conditions but then again you really don’t know the conditions if you sell the pet. It is a risky to be trusting to give up on an animal to who knows what! If I was selling an animal I would want to meet them at their home, ask questions and ask if you can stop by a couple times after being re homed. Rescues is another option and if you have to give a little for expenses it is well worth it because you know they will stay until an adopter adopts your pet. Plus they have their own screening for applicants who want the pet.


    • cynthia vanderwerf says:

      Rescues may be a safe alternative but not “Shelters”- even the ones that claim not to kill, often do for reasons they justify – not just becasuse that the dog is a danger to society


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  10. We started a campaign and a petition against Craigslist’s pet ads. Thank you Ariel for writing this excellent article. Our article might be interesting for your community:


  11. TFP says:

    I would NEVER pay someone for abandoning their pet, because I think that sort of thing encourages irresponsible pet ownership. Plus, let’s face it, many of the “rehoming fees” on Craigslist are just being used by owners to recoup the costs of pets they bought but decided they didn’t want, or to sell pets period.

    If you want to encourage safe adoptions, you shouldn’t be advocating rehoming fees (which are nothing more than false security and basically a way for the owners to feel better about themselves for abandoning their pets). You should be encouraging people to do interviews, home visits, and make pet contracts allowing a follow up visit(s), return of the pet if it is incompatible, and serious fines if the pet is abused. Far more effective than asking someone to cough up $75, and less likely to encourage people to buy another pet they might abandon.


    • yelodoggie says:

      I see your point, but I don’t think those expectations are realistic. People who are looking to “unload” their pets fast usually fall into two categories:
      1) they have had a major life change (loss of job, divorce, foreclosure) and either cannot afford to take care of their pet, or more often are moving and can’t take the pet with them. ..
      2) They are people who have not spayed or neutered and suddenly have a litter of puppies or kittens that they don’t want.
      They are offering their pets “free” because they are either desperate or they love the pet and can’t imagine asking for money…they just want to safely rehome. Additionally, most people wouldn’t know what to look for or ask when interviewing someone as a potential home. Desperation over major life changes pretty much ensures that they wouldn’t be able or willing to follow up visits. Those are all things that shelters are trained to do, not the average pet owner.
      I think at the very root, the best tactic that advocates can make is to educate these individuals about what happens to pets offered “Free”.


      • TFP says:

        Well, and you’ve made a valid point too. Those are things shelters and most rescues are trained to do, and if the owners aren’t willing to do it then they should just turn their animals over to one of those agencies (excluding limited space shelters of course).

        You know, as a compromise, I would be willing to donate the rehoming fee to a local animal shelter or rescue. I just don’t believe in paying people any way for abandoning their pets.


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  14. David says:

    I think the most self-righteous, trouble-making busy bodies in this country are the ridiculous “animal rights” people. They always think THEY are the only worthy humans to be around those “beloved animals”, and they harrass and harrass other people so they can feel superior. It is the STUPIDEST thing! I sold a Shih Tsu on Craigslist for $200 before they could flag my ad. I sold that puppy to an elderly couple who in no way were dangerous or unworthy. They looked for a puppy, I had one, I sold it to them, and everyone, including the dang dog, was happy. I tell you what, why in the HECK don’t you MIND YOUR OWN FREAKING BUSINESS, you bunch of stupid troublemakers! Animals aren’t angels and people are the devil. Do you just plain not have anything better to do? Say, helping poor HUMAN children for a change? Oh, but humans aren’t WORTHY of YOU! Only those “beloved” animals. If I have a pup and I sell it to someone who wants it, don’t you DARE try to make me out to be wrong or bad or evil, you nit wit. You make me SICK!


    • yelodoggie says:

      Hey David..apparently, you didn’t bother to actually READ this blog post about Craigslist animals. If you had, you’d have seen that the post is not condemning anybody for SELLING a pet on Craigslist… The danger is for pets that are offered FREE.
      And, for your information, since animal advocacy IS my business, it means that when I see an animal in danger on Craigslist or elsewhere, it is absolutely my business to
      do what I can to remedy the situation and make that animal safe.
      You asked about helping human children. It’s false logic to believe that because someone devotes their time and advocacy to animals that they don’t do anything for humans. Not only is it false logic, it has been my personal experience with animal advocates and activists that nothing could be further from the truth. The people I’ve experienced in rescue are often the first to run to the aid of people in trouble. But since you seem so unconcerned about animals, and so concerned about human children, then I’m glad to know that YOU are doing something for human children that you feel are in danger or in need of help. That means that between you and me, we have two subjects covered.
      Rock on. Advocate for your passion and I’ll advocate for mine.


    • Well David, too bad it doesn’t make you sick enough to stay the hell away and keep your imbecilic opinions to yourself… or on some pro-hunting site. Try following your own incredibly rude advice and mind YOUR own freakin’ biz… I’ll tell you what makes ME sick – giving you any attention at all, but yeah, I bit – after all, getting a rise out of us nitwits is all you really wanted, right? Now you have it… You know why we fight tooth & nail to stop animal sales & giveaways on CL? Because butt munches like you care about one thing, a quick buck – and investigation has proven that giveaways end up in research labs, dog fighting rings and the hands of abusers… but hell, I forgot, WE’RE the stupid troublemakers and I’d better not DARE tell YOU what to do! Ooooh, scary guy 🙂 Don’t let me interrupt that rocket science you’re working on…


    • Johanna Teschner says:

      self-right·eous [self-rahy-chuhs, self-]
      confident of one’s own righteousness, especially when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others.

      David, I thing you are the one who is being self-righteous.

      trou·ble·mak·er [truhb-uhl-mey-ker] Show IPA
      a person who causes difficulties, distress, worry, etc., for others, especially one who does so habitually as a matter of malice.

      Oh, and a trouble-maker. How about that?

      Why on earth be so angry towards someone trying to do some good in the world? You didn’t offer anything helpful, only bile. What is the point? You should provide a link to your advocacy for children, as has been pointed out, animal advocated frequently step up to help humans in need. Please share your cause 🙂


    • Julie Roberts says:

      It sound as though you re-homed a Shih Tzu, with a $200 re-homing fee. Why would you expect to be flagged? That is not the same as people who breed and sell litters, which is a violation of craigslist terms of use.


  15. Carole says:

    It will be a cold day in hell before I try to rehome one of my furbabies on craigs list, I try to tell others of the dangers. No way Jose!


  16. Thanks for the info on craigslist ads for free pets. A friend had told me about these horrible scams and I googled for written info online. I just sent your form letter to 3 people who posted their cats for free. Along with a link to another site that had similar info. I think that a big part of the problem is that most people are not aware of the scams — and it seems to be common for friends to give the advice of “just post on craigslist’ to find a new home for your pet. I know that I was completely unaware of these situations until my friend told me about them, and truly shocked at what can happen. One of the posters wanted the cat picked up ‘by tomorrow’ , and did not even post a picture of the poor cat. I wrote that it would be kinder to drop the cat off at a shelter, even though I know that is not a good thing to do, considering the stories I have been told by the friends who run shelters… but if someone is so desperate and wants to give a cat away asap, what do you say?
    Thanks for your work. I used to not be able to look at the realities of animal abuse, but now I can; and will try my best to spread the word.


    • yelodoggie says:

      Mary, thank you, and all the readers who have asked for my Craigslist letters and are using them. I agree with you, that most of the people who offer pets free on Craigslist have no idea of the dangers. People who offer their pets free are not bad people, they are usually desperate, and they think that asking for money for a pet that they love is wrong. The best thing we can do is educate.


  17. Eric G. says:

    It pains me to see someone advertising a pet or puppies on Craigslist then turning around and asking for a rehoming fee. A fee? That is absurd, there are already fees and licenses required, vet expenses and food costs. To many people are using the rehoming fee as a way around the Craigslist rules of selling pets. I have seen rehoming fees for puppies with no shots or anything going from 50-900 dollars usually AKC. I am sorry but these people are “selling” the dogs.

    I am from the country and I have never paid for a single dog, all have lived long healthy lives two of which lived 16 years and they were not indoor dogs. So to say that a dog is endangered if you do not charge a rehoming fee is utter nonsense. To me your trying to justify why some are selling on Craigslist.

    Currently my wife and I are trying to find a Golden Retriever/Black Lab Female Puppy. Preferably a mix of the two, we want it to be 8-12 weeks old. This puppy will be given a healthy life in a home full of love, she will be trained for service as my wife is partially deaf. My wife does not qualify for a service dog because her need is less than many others applying so we figured we could handle the training.

    Due to the way posts are being handled on Craigslist we have had virtually no luck finding a pet that meets our needs. Twice we were negotiating with someone that went from free dog to saying they now want $100-250 for a rehoming fee because they were contacted by someone telling them of the horrors if they give it away. So are you helping people? I do not think so, instead you are probably hurting the people and the pet because instead of a pet going to a home that can care for them and love them they are instead staying somewhere they are not getting the love or going to a shelter because they can not be cared for any longer.

    I am a public safety employee in North Texas, my wife is a full-time student and we love dogs and grew up with multiple dogs in caring homes.


    • yelodoggie says:

      Eric, I have no doubt that there are lots of loving homes who would take a free pet and love that animal and take care of it for the rest of its life. I do not, however, think a reasonable rehoming fee is absurd. I’m not talking about a $900 rehoming fee (like you mentioned, but which I’ve never actually seen myself), because that is obviously someone selling the pet, and trying to get around Craigslist policies. But saying an animal is endangered by being offered free, is NOT utter nonsense. Here are some perfect examples: Jeff Nally obtained 29 animals from free or low cost classified ads, many of them puppies, then tortured, mutilated and killed them. Here is a list of class “B” dealers, who acquire pets from “Free to good home” ads and sell them to laboratories. It is a multi-million dollar business.
      Here is a Newsweek article that outlines the problem.
      So while your own experience may be that you have obtained free pets in the past, and you have loved them and given them a loving home, that is NOT the only experience that ‘free’ pets are having. Indeed, most of them are experiencing a much grimmer reality.
      Is it really so important for you to obtain a dog free? Especially one that you say will be a valued family member? Does an animal have to be free to be welcomed, loved and cared for in your home? And if it’s a matter of not being able to afford to pay for a pet, are you sure you can pay for what is needed to take care of it for the next 10-15 years?


      • Eric Gildersleeve says:

        It would be a lot easier for us to pay for the care that any dog should receive with a new home by proper vet visits, licensing fees, and getting setup with food if we did not have to pay a rehoming fee. It seems you picked the some of the worst case scenarios, it is like comparing McVeigh to Ryder Trucking. Sure there are extremists but you don’t see Ryder truck not renting anymore because someone might blow up a building. Would I pay for a family member? No absolutely not. I would never purchase a family member, I feel that if you purchase a dog then it is not a member of the family but instead it is a possession no different than a Television that provides entertainment. That would be like purchasing a your baby from someone else. Would you not take your family member to a doctor? There are laws against that in animals too. As for the pets being sold for lots of money here are just a few links: Up to $1800 $1000

        So as you can see they are on there. Just search for puppy and put a number at the end you will come up with pages of hits. These are the Dallas area which is our market area. Texas recently enacted a puppy mill law and there have been hundreds of puppies dumped across Texas due to it. Oklahoma I think also enacted one. So it may be an issue but to a lesser extent.


      • yelodoggie says:

        Eric, all four of the Craigslist ads you posted here are people who are selling dogs. This is against TOS on Craigslist and I have flagged all four of these ads. None of them mentioned a “rehoming” fee.
        Unfortunately, the cases I have shown you are not unusual. I am an animal advocate as well as a reporter, and cases of animal abuse against pets obtained from ‘free’ ads come to my attention all too often.
        Frankly, I find it disturbing that you would argue that pets should be free, and that people should be allowed to offer them so, without any concern for where the animal will end up. I don’t know why anyone who look for an animal on Craigslist, which is full of scams and thieves.
        If you are looking for a certain type of dog, why don’t you try petfinders? You can find any breed you are looking for there, the animals are housed at reputable rescues, and the adoption fees help those rescues recoup the money they have expended for vetting, spaying/neutering and in some cases training. Don’t look at it as “buying” the pet, but as recompensating the rescue for the great work they are doing and for the pre-vetted animal you are getting? Here’s an earlier blog post about what it costs a rescue to take in an animal.


  18. Eric Gildersleeve says:


    Rescues can be a great choice for some people. They are not the choice we want as we are looking for a service dog. To many dogs that are from rescues have “emotional” problems. How do I know this? A friend and co-worker is a service animal trainer. Her recommendation, stay away from the rescues. The animal is commonly transferred from a bad home to a kennel where the animal can be carefully examined, it is usually put into a quarantine for several weeks while a suitable “foster home” can be found. Here, it is the responsibility of the foster parents to care for the dog, usually involving the costs of vet, food, and ancillary items. Now I am sure that not all rescues are the same, from the experiences I’ve had so far they are not innocent in the world.

    Furthermore, many of the rescues have a contract associated with them, this is not just with rescues some breeders as well. First, they have the right to show up at your home unannounced for “visits” for the life of the pet. They claim to be looking out for the well being of the pet. Further in the contract some claim they have the right to “take the pet” on the spot if they feel the home conditions are not good for the animal. So, for instance you live in a country home and suddenly for unforeseen circumstance you need to move to the city in an apartment they could take your family member! Second, many of these “rescues” charge as much as a breeder for the animal, so how is this a good thing, they don’t house the dogs at the rescues they are with foster homes.

    You may be an animal advocate, but I am a red blooded country hick. I hunt, fish, process my own beef, milk cows, and think there is nothing wrong with animal labaratory testing (hundreds of things you use daily can be traced back to a laboratory test). I am also an employee in Homeland Security, many of the animal advocate groups out there are actually “HOMELAND TERRORISTS” these advocates are even on the terrorist watch lists. PETA is a good example. Now, don’t get me wrong I am not saying all animal advocates are terrorists, not all are even associated with a terrorist group. But, what I am saying is that you are going after the wrong people. Go after those that cruelly treat animals and leave the rest of us alone.

    As for Craigslist, I have already sent them a letter on my feelings of the “REHOMING FEE” that they allow. I’ve pointed out that many post a “Rehoming Fee but put 500, 700, 900, heck last night I found a guy that has AKC Registered 13 Week Old Yellow Lab Puppies and is doing a rehoming fee of 1300.00 each! What was my recommendation to Craigslist? Here it is outlined below:

    Set terms for the Craigslist “rehoming fee” anyone posting more than 15 puppies/kittens/animals on Craigslist a year should have their privileges to post pets revoked. Charge for the posting a simple fee of $10 for each post should be acceptable, similar to how some property advertisements or services are charged for. Have set limits on the rehoming fees, the breakdown is below:

    For All Animals:
    Animals that have no records of shots, vet visits, and are not spayed/neutered: $Free-50.00
    Animals that have records of shots or vet visits but are not spayed/neutered: $51.00-100.00
    Animals that have records of shots, vet visits, and are spayed/neutered: $101.00-150.00

    I also think that ages should be taken into account, animals over one year are the hardest to find a new home for. It should be recommended that these pets have a 50-75% reduction in rehoming fee. The terms should be attached to every listing. Now, they should also allow pets for sale again. This will be set up for breeders that are legally licensed by the state in which they reside. If no license is required then they are denied the ability to post. It should also be included that a copy of the license be attached as an image and inline text be included. This keeps the puppy mills from taking advantage of Craigslist and unsuspecting clients.

    So, as you see I am not heartless or without feelings. I just feel that the process needs better regulation and it would help those of us that are looking to provide the corny term “forever homes” and want to love an animal but, won’t stop people from finding appropriate homes.


    Eric G.


    • yelodoggie says:

      Eric, you certainly have a right to your opinion, even though the facts indicate that contrary to what you believe, in more cases than not offering a pet “free” is dangerous to the animal.
      Your rehoming scale looks good except for that first suggestion, which should be $25 – $50.
      Selling live animals on Craigslist is against their terms of service. When you see puppies listed for such high prices, those are breeders that are selling litters and that is prohibited. You can ‘flag’ those posts and they will be removed. You wrote “what I am saying is that you are going after the wrong people. Go after those that cruelly treat animals and leave the rest of us alone.”

      But that is exactly the point, Eric. We ARE going after the people who treat animals cruelly by removing an avenue by which they are able to obtain their victims without cost. If a buncher is not able to obtain animals free from ads, he can’t accrue dozens of them easily in order to sell them to class B dealers to sell to laboratories, or to dog fighting operations to blood their fighters. We are attempting to cut off the supply, and protect the animals who might otherwise become victims to this cruel behavior. Did you know that most people who offer pets FREE on Craigslist are more often thankful to learn how it puts their pets in danger, because that’s not what they want for their pets?

      You wrote that shelter animals are fine for some people, but not for you. I’d like to point out to you that just because an animal is in a shelter, doesn’t mean that animal is in someway ‘damaged’. You said a trainer told you that too many dogs from rescues have “emotional” problems. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even former fight dogs can be rehabilitated to be service dogs, and many have been trained accordingly. There are a number of widely publicized cases proving that; Michael Vick’s former dogs, included. Your friend’s assessment also overlooks the fact that there are millions of puppies available in rescues across the country. How could a puppy have “emotional” problems when they’ve had no life experience as yet to create them? Sorry, but it’s just a load of BS.

      You have digressed widely from the subject of the blog post and touched on several other issues in your comments, making me wonder a little if you are trying to get a rise here. But I’ll address them one at a time. You commented that rescues have a contract associated with them. That contract is generally to ensure that you have taken the animal for life, and it restricts you from giving the animal away or surrendering the animal anywhere but back to them. I’ve never heard of a rescue taking an adopted animal away because someone had to move…UNLESS the new place of residence does not accept pets…so again, you are mistaken. All good rescues do an initial home inspection. If you have nothing to hide, that shouldn’t be an issue. They will often check up one or two more times during the first year to make sure the animal is a good fit with your family and to address any problems you may be having. This is called RESPONSIBLE RESCUE. You wrote that you “wouldn’t ‘pay for a family member” It’s really no different from adopting a child, which incidentally costs money, involves a home inspection and periodic checks for the first year, too. (

      RE: Fosters: Some people who foster for rescues incur all the costs for the animal while it is in their care, while others receive financial help from the rescue to care for the animal. Either way, the money that exchanges hands in an adoption makes it possible for the rescue to take in more animals. Rescues are the last hope for millions of pets every year. Don’t think of it as “Buying your family member”, think of it as “donating to a good cause.”

      I’m not sure what point you are trying to make when you wrote “you may be an animal advocate, but I am a red blooded country hick”. One doesn’t necessarily preclude the other. I know lots of animal advocates who grew up in, and still live a country life.

      As an employee of Homeland Security, you must realize that the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) is a ridiculous piece of legislation. AETA was passed in the House with just six members of Congress present. Senator Feinstein, cited protesters’ harassment of researchers who perform animal testing at the the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) as a key motivation to introducing this legislation. It was another nail in the coffin for our rights as Americans during the Bush administration – limiting our freedom of speech. You mentioned PETA, but you might be surprised that most animal advocates today reject PETA, their methods and their actions.

      You also wrote “there is nothing wrong with animal laboratory testing (hundreds of things you use daily can be traced back to a laboratory test)”. That may be true of hundreds of things that YOU use daily, but personally, I make a good effort to stay away from products made by companies that test on animals. In some cases, (like medication) it’s impossible…but the benefit of learning is that we can make more informed and humane decisions. Additionally, computer science has rendered most animal testing obsolete and unnecessary in this day and age.


    • caringpetperson says:

      Good points! I have continually put on BEWARE notes on Craigslist to warn sellers to put a rehoming price on their pet, told them if the pet price is too cheap there is a chance their pet will be in danger, or that someone will flip it.

      I have pointed out that there are NO money guidelines listed in CL’s rules about how much is too much to charge, therefore any price should be allowed as a rehoming fee as long as it covers all vet bills, spaying, training, etc. a person has put into a pet. This easily can mount up to $200 and more and since CL says expenses can be added, there should be nothing wrong with charging $200 to rehome your pet.

      When it comes to listing parrots, some species are a lot more expensive than other species, so rehoming an african grey for $25 is absolutely ridiculous. They sell for $1,000 in a pet shop!

      I resent the flagging system CL has, letting the public decide that if they do not like the price asked, the flag button is hit. I have been called names and cursed at because I bring up these points. In other words, CL’s rules are wishy washy leaving prices up to interpretation, which I feel is wrong. I am sick of idiots telling me how much I should charge for my own property, yes, pets legally are property. There is no way in _ _ _ _ I would sell a pedigreed dog for a “rehoming” fee of only $25.00. Or a parrot for even $50. So I will not advertise on CL.

      CL is not concerned about the safety of any animal on their site. I have put so many help notes in the pet columns in Ohio that I just got an email from one of the head muckey-mucks telling me to quit putting my notes in the pet column or I will be blocked off of CL. The only place for my comments is to put them in the Rants and Raves Column. THAT column has all the X-Rated Drunken Wierdos posting on it. Family pet owners do not read that column!

      This is another thing that makes me think less of the management of
      CL. Sure it is nice for buyers to get pets for free, but the seller has to think of their pet’s well being I would think. It is not right to flag sale ads if one does not agree with the price asked either.

      It actually does look like I care for a stranger’s pets more than they do! Yes, I do pet rescue also. And I know how to interview potential adopters, but the normal pet seller has no idea on how to approach this project. The public just needs a little reminder or help from a friend, I feel. But CL has given me a warning to stay off of the pet column with my comments…. And I won’t use Rants and Raves for obvious reasons!

      Please, contact every rescue person you can to put notes on CL to help unwanted pets get rehomed safely (Cleveland and Akron). I have to be cautious now.


    • Julie Roberts says:

      You say you wouldn’t pay for a family member, but people such as myself, do pay adoption fees for children, every day.
      I agree that it would save a lot of negative interaction if craigslist would set the fees. However, people who post on craigslist don’t seem to bother to follow the Terms of Use, that they agreed to.


  19. Angie says:

    I just want to say, I know there are a lot of crazy people in the world, but then again, there are those of us who have a lot of love to give who can’t afford a huge fee to get a pet. Last year, I got a wonderful dog from a family who needed to relocate but wanted a good home. I have a Jackabee at home who has separation anxiety and I wanted another dog not only to love but to also be a companion to my dog. I couldn’t afford to pay a big fee, but I could guarantee a good home for her puggle with a lot of love. I am so glad that I was able to get this dog to add to our family from craigslist and that the woman was more concerned with finding a good home then the cash. When I picked up our new addition to our family, I also gave the woman every possible way to get in touch with me incase she changed her mind as it was so hard for her to let this dog go. (I’m glad she didn’t, because I love this dog and couldn’t bear to lose her now, and she and my other dog are best friends). We actually went as far as to research where this dog might have gone to the vets to get her records so we could keep up on her health and her shots. And the money we saved we could use to get our dog things she needed including her shots. If it wasn’t for this person posting on Craigslist, I wouldn’t have this little dog to love. Just so people know, not everyone has bad intentions! Thank you!


    • yelodoggie says:

      Hi Angie, thanks for reading Up on the Woof and commenting. I’m glad that everyone involved in your transaction had a good experience. I wish that were the case for every pet listed on Craigslist.


  20. Those are great letters! I get yelled at and told to mind my own business all of the time when I send similar notes to people. You know what though? Some complete stranger yelling at me through email is a small price to pay if I stand the chance of actually reaching some people and helping educate them so that they’ll change their mind about what they’re doing on Craigslist. Another great tip is to start an email address to use only for these type emails. That way, any negative responses will go straight to that and won’t be all up in your regular email in-box every time that you turn around. Plus people can’t Spam you at your regular email address if they get too pissed at such a note as what we’re sending. Thanks for all that you’re doing!


  21. Oh, I forgot to give you links to two more stories in case anyone ever wants more proof from you about how dangerous Craigslist is. This guy is in my area and got this poor little puppy (and possibly the other pets that he killed) from Craigslist:

    And this story went nationwide from Kansas:


  22. What’s Taking place i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found
    It absolutely helpful and it has helped me out loads.

    I hope to give a contribution & assist different users like its helped me.
    Good job.


  23. Hi,
    I started a group on Facebook called FLAGGING Animal Sales on CraigsList, .
    You are welcome to join and re-post ads.


  24. I am taking on your challenge for my area. I am tired of seeing and hearing all of the abuse stories of what should be beloved family members. Heck, I just got arrested for re-homing two strays that were underweight. (All strays have owners says the law).


  25. Thank you for all of this information; this is a great educational tool, and it’s wonderful to see someone else taking it so seriously! I am running a small rescue in my region, specifically dedicated to education of people regarding free CL animals, assisting with rehoming safely when we can, and rescuing high-risk animals (those that are being rehomed for free when owners don’t have the time or don’t wish to be selective about where they go, or to whom). When we get bigger, we’re hoping to expand our education and rescue efforts to other regions as well; it’s great to see that we are not alone in our concerns and focus in the meantime! 🙂


  26. Deborah young says:

    3 days ago I went to Craigslist in the Seattle area to find an adoptable new pet and not because I watched the Westminister dog show. It only pissed me off. 2 days later
    I started a campaign to end the practice of pet sellers hiding behind the “R” word Rehoming….I expressed my feeling in the pet section and was attacked by the Flag-ga-tha Isis fairy princess censor brigade.
    Which is what I call the pet sellers because they don’t, like my words so they chop off my head like the cowardly hooded Isis Klux Klan..The next day I became a pet seller flagger. If Craigslist won’t do it then the public army must do it. Flag-Gathas flags are like rocket fuel to me. It only takes minutes in my Area to troll through the newest ads and from all the support that Ive ‘gotten from the public, I have been offered flagging assistance. I know that I am an agitater but I feel it necessary after all we the people have deemed ourselves the gatekeepers of animals especially cats and dogs and I take that very seriously. A dog has more heart, more courage, give more love than most people that I know. I will be on the job every single day..We must….will defeat them.


  27. Ed Kelly says:

    Rehoming fees have a purpose. Here’s a thought. What if you did a refundable rehoming fee?
    The person taking the pet pays the rehoming fee. If after a certain period of time, (3-6 months) they can show they still have the animal and are taking good care of it, then they get the fee back.
    What are your thoughts.


  28. s.brown says:

    I got a free puppy and a free $900 Maine Coon cat off of Craigslist. I was so happy to meet people who don’t want to sell animals as I’m not into that .. thank you.. s. brown


  29. Pingback: Before You Flag That Pet Ad on Craigslist | Up on the Woof

  30. K says:

    Thank you! I know this is a decade old post but not much has changed in the world in this subject.
    I just stumbled on this blog. I have been doing the same thing in the sf bay area for the last few years ever since i read about puppy doe. Ive always expected to get hate mail in reply but i too received alot of thankful replies because they had no idea. Hi five to you kindred spirit! Thank you!


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