By: N Gilbert
There have been many people placing classifieds ads to warn people of the dangers that listing your pet as free could bring, But are people taking it seriously? Probably not, since the amount of dogs being listed as free on sites like Craigslist doesn't seem to be slowing down. It has a lot to do with people thinking that 'free' will give them a better chance of them getting rid of their pet quicker, without care as to what fate they might endure.
Ending up as bait is one of the cruelest things these 'free' pets could become. Free pets becoming bait has been reported more then just a few times. To the surprise of many, its not just pit bulls that can end up chained and duct taped to a fence waiting to be torn apart. Many breeds including the smaller dogs and puppies have not been spared from this act of evil. The people who do such horrible things scan listings for free animals and will usually have people posing as the 'good home' ready to convince you that your pet will be safe.
Please remember that your pet depends on you to look out for them even if you need to place them into another home. Here are some tips that will help you prevent your pet from becoming the news.
Some folks answering the "Free to Good Home" ads really are loving, responsible pet owners. Many--perhaps even most--are not. There are steps YOU can take to help end abuse: from saveofshepherds.org
DON'T advertise Free pets; DO convince others not to. Some people even take the time to phone owners of pets advertising Free to Good Home and warn them of the dangers.
DO spay/neuter to keep from creating possible Free to Good Home situations or condemning your pet to a short, miserable life in a puppy mill.
DO write letters to the editors of your local newspapers warning of the dangers of Free to Good Home.
DO contact breed rescue organizations (there is one for every breed of pure-bred dog!) or local animal welfare organizations for help in placing unwanted pets; if you bought the pet from a responsible breeder, he/she will help you rehome the pet.
DO charge at least $25 to discourage resale of pets to labs. (Some sources suggest charging no less than $100 for pure-bred dogs.)
DO take the time to interview every prospective owner. Ask for vet and personnel references, and check them, then visit the new home where your pet might be living!
DO write a letter to your congressmen in support of doing away with Class B dealers, who sell animals obtained from "random sources" to research facilities. Random sources include strays, stolen pets, seized shelter animals, animals purchased at flea markets--and pets found through "Free to good home" ads.
DO report any incidence of suspected dog-fighting to police, Animal Control, and your local Humane Society. DON'T try to stop these people yourselves; there is a lot of money involved here, and you could be putting yourself and your pets at risk if you try to intervene alone.
DO call police, animal welfare workers, even the health department, if someone in your area seems to be "collecting" cats or dogs
DO write to district attorneys, judges, and prosecutors if you hear of the arrest of any so-called collectors in your area, and urge them not only to prosecute to the full extent of the law, but also to mandate psychological counseling for these individuals in the hopes of avoiding repeat violations.
DO call police or animal welfare workers for any incidences of suspected abuse. Be willing to testify in court, if necessary. Note: what constitutes animal abuse is defined by state law. If your state has inadequate abuse laws, TRY TO CHANGE THEM!