Why You Should NEVER, EVER Give Animals Away on Craigslist
Craigslist is great for finding a job, an apartment, a car, an appliance, and tons of other things. What it’s NOT good for is finding a happy home for animals. (And neither are newspaper classified sections, bulletin boards, or other public advertising spaces, for that matter.)
We’ve all seen “free to a good home” ads on Craigslist. More than likely, the people giving away animals have good intentions, but these ads can be dangerous (and even deadly!). They are magnets for animal abusers. Many people who wouldn’t be approved to adopt an animal from a shelter can get their hands on one through classified ads. There are many examples of horrible people who’ve acquired animals for the sole purpose of torturing and killing them—which is why it’s so important to properly screen potential adopters and charge a reasonable adoption fee.
The story of a pig who was adopted through Craigslist in Georgia plays out like a nightmare: Instead of treating him like a companion, she fattened him up for slaughter and apparently asked two people to kill him. Workers who happened to be at a neighbor’s house reported that the pig had been shot in the side and said that they had also seen him running across the yard with a pickaxe stuck in his back and later being beaten in the face with poles and other objects. His painful hours-long “botched slaughtering” ordeal didn’t end until the police were finally called and an officer shot him in the head.
A man in New Jersey was sentenced to five years in prison in 2008 for torturing and killing 19 cats he had obtained through newspaper ads. He admitted to breaking their bones, stomping on them, throwing them against a wall, and drowning them. Now living in Delaware, the same man reportedly contacted people on Craigslist about their ads for free or low-cost kittens. According to them, he has accepted at least five cats who are now nowhere to be found.
In Olympia, Washington, a man was accused of using Craigslist to find guinea pigs, rabbits, rats, chickens, and dogs and then starving and killing them. When officers searched his home, they found animals in filthy cages and the bodies of more than 20 dead animals. Some of them were hanging from the walls! The man reportedly told the people who posted the ads that he wanted to “rescue” their animals.
In Athens, Alabama, a 48-year-old man was charged with 22 counts of cruelty to animals. He allegedly found kittens for sale on Craigslist and took them home to his “cat room,” where he reportedly tortured them by throwing them against the floor and stomping on them because he was “mad at the world.”
A family gave away their pit bull named Duke through a “free to a good home” Craigslist ad to a couple who “seemed nice.” Later, a witness called the police after seeing a young man kicking and beating the dog, who fortunately was rescued but will have a permanent limp as a result of his injuries.
A 25-year-old man from Reno, Nevada, was sentenced to 28 years in prison for his horrific abuse of dogs. He searched for dogs on Craigslist and, to the people who had posted the ads, appeared to be a nice, clean-cut young man. However, he tortured, mutilated, and killed seven dogs in hotel and motel rooms.
A 27-year-old man in Virginia Beach, Virginia, tied his dog’s legs together and muzzled her before setting her on fire while she was still ALIVE. The man had obtained her for free from an ad on Craigslist.
— Brian Farrell 13News (@13BrianFarrell) June 1, 2015
These are just a few of the hideous incidents that have resulted when people gave animals away on Craigslist or through other classified ads and failed to screen adopters thoroughly.
If you need to find a home for an animal, never, ever place a “free to a good home” ad. Take the animal to a well-run open-admission shelter. If there isn’t one near you, try to find an adopter from among your friends and family and ask them to ask their friends. Then screen potential adopters very carefully—visit their homes, check their references, ask them questions about animals they’ve had in the past and what they would do if they had to move, and charge an adoption fee. See our full list of tips for screening potential adopters to help ensure that the new home you find for your animal will be a safe and happy one.