We all love craigslist, right?
When David and I first moved to the U.S., I always heard: “check craigslist” or “list it on craigslist.” It was very interesting that such a simply-designed platform is the most popular online classifieds marketplace. Easy to handle, you can get your product up and running to sell on the platform, or find whatever you desire, all in a few minutes. I don’t have to explain craigslist – so many of us use it.
Besides the fact that you can find furniture, cars, apartments, new friends and tickets for an upcoming event, you can also purchase living creatures — and that’s what bothers me. We are not talking about ads and postings of pet rescues or individuals who foster a pet and try to use the platform to find a new loving home. I even posted my little kitty “Thursday” on craigslist but wasn’t very happy with the results I got. People were looking for an X-Mas gift or just a free cat. Sometimes you are really lucky and can find a new responsible owner/pet parent through craigslist, the way Rufino found his little Ringo Star. Ringo had been listed by Happy Angels Dog Rescue and it helped him find the best home ever, in Ringo’s case. I’m also not discriminating against responsible certified breeders – so please don’t write me ugly emails.
Today, I want to write about the shady business of backyard breeders, puppy mill operators and other irresponsible people that is widespread on craigslist. You can find tons of inhumane breeding, stud services, pit-puppies, unaltered dogs and advertisements and postings of dogs, cats, birds, horses…. on a daily basis. Animals sold for profit, stud services… traded for iPods or bikes…and the list goes on…
My rescue friend Ingrid made me aware of a friend of hers, who is herself fighting with this issue, and for many months now. I received an email asking for my help and thought, That’s something we have to support – we have to take action. Craigslist is not showing any kind of interest, and while I understand that filtering bad from good ads is very difficult, perhaps craigslist will develop a filter in the future, or I can get feedback from this post.
The only way to clean this platform at the moment is to flag each single irresponsible posting. The more people flag, the more ads will disappear. Many rescue groups are working very hard and people are fighting this but have not been able to stop it, so the more people made aware of it, the better. Craigslist doesn’t do a thing about it and neither does Marcia Mayeda, Director of Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control nor does Brenda F. Barnette, General Manager, LA Animal Services! Lots of these poor animals end up at the shelter, as bait or in research labs!
It’s terrible and contributes big time to the mass killing of innocent and healthy dogs and cats in shelters. Various organizations claim 5 – 12 million healthy and adoptable animals are killed in shelters annually, for lack of homes. If you have 5 minutes check http://losangeles.craigslist.org/pet and see for yourself. I also want to give you some numbers and info regarding why you should support the efforts of individuals in flagging dubious craigslist ads.
52 million dogs live in 35 million US households
6.2 million dogs die each year – 2.4 million in shelters
About 4 million dogs enter shelters each year:
400,000 puppies come from households that produce litters but do not place the pups in new homes.
About 2.2 million strays; reclaimed by their owners: about 600,000, (leaving 1.6 million strays available for adoption).
About 1.8 million owner surrenders, (300,000 for euthanasia and 1.5 million for adoption).
1 million of the 3.1 million dogs available for adoption do get new homes, leaving 2.1 million additional dogs euthanized.
Craig Newmark is the founder of craigslist.org. He has an awesome blog craigconnects and many other very interesting online projects, like the Craigslist Foundation, and he is a supporter of many good causes. Let’s see if we can connect with Craig or Jim Buckmaster CEO of CL, who runs the business, and remind Craig of his statement which he has published on his blog: Using technology to give the voiceless a real voice and the powerless real power. Now, we want to remind you that these animals are all voiceless and powerless… we are their voice. This is reality and we really need your help. I also sent Craig an email and I’m excited to hear his feedback. I’ll post an Update for sure.
Update, December 28, 2011: I’m not surprised, we haven’t received any reaction from Craigslist. Social Media is great – the article is getting a lot of attention and Craigslist shouldn’t underestimate this. Diana from bitrebels.com, a business friend of my husband, is willing to help us. I started a petition today and we need you to collect 10,000 signatures of animal lovers who do care. If you have any suggestions or you are interested in our efforts, let me know and I’ll provide the embed code for the petition widget. Please take action, it takes 1 min!
Update, December 29, 2011: We need supporters to help us build awareness. Being a petition promoter is easy, all promoters need to do is post our petition on Facebook, email or IM friends, or get some bloggers to put up our widget. Remember, word of mouth is still the most powerful way to gain support for any online campaign.
Update, January 3, 2012: The support of the animal/pet community is amazing – thank you. Many discussion forums are dealing with the topic: chatting, talking, educating each other. I love it – we kicked the ball and it’s rolling!I know some people still think that the Craigslist postings are not really an issue, and aren’t seeing their connection to the mass killing of animals. I have started to collect pet ads on Craigslist just in the L.A. area to show how serious this really is. I’ll do this for a week from today on, and will put some statistics together. I will also try to show the difference between a posting from a rescue or foster home, and a posting from a backyard breeder.
Update, January 27, 2012: I’ve received feedback from several people more or less involved in animal welfare and it’s clear to me that some are still really not aware of the effects of posting animals for sale online. Only a few are upset; others are thrilled by what we’ve started. I also want to mention that we’ve recently interviewed PupQuest (an awesome source of information) and urge all to check out their reasons as to why animals should not be posted/traded online.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m keeping track of Craigslist pet ads and have recognized a pretty impressive number of them in the past 3 weeks. I couldn’t check Craigslist ads every day, but tried every other day. How did I do it? I recorded the ads people post to sell, trade, breed or give away a dog/cat/bird/rabbit/horse. I also realized that the Craigslist terms of asking a rehoming fee is just a joke. I’ve noticed many ads asking for a rehoming fee of 50$ or less… or even statements that the advertisers are actually willing to trade the animal, or simply give it away, because they have to move or for other weak, unacceptable reasons.
Some breeders weren’t so amused by the article and asked me to find a hobby to keep myself busy… to which I say, LOL, and thanks. I do have many hobbies and one of them is caring about the well-being of animals. One of them asked me in a private email: “Do you want me to dump the puppies? It’s better to sell them.”
Let’s get back to the numbers: Approximately 50 ads are posted every day by individuals in the Los Angeles area selling (with a rehoming fee:)) or trading animals (many of them puppies). Approximately 5 people are looking for a dog to breed on their own. I just checked Craigslist’s pet ads this morning to find, again, many, many, many animal posts (puppies, young dogs, reptiles, rabbits…). With approximately 350 ads a week, this presents a total of 1400 questionable ads a month posted by individuals, and I’m not talking about rescues and animal welfare organizations.
Some of the puppies are given away too early, at only 5 or 6 weeks old, and here is one of the most common lies on Craigslist: “I hate to let go of him/her but I have to move and where I’m going doesn’t allow pets.”I’d also like to show how what a truly irresponsible ad looks like; here’s a recent example: “ALBERT” IS A GREAT DOG – I AM SHOWING HIM TODAY IN MALIBU – PLEASE RESPOND IF YOU ARE INTERESTED – I AM LEAVING TOWN THIS WEEKEND AND NEED TO GIVE AWAY MY DOGS AND PUPPIES. Craigslist asks people to flag with care. Yes, I did flag with care….all of the private, questionable, irresponsible shady ads, as “prohibited”.
I know that other platforms such as ebay, local classifieds in newspapers and magazines and online classified platforms are an issue too. We’ll get there…:)
I haven’t received any reaction from Craigslist. I know that many people are joining the fight against this inhumane practice and flagging the shady posts themselves. This upsets some breeders and other sellers, who in turn complain and ask Craigslist for a solution…which is excellent. Our petition will be available until July 2012.Please pass the petition to your friends, family and neighbors. We need your support to make a change. PETITION
Update, February 13, 2012: Bloggers like Ariel support our mission. Thank you so much. Ariel published an article about pets ads on Craigslist last year and explained the dangers of putting pet ads on the internet. See her articles: “Pets in Danger on craigslist” and “No Free Puppies or Kittens”. Diana from bitrebels.com published an article using our post as the core idea. Thank you! Read the article here.
After many requests we do have the article in spanish. Please read the article in spanish here.
Update, May 11, 2012: I’m checking Craigslist almost every other week and I get frustrated every time when I search for key words; ‘Puppies’ or ’Pitbull’. I find people advertising with puppies of all breeds, young dogs and cats. The figures are not decreasing and I have the feeling that there is a flood of puppies on craigslist at the moment.
Please also read this article if you want to know more about how dogs end up as bait dogs. Read the story of a former bait dog published on Pet Pardons news blog.
This is another story of Jeffrey Nally, from New Cumberland West Virginia. Nally was accused of mutilating and killing 29 puppies that he obtained through classified ads and Craigslist “free to good home” ads. http://news.petpardons.com/free-to-a-good-home-craigslist-dog-killer-sentenced-in-west-virginia/
I heard about another story where dogs get stolen from backyards and later advertised on Craigslist to be sold for $50 to $75.
We need to get the attention of Craigslist’s CEO via social media. If you want to get involved please send a direct message on Twitter to the CEO of Craigslist @jimbuckmaster or the founder @craignewmark with: Stop pet ads on craigslist! #Craigslist #Pets or contact craigslist here.
Here are some examples of ads on craigslist: