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Craigslist’s shady pet advertisers contribute to mass killing of healthy animals [Updates]

Ad seen on craigslist December 22nd 2011

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.

Took me 10 minutes to flag 10 ads.

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 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 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, 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!

Sign the petition here!

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.

This is an ad where someone wants to sell the KOIS as soon as possible with the words – very cheap!

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.”

This guy sells chicken. Text of ad: She is humped back from inbreeding or something

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 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.

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:

2 friends are looking for a male poodle to breed with.

Ad’s of 3 days – old listings (not available anymore)

29 replies on “Craigslist’s shady pet advertisers contribute to mass killing of healthy animals [Updates]”

I am a member of a Facebook group for those in the rescue field, and we see these posts all the time… Like you, we flag those that are like this. Although I do use Craigslist for things like garage sales and even job hunting… I feel that it is outdated and could use quite a bit of change. I’m not sure why they could change the sexual ads but not pets… Both involve living organisms and should be monitored to avoid abuse. In any case, I’m creating a way for people to sell items on my website, and each post will be personally monitored by me. Sometimes, boycotting is the ONLY way to get a response… Anyone wanting to boycott Craigslist… Can feel free to join me on my site.

There’s been a growing movement on Craigslist LA over the last year or so. Not only are more people flagging breeder’s ads, calling the numbers posted when animal neglect or cruelty is suspected, but there are more anti-byb, pro “adopt don’t shop” postings.

It’s about time that the general public is educated on what is happening to all these innocent animals. I LOVE this article and would like permission to share it on Craigslist, too!

When did animals become so damn disposable?!

You are more than welcome to share the article on Craigslist. Thank you for your support. We collected almost 200 signatures in 2 days, yay. ~Yurda

This is so sad and so true. I worked in rabbit rescue and have several rescued rabbits now. There are dozens of ads every week on craigslist posted by backyard breeders of rabbits. The shelters are overflowing with relinquished rabbits because people just wanted to have fun with a bunny and not commit to the complex daily care of an adult rabbit. It just breaks your heart. So many of them never getting adopted and being destroyed. Breeders think they have found a “loophole” by placing the rabbit ads in the “farm and garden” category, conveniently choosing to view rabbits as livestock. This is, of course, ridiculous. Even Whole Foods market declined to sell rabbit meat because, in America, rabbits are PETS! They are treated as such at shelters and rescues around the country. Millions of people share their homes with rabbits as pets. They can be litter box trained (as are mine) and are as affectionate and intelligent as any dog (in many cases, much more intelligent). Why doesn’t craigslist care???? I have copied and sent many ads to them through their contact form. Never a response. So now I try to post a couple a day on a facebook page dedicated to flagging animal sales on craigslist.

These backyard breeders and irresponsible individuals do not only cause the killing of innocent animals in the government shelters but also the overflow of no-kill shelters and rescue organizations. Hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats are waiting often for years (and SOME NEVER GET ADOPTED AND DIE OF OLD AGE IN A KENNEL) to be adopted.

Informed “animal people” know to NEVER buy a puppy sight unseen and know that reputable breeders NEVER sell puppies to strangers online. When you are flagging Craig’s list posts please add to the Craig’s list page instead. It gets flagged eventually as well but PupQuest gets a lot of hits from Craig’s list when it is posted and we hope you will agree the information on PupQuest is important for anyone so ignorant that they would cruise Craig’s list to buy a puppy. Education is key!

I live in the SF Bay Area and for the last two years I was checking CL every day and flagging almost every ad I came across. What I was seeing on these ads really started to take a toll on me emotionally and it came to the point where I don’t really check the site anymore except on occasion. The fact that I was seeing the same people with MULTIPLE litters of pitbulls and Chihuahuas almost daily was disgusting and breaking my heart. Advertising that people better come get the animals now at $200 with now shots, no paper work, no care for where they were going or they were going to be dumped at a shelter later that week. It’s really hard to keep going and not feel defeated when you’re flagging this stuff daily. I really hope CL either removes the section or fixes it. It’s such a shame because not everyone abuses the site. I found my rescue through CL and love them. There is another website we should be concerned about, ebay classifieds. I feel as though if CL took away the pet section everyone would head to ebay.

Craiglist has it’s place, it is not where I would go for animals. I do know it is very heavily monitered in the pet section…most all breeder ads get deleted, they are very strict in not letting people sell animals, just rehoming fee to place pets that people do not want or need to find home for. If it was not for Craigslist free ad to help find homes from people at least trying to do the right thing…there would be more animals killed in shelters, there is a place for Craigslist in this area and it really is monitered well. I would rather see animals sold that are needing rehomed from craigslist then the animal shelters are much worst…Need to really check it out, it is mostly good !

Get a grip people! Craig’s list is not to blame for irreputable breeders or dog’s dying. They offer a valuable service and should not be held accountable for what unscrupulous people do. Craig’s list will pull flagged ads, it’s up to us to let them know when there is a problem. It’s a free service, don’t knock it, police it.

good comments, Shelva; I agree! We are the ones who need to “flag” these posts and ads. If we, as a group, stick together and keep flaging back yard breeder ads, maybe we will make a difference! Maarge


FLAGGING IS KILLING ANIMALS. While I think animal rights groups mean well, when they get an ad removed from Craigslist, the animals usually end up dead. I volunteer for a rescue in SC. Our shelter cannot begin to take the 1000s of animals people want to dump on us. I tell them to advertise the animals on Craigslist and we will fix the animal before it’s given away. A typical situation is someone lets her cat have kittens. I tell her to put them on Craigslist and charge a $15 adoption fee per kitten (you don’t dare give away free animals in the South … I tried that once and ended up at dogfighter’s trailer). Well of course the ad usually gets flagged. Then the kittens are brought to the pound (i.e. the local gas chamber). In another typical case, a pit bull has pit mix puppies. Members of a rescue group told the owner to list on Craigslist with a $20 adoption fee per puppy so she could use it toward the cost of the mother’s spay. She was agreeable realizing her mistake in not getting her dog fixed sooner (and thinking that a fenced-in yard would keep stray male dogs out while her female was in heat). However, her ad kept getting flagged, and she got nasty emails about being a breeder. A relative of hers then shot all the puppies as a quick solution. Yes, a large percentage of pet ads that get flagged result in animals being shot by family members or neighbors. Even my own ads get flagged. I found a stray orange cat, spent $160 on vet bills and posted with a $25 adoption fee. I got nasty emails from animal rights activists saying I was trying to make a profit and that I should keep the cat myself. My own cats have feline leukemia (I adopted them to save them from certain euthanasia, but the disease is contagious). I did not want to expose the orange cat to my cats. I wanted to get him a home, but animal rights activists kept flagging my ads and sending me hateful emails. I urge people to think about these things before they mindlessly flag ads from parts of the country they know nothing about. 10,000 animals are euthanized per year in almost every SC county despite the efforts of rescue groups and low-cost s/n clinics. I used to think of people interested animals rights as intellectuals, now I think of them as ignorant and narrow-minded…and quite frankly responsible for the death of 1000s of pets who could have gotten homes if only their Craigslist ads had not been flagged.

Sadly though alot of free to good home dogs have ended up as bait dogs. It’s sad. You want your animals to find safe loving homes but this is not always the case. I will help flag these adds.

When you flag an ad, you have not punished the person who listed the dog–you have taken away the only chance the dog will ever have at a decent life. Yes, a dogfighter may respond, but then again so could a nice family. Once that ad has been flagged and taken down, most likely the irresponsible person who wants to get rid of their dog will 1) take it to the pound to be euthanized in a gas chamber, 2) shoot the dog, or 3) take the dog way out in the country and abandon it. These animals rights activists who keep flagging ads and sending wacky emails to those of us in rescue groups need to get off their butts and go into poor neighborhoods and help spay/neuter/ re-home stray animals. Flagging isn’t a legitimate animal welfare activity…it’s thoughtless, lazy, and ignorant. And it kills animals.

Hi Lynn – we are not fighting against the important work of rescue and animal welfare groups. We know that many are using the platform to find homes for adoptable pets. I’ll explain the difference between a rescue ad and a post of a backyard breeder today and hope it will help. Thank you for your comment.

I am with a rescue and my ads frequently get flagged. They in no way resemble the obvious backyard breeder ads. This is happening to other rescuers as well. We’re getting nasty emails from animal rights people in other parts of the country saying that we shouldn’t charge small adoption fees (ex: $25) even though the average animal costs us $150 to vet. I also get emails from people accusing me of just trying to get rid of my own animals and demanding that I keep the cats I list (which are strays being fostered by other volunteers). I live in an apartment and am at my pet limit. In one case I listed a cat whose owner had died ($25 adoption fee), and I was accused of selling my dead grandmother’s cat(my grandmother is alive and doesn’t have a cat). These animal rights people are NUTS. I’m in a state of disbelief at what local rescuers are facing and the kind of messages we’re getting from people who have no idea of the extent of animal overpopulation in the South. THey euthanized 10,000 cats and dogs in my county last year, and people on the West Coast are flagging the ads of local rescuers. It does absolutely nothing to stop backyard breeders who easily sold dogs long before Craigslist. What flagging has instead done is discourage people like me who see one legitimate ad after another taken down.

I dont care if this angers breeders but they should all stop breeding until the carnage at the shelters stop. 21,000 animals died at my shelter last year and that is a conservative number. Nothing was wrong with these animals except nobody wants them. In the meantime, people buy dogs like crazy while the unwanted dogs die. Its not right. Breeders, you are not helping the animals. WE NEED MORE RESCUES.

In response for using animals on Craiglists for posting them for free,is inhumane. Many of these animals are being tortured and dogs and puppies are being used as bait dogs in dog fighting rings. Other animals are just being tortured and killed. He the owner of Craigslists and he should be brought up on charges because his website is creating this animal abuse against these poor animals. I think he should be totally accountable for these animals wellbeing. Thank you Nina Paccione @ or FB.

Who says all these people are selling these animals as a business? It’s very ridiculous that you people are flagging every craigslist ad without knowing the individual circumstances behind why they have the puppies.

I know a responsible breeder that took in two poodles that a person couldn’t even give away because of you people. Those puppies almost got sent to a shelter and put down because of all of your irresponsible ignorant actions. You really need to think through every ad you flag rather than arbitrarily flagging everything. This is just viral stupidity. The shady advertisers aren’t killing these animals… YOU ARE.

Hey people, stop losing your minds! There are good people out there both looking to adopt and looking to find new homes for pets WITHOUT sending them to a place where they will be placed in a cage!! Not everyone wants to “buy” a purebred from a breeder. Mixed breeds often make much better pets and keep gene pools healthy. Not everyone wants to go through an animal shelter to find their new companion. In fact, where I live, the screening process is so rigorous that you’ll be denied if you have a full-time job!! I hope I don’t need to explain all of the reasons why that, in itself, is absolutely insane. How many pets do you think have suffered (not found homes, spent months in a cage in a shelter, remained in a home where they are not cared for, or worse!!) because of your incessant “flagging”. Please find a more constructive use of your time and, if you must flag, have a dang good reason other than having the word “puppy” in the title. While I’m sure most of you have the best intentions, I think you might find your actions are having quite the opposite effect.

Craigslist’s free, sit on your ass advertising attracts various social garbage like backyard breeders, puppy millers, animal flippers along with animal abusers. There are a few legitimate persons seeking animals via CL to add to their family. Sadly, they are few and far between.

Animals caged in shelters are there due to a lot of pet owners free loading off their animals, breeding litter after litter, again and again.

So. Cal is a great example. There’s close to 100 new posts in a day, most all are puppies, but a good number of studding posts.

Producing more animals when there are not enough homes for those that are already here, is orchestrated mass murder of animals. And you are concerned about sitting in a cage?

Making CL less convenient for backyard breeders may help encourage them to get a job or a better job, so they do not have to screw their pets. Doing nothing just encourages the garbage to produce litter after litter.

And while these individuals are making money selling their produce, who do you think is flipping the bill to kill those overlooked shelter animals?

Up near the top of the post, select / check the ‘Prohibited’ box.
Check out Craigslist flagging facebook groups, some are nationwide or state specific… or better yet, do both.
Thank you for caring.

Entitled breeders and puppy mills dictate that their livelihood is paramount to animal welfare.
Animal abuse aside, the tax free revenue from puppy sales is big money for breeders, and no money for local governments. Breeders’ never ending contribution of new animals add costs to our communities associated with shelter care and adoptions as well as euthanasia / disposal.

Contact your representative and call to action legislation that will OUTLAW puppy mills. Ask other animal loving friends to get involved.

You can help stop puppy mills/backyard breeders major support system – Craigslist. Find high priced puppies on your local craigslist and FLAG them (check PROHIBITED at the top of the post) – stop them from selling on the nation’s #1 animal abuse facilitator – Craigslist.

Pass it on – get your friends and their friends to help. Join a flagging group or start one of your own, the difference between life and death for an animal may be YOU.

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