When hearing about “free stuff” on the Internet, what is the first site that comes to your mind? Sure, it’s Craigslist. While Craigslist and other similar sites are convenient outlets to post job openings, available apartments or even a free couch, what they are not so great for are “free to good home” postings in the free or pets section.
As stated on Craigslist in a warning from PETA, “As you may be aware, animals given away for free can, and unfortunately often do, meet gruesome fates.”
Given the anonymity of this online platform, it is very difficult to verify if the person who volunteers to take in a “free pet,” is really worthy of animal companionship. It’s also important to note that even pets with low re-homing or adoption fees requests can still be put in danger.
This is not to say that every pet given away for free online will end up in one of the following terrible situations; some do find genuinely loving homes! The point is that the majority of people will not stand for the exploitation of animals at all, which spans all around the animal kingdom, from domestic pets and farm animals to marine animals and other wildlife. However, a select few sadly subscribe to the belief than animals exist for our use and entertainment.
If you have not already, we whole-heartedly encourage you to learn about some of the dangers animals could face as a listed “free to good home” pet.
Used as a Bait Dog
Cold hearted people will sift through the Internet looking for free dogs, typically smaller breeds, to use as bait dogs to help train their dog fighting dogs, or to train free dogs, like pit bulls, to become fighters. Dog fighting is a form of animal abuse. Dogs used to fight are often neglected, beaten and often starved to make fighting dogs more aggressive, bait dogs weaker and broken. Cats are also used as “chew toys” for fighting dogs in training.
Smaller Animals Used as Snake Food
Free smaller animals like rats, gerbils, mice, hamsters, small kittens and bunnies have the potential to be given to someone who will use them to feed their pet snakes.
Become Lab Animals
There are groups called “Bunchers” that look aroundthrough the classifieds for free dogs, cats and other animals to collect then sell these poor animals to laboratories for animal testing, research and other various experimentation.
End Up in Puppy Mills
In various instances when a free dog or cat is a purebred and unaltered, they could be forced to breed for a puppy mill breeder. He or she will then live in horrible, deplorable conditions, caged, malnourished, and completely unloved for the rest of their lives.
To Make Money
In the “free to good home” pet world, a newer trend called pet flipping is when some heartless person takes free pets only to turn around and sell them for a profit to another party. Or, a person pretends to be caring and maybe even lies about running an animal shelter. They will agree to take your pet for a small fee from you, then give false promises to find loving families through their alleged “animal shelter.”
End Up in the Home of a Hoarder
In an animal hoarding situation, a person has the uncontrollable impulse to need more and more pets — they are like collectors of sorts. Although a hoarder may be generally caring toward their many animals, hoarding conditions are often unsanitary, dangerous and unhealthy for both people an animals. And it seems that most if not all animal hoarders don’t know when to say when.
Cruelty for Fun
As much as we don’t want to believe it, there are very disturbed people in the world who enjoy hurting helpless animals. These types of animal abusers will search for free animals on sites like Craigslist merely to take pleasure in torturing and killing these animals. If you know of or see acts of animal cruelty, you should report it immediately.
In an effort to prevent these sad situations from happening to any animal, PETA states on Craigslist,”Animal protection organizations all over the United States work diligently to educate people about the proper procedure for placing animals and frequently assist people in finding good homes for their animals. We routinely contact individuals who place “free to good home” advertisements to alert them to the potential perils for their animals and continuously receive appreciative calls from people who say they never knew these dangers existed.”
While there is a certain level of checks that protect animals that are being given away online, it is always best to be aware of ALL of the dangers that exists and ensure you avoid bringing harm to animals in any way you can.