What You Find on Craigslist

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SONY DSCOne of the blogs I read regularly is Keep the Tail Wagging. Kimberly recently lost one of her pups and soon found her boyfriend looking for a new pup on Craigslist. She was so appalled by what she encountered she decided to have this Blog Hop to help raise awareness and fight the proliferation of puppy mills that have turned to Craigslist to sell their pups. When I read about their struggles and what they encountered on Craigslist, I knew I had to take a look and see what was going on over there.

I’ve had 6 dogs that I’ve ‘owned’ in my life. The first two, Maxine and Sally, I bought from breeders. These were ‘backyard’ breeders, but in the true sense of the term, they had a purebred dog that they breed with another purebred dog and then sold the puppies. Both were Labrador Retrievers, both were AKC registered. I went to the home of the breeder and met the mother and siblings of the pups and in one case, I met the father too as they were hunters and had both dogs. But this was over 18 years ago and times were different then.

Since then, three of the four other dogs we’ve had have all come from breed rescues. (Tino we rescued from the streets.) We choose that route because we wanted to find a dog that needed a forever home, but a dog that had been vetted for health and temperament by a licensed agency. I wanted that security. It never dawned on me to go to Craigslist.

But it appears that Craigslist is doing a booming business in the “Re-homing” of dogs. Not sure when that term started being used, I guess in marketing-speak it seems less cold and unfeeling than “selling”, but that’s what it is.

I decided to take a look at the pet ads in Craigslist and see what I could find out. Boy, was I shocked, dismayed, upset, but honestly not all that surprised. The folks that would resort to selling their dogs on Craigslist are not the type of people I would want to purchase a new family member from. First, let me say I have nothing against reputable breeders, I have purebred dogs, I’ve had registered purebreds, my first dog Max had two litters of puppies that we sold. We did it purely for the fun & enjoyment of it. Nothing wrong with it.

I could have posted some awful puppymill picture - instead I'm posting a beautiful picture of my two strong rescues, Jack & Maggie.

I could have posted some awful puppy mill picture – instead I’m posting a beautiful picture of my two strong & healthy rescues, Jack & Maggie.

What I do find objectionable is some of the things I saw on Craigslist. Here’s just a sampling:

  1. Puppies being offered for sale at 3 weeks old.
  2. Puppies that are obviously sickly. Maltipoo puppies whose entire face is red from eye discharge…at 8 weeks old!
  3. Multiple litters from the same seller. They advertise them separately, but I found several offering different litters – with the same contact number. Sorry, you just don’t happen to have a littler of yellow lab mixes and black lab/pit mixes at the same time unless you’re a puppy mill.
  4. Puppies offered with what is obviously stock photo shots. Did they think I wouldn’t notice that the dog they try to give me isn’t perfect like the photo??
  5. Puppies offered through pictures of them in cages, that you can see is stacked on top of another cage and next to cages on each side. WTF?
  6. Puppies being offered with photos showing stacks of 40lb dog food bags in the background. These were little dogs…they couldn’t eat all of that food in a lifetime. That is unless there was 20+ of them in the house.
  7. Goldador puppies? I guess maybe it’s a Golden and Labrador cross. All sorts of crazy crosses, but the reality is these people don’t really know and that’s fine, I love mutts, but don’t tell me it’s something unless you have a pretty good idea. Not everything is a Lab mix or a Pit mix or a Chihuahua mix! Or wait, maybe they are.
  8. Maybe 50% of the ads I looked at mentioned shots or deworming, the rest didn’t even bring it up. And only a handful mentioned ‘Vet checked’. Maybe guidelines have changed, but I never dewormed my pups unless I had them tested and knew they actually had worms. That’s pretty strong meds to give to a 3 week old pup.
  9. Any given day there’s over 100 new puppy offerings in Los Angeles alone. Roughly 80% of the offerings are:
    • Yorkies
    • Maltipoos
    • Chihuahua
    • Bulldogs
    • PitBull mixes

Why the prevalence of those types of dogs? Because those are the dogs people will BUY without giving it too much thought. You just know some of those dogs are stolen or been born and raised in miserable conditions.

Let’s look at the other side of this situation too. Let’s say you had a dog that had puppies. Would you sell those puppies to someone off the street? Someone you didn’t know, or vet out a little bit? I know I wouldn’t. I want my pups to go to a good home where they would be treated in the manner that I would treat them, as a member of the family. When we had our litters, yes we sold them, but only one of our pups went to someone we didn’t know and he was referred to us by a friend. We had no problems selling the pups. I regularly saw 5 of the 9 pups we had as they grew to adult hood – one of them lived next door to us! I know that is ideal, but I wouldn’t want to sell my babies to anyone who knocked on the door.

It’s easy to sit back here and be judgy and critical about the whole thing. I am sure there are some honest offerings on Craigslist. I also know there are hundreds of rescues that will take dogs that need to be “rehomed” and give them temporary homes until a real home is found…they just won’t give you any money for the dog. It’s unlikely that any of you reading this blog is selling dogs on Craigslist or buying them from there either, but it’s up to us to raise the awareness level of other dog lovers and potential dog owners as to the hazards of buying through Craigslist – it’s the same as buying from a pet store – you are supporting the business that these people are in which is to just breed and sell as many puppies as possible.

I also just received notice of this petition at Care2.com. They have MANY petitions related to the buying and selling of pets on Craigslist – this is just a recent one. CRAIGSLIST: Stop the trade of free and cheap dogs who could become bait dogs Don’t know if it will do any good to sign this, but it certainly won’t do any harm.

We are joining the About Puppies & Craigslist blog hop. This hop is hosted by Keep the Tail Wagging.  The hop will be open all week, please join us and help raise awareness about what’s going on over at Craigslist.




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  1. My heart bleeds for those poor dogs that does not goes to good families.
    Laika recently posted…I skoven..My Profile

  2. There are many reasons why Mom decided not to breed us, one of them is that task of finding good homes for all the puppies and all the time and effort she would need to spend to interview people, visit their homes, and she would still wonder if they were good enough. How can anyone sell a pet on Craigslist? I guess it is not much different than an ad in the paper and that was the norm years ago, but these days, that is simply not done.These are people that are either cruel or clueless about animals. We know people love Craigslist, but we despise it and not just for pets. They should not allow pets to be sold on their site, period!
    emma recently posted…A Little Gulf | GBGV | Monday MischiefMy Profile

    • We couldn’t agree more. Things were different years ago in so many ways. Craigslist has become somewhat of a cesspool.
      mkob recently posted…What You Find on CraigslistMy Profile

  3. Beautifully written. We’ve seen the stock photos too and the “reputable breeder” we met was one who had 3 litters at one time, all mixed breed dogs for $800 per puppy. Another Craigslist breeder we reached out too (we reached out to a lot to test our list of questions), would only meet us in a parking lot. There were red flags all over that site and it saddens me that so many people just don’t know.
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…9 Things to Know About a Craigslist Breeder Before Buying a PuppyMy Profile

    • It was pretty frightening to read through some of those ads – and to read between the lines – and I looked only one two days – any given day there’s 100+ NEW ads in LA.
      mkob recently posted…What You Find on CraigslistMy Profile

  4. Ive seen some scary adds on sites like that! Its unreal how half this stuff is even legal to keep happening, like as you described the one add you saw with the animals stacked in cages and everything else…….sick, simply sick!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…OMD! Mondays!My Profile

  5. It’s so important to raise awareness about this and I wish that people would realize that no experienced, responsible breeder would be selling puppies on Craigslist.

    The other day I found an ad that someone was trying to trade a Newfoundland for a Husky. Makes me so very sad.
    Jen recently posted…Monday Mischief, Advent Calendar And Meet The Blogger!My Profile

  6. Well said. It is very sad and troubling to see people who sell puppies the same way people sell used bikes. Thanks for helping to raise awareness.

    • I know, for those of us who love our dogs like we do, it’s hard to fathom.
      mkob recently posted…What You Find on CraigslistMy Profile

  7. So sad to hear about this. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
    Hailey and Zaphod recently posted…Mischief Monday – Ruining the Photo ShootMy Profile

  8. Great article….I didn’t know about this hop but I think it’s a great one. I had been hearing a lot about the Craig’s List issues, but didn’t even realize how bad it is. Ugh, I’ve never looked and isn’t it disheartening to see all that. I’m not sure if I signed that petition yet or not, but I’m going to check that now and do so if I haven’t.
    Jan K recently posted…Black & White Sunday – Squee!!!My Profile

    • Not ever even considering looking for a pup on Craigslist, I never realized what was going on either. Shocking when I found out and really looked at it. Let’s hope we can raise some awareness and put some rules around it.
      mkob recently posted…Dog Food Ingredients A to Z: Oat FiberMy Profile

  9. This is a great article, about a terrible practice that really saddens me. Your article really spells out some of the things that you should look for when buying a puppy online. I’m a vet and often see the long-lasting effects of puppy farming on health and behaviour. Some of these poor little things never really recover and are terribly anxious and poorly socialised (as well as the physical health problems they have). When you think that the most critical time for socialisation of a dog is between 6 and 12 weeks (some say 16 weeks) and these puppies have been kept in a tiny cramped cage with very little human contact for most of that time, you can see how much impact this practice can have on behaviour.

    The worst thing is that most people are oblivious. They often pay thousands of dollars for what they think is a healthy puppy, without knowing where it really came from. In Australia many pet shops support puppy farming and we also have animals being sold on Gumtree and Trading Post.

    There is a campaign in Australia to try and stamp out puppy farming here: http://www.oscarslaw.org/ part of the aim is to abolish the sale of puppies from pet shops and online trading sites.

    Again, thanks for the well-written article, I have just checked on Gumtree and you are so right about the stock photos for some of these dogs. I think sometimes people are just so excited to be buying a puppy that they try not to notice these things. What also strikes me is that so many of these supposed ‘pure breeds’ are going for very cheap prices. You really do get what you pay for. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. A proper breeder who looks after their animals would not be selling their dogs at bargain basement prices!

    • Thanks for your insights. We can only hope that through speaking out and raising awareness more and more folks will decide to turn away from these sources to more reputable rescues and shelters – folks actually more dedicated to supporting positive outcomes rather than financial gains.
      mkob recently posted…Black & White Sunday 12-15-13My Profile

  10. I had no idea the puppy millers had moved to Craigslist. I once had a run in with a puppy broker. A family member wanted a teacup mix. We were visiting them from out of state and they asked us to go along to look at the pups. They found this seller off the internet. The seller would get dogs in on a daily basis and sell them quickly so if you saw a pup on their site, you better run to get it.

    When we got there, this seller had different varieties of mixed pups all in a cold garage with a couple of beds on the floor for about 15 puppies. The poor things looked so scared. I wanted to scoop them all up. I asked about health screening and got the old “these are mixes, they can’t have health issues”. I advised against the purchase which btw was $1300 for a malti-poo. Of course my relatives were “in love” with one of the pups and so a purchase was made. No questions asked to the purchasers except do you need a crate and leashes and bowls? I will add in a bunch of stuff in for an extra $100. The dog was so young it had not been wormed so the seller sent home the worming meds with the dog. I will never forget it. Truly sad.

    You can tell people right to their faces about puppy mills and they still make the purchase.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Tasty Tuesday–Smooches Product ReviewMy Profile

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