Sellers Beware (or at least take great caution) of Craigslist

December 27, 2013

People are going to rehome their pet from time to time unfortunately, it’s a fact of life. We try to educate them on ways to help keep them, but the fact is, some people just have to or will rehome.

Before you rehome your pet ask yourself these questions: Can you keep the pet? What would it take for you to be able to keep the pet… Allergy shots? Finding a pet-friendly apartment? A loan to cover spaying, neutering and shots? There are often options out there if you just take the time to look, which your loved one deserves. When you took your pet into your home, you became responsible for him/her for the rest of its life.

But if they just can’t keep it, we’ve found educating them on how to best approach rehoming, especially on Craigslist, is key. And frankly, we appreciate when people try to rehome their pet themselves instead of making it a shelter’s or rescue’s problem since they are too often overflowing as it is. It keeps one animal out of the shelter so another can enter it to hopefully live. It’s just critical to be smart about it.

free-to-good-home-craigslist-abuse-victimAt UU, we try to get dogs off Craigslist as fast as possible due to the issues that can come from Craigslist rehoming. It’s a great tool to sell your ‘things’, but when it comes to living beings, take caution. When people choose to rehome via Craigslist (I would try every option first before this method like sharing on Facebook, talking to your network, putting up flyers, etc.), here are some tips to avoid the dog ending up in the wrong hands by someone wanting the dog for something other than a family pet:

  • Meet in person with potential new owners.
  • Do a reference check to see if the person is employed and may have a pet in their home. Also, PLEASE do a background check (simply search on,  and landlord check (if applicable).
  • Visit your pet’s new home to see what type of environment it will be and to see if the whole family is on board with the pet adoption. Check to see if the new home is safe? Will your dog have a yard or someplace to walk? What is the family interaction like?
  • If the person has a pet, talk with their veterinarian to see what type of care they provide or provided for their pet.
  • Ask for a rehoming fee to put value on your pet and to see if this person can afford a pet and is willing to do what it takes to own a pet. Good to a free home may sound great to get your pet in a new place fast, but it can bring in the unwanted dangers below or those who aren’t considering the long-term commitment of the pet or the cost of owning one.
  • Have a plan in case things don’t work out. Many private rehoming agreements result in a pet being returned or rehomed again. If you don’t want to see your pet back on Craigslist in six months, make sure you’re prepared to potentially take it back and find another new home.

The reasons Craigslist is so dangerous to rehome are severe, as pets can often fall into the wrong hands (these reasons are much more often found on Craigslist than most other methods largely due to the ability to be rather anonymous) :

  • They may be used as bait animals for dog fighting.
  • People who torture and kill animals like to search Craigslist listings for new victims.
  • Other people that source animals for research facilities all use these ads to find pets.
  • A newer phenomena is pet flipping – searching free adds for pets to sell for a profit elsewhere (they often end up in one of the above categories).

Think this won’t really happen to your dog? Puppy Doe was a solid example of how it really can.


  1. This picture almost made me throw up. That is disgusting what people do to these poor animals. I just got a dog off craigs list and I was fortunate she came from a good home the lady was from Pulaski I am very happy with my Lola. I sure hope the dog on the picture finds a good home poor little thing. My prayers go out to him

  2. on

    Sue, thank you for rescuing Lola! Sorry about the pic, I toyed with using it, but it is the reality of what can happen so I decided to. I typically don’t like to use graphic images. ~Sara