Risks of online adds for free pets

KIMT News 3

It’s a growing trend that’s causing concern across the country, including in our area: Pet owners who are desperate to find a new home for their companions, giving them away for free.

With the rise of online classifieds and social media, many people are taking it into their own hands to find a new home for their pets. And it’s a trend that animal advocates say is putting those pets at serious risk

You don’t have to look very hard to find these ads on Craigslist. One posted by a St. Ansgar resident reads, “Two adult female lab mixes free to a good home.” Another posted by an Austin resident says, “Free cats needing homes.”

“Definitely we see this as a problem. We see these animals for free on Craigslist,” said Christa DeBoer with the Humane Society of Freeborn County.

While this may seem like a great way to find a new home for your companion, there are many risks involved.

“You don’t know who the other person is that could take your pet. They could be someone who is not going to be very nice to your pet. It could be a person who may be cruel or a lab doing experiments on pets, things like that. You have no idea where your pet is going to,” said Sybil Soukup, Executive Director of the Humane Society of North Iowa.

“The other thing that we know or hear about is a lot of these free animals are used as bait animals. They’re used as bait animals for dog fighting,” DeBoer said.
If you do need to re-home your pet, there are other options. Most animal shelters have a thorough adoption process.

<It’s not a matter of you come in and throw your money down on the counter and we send you out with a pet. We actually have an application that people fill out and we ask a lot of questions and if people aren’t willing to do that, well then, they don’t get a pet from our shelter,”  Soukup said.

It’s an effort to ensure that every animal ends up in a safe place.

“Our goal is that the animal is happy and the person is happy. And maybe the animal they’re interested in isn’t quite the right fit.  So that’s what we’re trying to find out to make sure they both fit well so that the home is the forever home,” DeBoer said.

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