Is it bad to post dogs on Craigslist?

Sometimes I foster dogs and cats that are up for adoption with rescue groups. To foster an animal means to provide it with a loving home until it gets adopted.

I usually post my foster animals on Craigslist one time each as a way to get more attention to them.

Do you think it’s a good idea to post rescue animals on Craigslist?

I’ve never actually asked 4 Luv of Dog Rescue or Adopt-A-Pet if it’s OK to use Craigslist to promote their animals. I figured I’d hear soon enough if this was a big no-no.

Well, a few weeks ago Adopt-A-Pet asked me to remove my foster cat Ninja from Craigslist.

So I did.

I understand where the rescue is coming from. It is only looking out for the best interest of the animals.

I just can’t agree with its decision never to use Craigslist.

446 impounded cats were killed in our three local pounds during 2010, according to the pound stats reported by Adopt-A-Pet. Forty-two impounded dogs were also euthanized.

Craigslist is an easy and free way to match these homeless cats and dogs with potential homes. People are searching Craigslist for animals anyway. The rescues should take advantage of this.

Craigslist is a good place to post dogs for adoption

Cosmo the American Eskimo dog is up for adoption in Fargo North Dakota with 4 Luv of Dog Rescue

I see Craigslist for what it is – another tool people are using to find animals for adoption.

People search Craigslist.

They search PetFinder.

They check Facebook.

They search blogs.

And if they are aware of the actual rescue site, they might check that.

Perfectly acceptable and loving dog owners use Craigslist all the time to look for animals to adopt.

I search the local pet section on Craigslist at least once per week.

Rescues should want to be where people are already looking.

It shouldn’t matter if someone finds the rescue’s web site through a Google search, a Craigslist search or a blog. What matters is that people are finding the rescue’s site somehow!

There are a lot of local dogs and cats that have been up for adoption with 4 Luv of Dog Rescue, Adopt-A-Pet and the humane society for well over a year. The more people who see these animals, the better.

Why can Craigslist be a bad place to post dogs for adoption?

Because there are animal abusers out there who spend time on Craigslist looking for free animals.

“Free to good home” dogs and cats are easily obtained for research, dog fighting, baiting, etc.

I don’t know how often this actually happens. There is no real way of knowing.

But I thought this was a reason why rescues have strict adoption policies in place. It’s why rescues have extensive adoption applications and interviews. It’s why they check references, do home visits and charge adoption fees.

All of these steps are in place to help separate the good homes from the bad.

Bad people are out there. They are on Craigslist, but they are everywhere else, too.

I choose to believe there are more good people using Craigslist than bad.

Most people love animals.

How to properly post a dog on Craigslist

I have used Craigslist for the past few years to post animals for adoption.

The key to posting on Craigslist is to do it properly.

Post sparingly.

If you post too often, you will be flagged as spam and your account and/or your IP address will be banned from Craigslist.

So don’t post an animal more than once a month or maybe even every six weeks. When you write your second post, change up the copy so it’s different than your first. Or create a second Craigslist account with a different email address.

Work within the rules.

Craigslist has strict policies for animal postings.

No animal “sales” are allowed on Craigslist.

“Re-homing” an animal is OK, along with a small adoption fee.

My Craigslist posts say something simple like this:

Purebred American Eskimo dog in Fargo needs a new home. 9 years old. Very sweet and laid back. Up to date on shots. Neutered. Kennel trained. Housebroken. Doesn’t do well with kids, but OK with other pets. He is my foster dog. Email for more info.

That’s it.

Then I include two or three closeup, really cute photos.

Notice I do not mention the name of the rescue or any fees. Doing either could get the post flagged for removal.

I don’t even put my name or email in the posting. I just use the automated email that Craigslist gives me, which will funnel the emails to my gmail inbox. I usually get one response or so per week, so nothing out of control.

Usually the emails are from people who ask which rescue organization the animal is with and what the adoption policy is.

I answer all the questions I can and direct anyone who’s interested to the rescue’s web site where the adoption process is explained in detail. This weeds out the majority of the bad people because animal abusers are not going to deal with rescues.

Unfortunately there are much easier ways to obtain free dogs and cats for dog fighting or research. I wish that wasn’t the case.

Be careful if you are re-homing an animal on Craigslist.

I realize that no matter what, life gets in the way and good people have to find new homes for their pets.

I have never had to re-home an animal, so I can only try to imagine how hard that would be.

I know if I were in that situation, I would try to face reality sooner rather than later. I know it can take many weeks to find a good home for a dog. I wouldn’t want to wait until the last minute because I would be forced to make desperate choices. My dog deserves better.

If I knew I had to find Ace a better home, I would do my best to accept this early on and begin planning. For all Ace has done for me, I would make sure to take enough time to find him the best home.

Cosmo the American Eskimo dog is up for adoption in Fargo North Dakota with 4 Luv of Dog RescueCraigslist would be an appropriate tool for doing so.

Smart people will use Craigslist properly.

Unfortunately there are a lot of unintelligent people out there who try to re-home their dogs on Craigslist by letting them go to pretty much anyone.

Those of us who care about dogs are smart about the process and make sure to interview the potential adopters. Meet the entire family. Check references. Make arrangements to visit their home.

I wouldn’t necessarily charge a re-homing fee for my dog. Whether or not someone is able or willing to shell out $50 for a dog would not make or break the deal for me.

I know what you’re thinking. A re-homing fee will weed out the psychos looking for a free dog.

Well, I got my dog for free.

I’m not a psycho.

Ace and I are happy.

I don’t know what I’d do without him.

So I’m dying to know, do you believe Craigslist is an appropriate tool for re-homing a dog or cat?

Pictured is my foster dog Cosmo – up for adoption with 4 Luv of Dog Rescue. He’s an older guy. Sweet and laid back. Likes to keep to himself. He’s a purebred American Eskimo dog.

Edit: Cosmo was adopted!

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  1. Sew Crazy Dog Lady on June 8, 2011

    You know what? You really made me think about this. My gut reaction was “OMG.. how stupid to list dogs on Craigslist.. that’s where all the crazies are”.

    but you really put this in perspective for me. Thank you for a though provoking post.

  2. Lindsay Stordahl Author on June 8, 2011

    Haha. Thanks for your honesty. And good to hear from you!

  3. Patty on June 8, 2011

    I think if it is done responsibly and the person responding to the ad still needs to meet the rescue’s requirement then it is no different than posting on the rescue’s site. It is great exposure for a dog looking for their forever home

    Every rescue has its own way of doing things. I have heard of many rescues that won’t even consider adopting to an applicant who doesn’t have a fenced yard. Even when the person has a detailed plan for how the will get the dog exercise, etc. I hope the rescue you work with is willing to discuss the exposure benefits of posting on CL.

    Hope your fosters find their forever homes soon!

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on June 8, 2011

      See, that’s what I think, too. It’s no different than posting on the rescue’s site.

      I know of a rescue that won’t adopt dogs out to anyone without a fenced yard. That is a huge mistake. I have never had a fenced yard for my dog Ace, and he and I used to run 6 miles together every day. Now that he’s older, he doesn’t need as much exercise, but we still go for lots of walks.

      • Cat on June 9, 2011

        But…but…if I have a fenced yard then I don’t have to walk my dog! /sarcasm

        I was rejected by a rescue for that very reason. Still don’t have a yard, but the furball and I have done 15 miles so far this week.

        Regardless of whether or not the rescue’s vetting criteria is crazy (also had one reject me for me not being able to guarantee my home dynamic (aka no children in the house) would not change for the next 10-15 years) if they still do the vetting process there’s nothing wrong with using Craigslist for additional exposure. There’s also nothing stopping the crazies from visiting the shelter/rescue in person and lying their way through the interview.

        • Lindsay Stordahl Author on June 9, 2011

          All true! Thanks, Cat! How dare you have a dog with no yard? 🙂

  4. Leora on June 8, 2011

    Personally I don’t think there is a huge problem posting animals on craigslist. However, I have issues with the re-homing fee. Don’t get me wrong, I think there should be one because it prevents laboratories and such from procuring free animals. But when I see an ad that says something to the like of “no more time for pet, needs a good home $$ re-homing fee”. I don’t think the original owner should be “rewarded” for giving up their pet. I think that the re-homing fee should be a donation to a local animal shelter instead of to the original owner.

  5. Lindsay Stordahl Author on June 8, 2011

    Oh gosh, I completely agree. I actually wrote a post about how I will never pay a re-homing fee to an individual:

  6. Jessi on June 9, 2011

    I think it is a wonderful idea and I guess I don’t really understand why you shouldn’t be able to, the person still has to go through the adoption process whether the first time they see them is on Craigslist, in the pet store or on the rescue site..

  7. Lindsay Stordahl Author on June 9, 2011


  8. Dawn on June 9, 2011

    I agree that since you are doing your research on the person adopting the pet that it doesn’t matter whether you post the pet on Pet Finder, Craigslist, or other high traffic areas where good people are looking for pets.

    I wasn’t looking for a dog but someone told me about this dog on Craigslist. Maya, who was originally adopted from PetsMart, was the cutest puppy ever so I took her home. That was almost four years ago. Maya is the happiest and healthiest dog and I love her very very much.

    My mom’s two dogs are also from Craigslist. She got Rocky about 6 years ago. Solo came from deplorable conditions and might have been put to sleep if the people who had her decided to drop her off at a shelter (Solo has aggression issues and the small town shelter was already overrun with dogs). But thanks to Craigslist, Solo now lives happily in a home where people love her and care for her.

    This is proof that Craigs list offers good people a chance to get great pets and give them a second chance.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on June 9, 2011

      There are a lot more happy stories that come from posting dogs on Craigslist than there are unhappy stories. Thanks for sharing! Sounds like Maya, Rocky and Solo are all doing well!

  9. Jen S on June 9, 2011

    I used to breed sugar gliders and I used the same method. Regardless of HOW someone finds me to get in touch with, my process for finding a suitable home was the same. The key is traffic, you want people to see your post. If you post it somewhere that doesn’t get traffic, and you only get one response (or no responses!) then you don’t have the chance to find the best fit because there’s nothing to compare it to! Or (especially important for you!) you end up keeping the fostered dog and cannot open your home to more foster pets which need a second chance at life!

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on June 9, 2011

      Yeah I guess that’s the reason I use Craigslist – I don’t want to foster one animal for longer than necessary. I like to be proactive about the process.

  10. Shauna Rooke-Meyer on June 9, 2011

    I think it is perfectly appropriate. I read through them every once in a while and it makes me sad. If I could save them all, I would! I used Petfinder to find my 2 as I didn’t even think of Craigslist. But that is fate and I am A-OK about it.

    If there ever comes a time that I am ready to add to my family, I will there for sure! 🙂

  11. Shane on June 9, 2011

    Craigs list is where I got Bruno from. The girl wanted a 75.00 rehoming fee and I was more than happy to pay it. She drove him from over by duluth to me and gave me his kennel, toys, and food. She was pretty sad to see him go but said her boyfriend wouldnt let her keep him. I felt like telling her time to get rid of the boyfriend.

    I generally judge people by if they like animals or not. If not they are probably not good people. And probably not worth knowing.

  12. Lindsay Stordahl Author on June 9, 2011

    Bruno kind of reminds me of Ace. I’m glad he has a good home with you. I’m sure his previous owner was sad to see him go. Hopefully she has a new dog and a new boyfriend now.

  13. Luna on June 11, 2011

    I found my pup on Craigslist. She came from a family who realized that they were not able to give her the attention she needed. I paid some sort of re-homing fee ($75 I think?) but it included a crate, leash, toys, water bowl, collar, vaccinations and bag of kibble. I saw it as not paying for the dog but for paying for all of the stuff that came with Luna. When I start looking for pup #2 at some point I will absolutely look on craigslist again. I have found rescues difficult to work with in the past. I rent my home, do not have a fence, feed raw and do not vaccinate EVERY year. I guess this means I do not deserve to have a dog. I am all for rescues making sure that their animals go to good homes but not having a fence does not mean that I will not take my pups on MULTIPLE walks a day plus take them to work with me! Plus some rescues want up to $300-400 for a dog! While I fully support the work that they do and would happily donate money to them (if I had more) I would rather be able to put the money into training my new dog and providing healthy food. Maybe that is selfish but I am already stretching my finances by having animal friends in my life and want to make sure that they are well taken care of- no matter what.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on June 11, 2011

      I know what you mean about not wanting to deal with the politics of a rescue. I might adopt my next animal from a rescue, but I also might adopt an animal from an individual like I did with my mutt Ace. This was a positive experience. He was well cared for, but like so many people, the original owners realized they didn’t have much time for him and someone else would provide him with the love and attention he needed – me! I would not have found my dog without the help of Adopt-A-Pet, however, which is a local rescue in my town. He was listed as a “courtesy” posting on their site, meaning he was not with the rescue but the rescue allows individuals to place their dogs on the site if they meet certain criteria (utd on shots, fixed, etc.).

  14. Ben on June 14, 2011

    We adopted our chocolate lab (Buster) from CL back on 9/2009. Got him from a lady who didn’t have time for him…which was obvious because when she came to drop him off to our house, he was all hyper, pulling on the leash and was obsessed with balls (btw, that’s how I found your blogs…read your plan with Ace’s obsession). She seemed like she really cared for Buster but when I emailed her to ask some questions about medical stuff (my mistake for not asking ahead of time but I was still learning at the time) she completely ignored me. So no I think she just wanted to get rid of him.

    I’ll definitely get our second dog from CL again. We gave the lady $50 and got his crate, collar\leash, some food and toys. So we saw it as we paid $50 for the crate (which was a great deal for a $110 crate) and got everything else for free. We had to get him neutered though and ended up getting new collar\leash because the one he came with was way too big for this neck.

    Anyways, I don’t have anything against rescues other than too much paperwork and higher costs. But I know that they need the money to keep doing what they’re doing. Like another post said, I’d rather use the money on a dog on CL and be able to get better food and whatever supplies I need for the new pup.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on June 14, 2011

      Our dogs sound similar! Ace was the same way when he came to live with me – out of control, hyper and obsessed with fetching. Now he’s a very calm dog. All he needed was a normal amount of exercise.

      For me it’s a matter of finding the right dog. If it’s with a rescue, I have no problem paying the adoption fee, although the adoption fees for my local rescues are quite low ($150 or so). If I find a dog that’s right for me on Craigslist, then I’ll go that route.

  15. Bill Hanna on June 19, 2011

    I think it is not important that a fence in present unless it is for an owner that does not pay proper attention to their dog. I also think that many rescues charge WAY too much for their dogs. I have recently encountered several Labradoodle rescues that are basically snobs, out for profit, and seem to believe that their fees should correlate to puppy mill and petsmart, etc. prices for designer breeds.

    There are many poor people of value and excellent morals. It has been my experience that good dog ownership is more often found among the poor than the rich who tend do have a dog just for show and not because they want a friend.

    Also, thinking that many dogs are taken off the streets and from rescues for research, is a myth. It is true that research facilities around the world, use dogs. However, all researchers learn early in school that such dogs are entirely useless for research. Dogs for research are carefully bred from long lines of carefully bred dogs to be as consistent in every way, as possible. Their food is to a careful standard, and even their environment is carefully controlled to be completely consistent with research dog standards. Otherwise, any variation in the dogs, will contaminate the research, thus making the results inconsistent for unknown reasons and useless.

    Research dogs must even be a constant age and of a breed used for research. They are most often Beagles and sell for many hundreds of dollars each. They are hardly what can be found in rescues, on Craigslist, or on the street. IT IS A MYTH.


    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on June 20, 2011

      What if a rescue did want to make a profit? Is that such a bad thing? Just thinking on that …

      The rescues in our area charge very low fees in my opinion. It’s around $150 for a dog, and usually the rescue has spent at least three times that on long-term food, boarding, vaccinations, de-worming, flea prevention, grooming, supplies, etc. And I’m not sure what the rescues have to pay to bail the dogs out of the pound initially.

      Interesting info on the dogs used for research. Makes sense to me.

  16. kricket on September 1, 2011

    Am sure there are some extremely responsible person and rescue that advertise on Craigslist. But there are also very irresponsible persons both trying to get rid of or acquire dogs on Craigslist. As long as Craigslist is allowed to list animals it will be used by those who untentionally or intentially put animals in harms way. If Craigslist is not allowed to list animals, many lives will be spared. There are other sites that are used exclusive for pet adoptions that should be used instead. Sure, there are still some ‘bad rescues’ and ‘bad adopters’ but there are more controls in place.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on September 2, 2011

      I still see nothing wrong with using Craigslist for adopting or re-homing an animal.

  17. Liz on September 27, 2011

    I agree with you Lindsay. CL can be a great tool if used correctly especially by rescues & shelters.

    I strongly disagree with Kricket. Idiots will always find a way to “rehome” their pets & if those idiots didn’t have CL they would have something else. Most likely they would dump their animals on the street b/c of the inability to find a home. At least with CL they have an opportunity to try. While I can’t post statistics I am positive that there are more positive things to come from CL than negative.

    I also agree regarding the research. I am in Vet Tech school & we spoke about this today (how I came across your blog by doing some research on the fact). Once upon a time before 1966 pets were being stolen and sold to research. That is why in 1966 laws & regulations were passed regarding where animals come from that are used in research. Legitimate research facilities won’t use just any off the street animal brought in by a “dealer” or “broker”. As mentioned they come from facilities that were developed to BREED animals specifically for research. It is all about the controlled environment so that the statistics line up & more accurate. This isn’t to say that it still doesn’t happen but it isn’t as common as the worry wort would like to believe it is.

    I really hate it when CL is hated on by advocates & the whole research debate is used as a scare tactic. Please educate yourself before just regurgitating what you hear. And try to focus on the positive side of things. You will find life to be much more happier.

  18. Lindsay Stordahl Author on September 28, 2011

    Another thing that irritates me is people who worry that dogs will be obtained through Craigslist and used for fighting or bait dogs. The chances of this are just so small. People who own fighting dogs also get them from specific breeders or they breed the dogs themselves.

    It’s all about commonsense!

  19. 501 c 3 rescue on October 26, 2011

    I guess there is nothing wrong with putting a dog on craigslist but just realize there are people wanting animals for the WRONG reasons or simply be sold at a higher price. It is a risk.

    Our rescue does NOT require a fenced yard unless there is a dog that just has to have one and may even have a height requirement but this is rare. I only pray that people giving or selling dogs do a vet check – personal references – property ownership check or check with landlord to make sure it is okay for them to have a dog – make them provide ID. We do deny applications but for very good reasons. Our adoption fees range from $50 – $250 depending on the dog and possibly sponsorship. And we make no money – we lose 15-20 THOUSAND out of OUR PERSONAL paychecks to keep the rescue running. we have NO paid employees. I have ‘lost’ as much as $1,100 on one dog that I never even met. I pulled it from a shetler and before it was transported had to have 2 surgeries and ended up dying anyway. I just paid for a dental on a heartworm positive (heartworm treatment was paid by a woman that rescued her from a breeder) boston terrier $226 and we still have to get her spayed and shots. She will adopt for $125. Plus we provide monthly heartworm preventative and flea preventative. We get any and all known medical needs taken care of prior to being adopted. We go through about 250-300 lbs of dog food a WEEK. So it always ticks me off when someone complains out the adoption fees. We had another puppy with a birth defect that we had to keep until 16 wks for a leg amputation. We spay/neuter all our adoptions because of people not understanding that millions die because stupid people breed or allow to breed and commercial breeders.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on October 26, 2011

      The goal of a rescue is to get animals into homes. When something like 3 million animals are killed per year in the United States shelter system, then obviously shelters and rescues are not doing a good enough job marketing their pets. I see nothing wrong with advertising on Craigslist because it gets more attention on each of these homeless or soon-to-be homeless animals. It prevents dogs and cats from being killed in pounds. That being said, obviously there has to be a screening process in place. But shelters and rescues already have that in place. So it should make no difference if the applicant found an animal on Craigslist or PetFinder.

      As far as all the money you have personally spent on saving dogs, you are not going to get any pity from me. I understand the hard work you do and that you are doing it because it is a cause you believe in. But no one is forcing you to spend $1,000+ of your own money on saving an animal. You do this because you want to. It is an admirable choice, and I also must make these kinds of decisions in the work I do. But we do this because we want to. I am really tired of the “pity me” attitude I hear from so many rescue volunteers. I also am tired of those who put the blame on “stupid people” who breed. The problem is not overpopulation. The problem is shelters and rescues need to do a better job competing in the market. 23 million Americans look to obtain a new pet each year, while 3 million pets die in shelters each year because “no one” will adopt them. You do the math.

      • Frances on September 13, 2014

        OMG Lindsay, I just love your response to 501C3Rescue in regards to wanting pity and attention for what rescuers do for the animals. It is a personal choice to volunteer. If you don’t enjoy it or can’t afford it, don’t do it. This kind of unstable logic is what turns into the irrational thinking behind the adoption rejections of good people.

        The reason rescue shelters reject potential adoptors for absurd reasons and blanket rules is due to the power they feel from doing so. And they often feel the need for power because they have done too much to remain stable. In the end they keep animals restricted, suffering in stressful cages along with tons of other abused and neglected animals instead of taking a chance of good qualified people, because they’re thinking has gone awry from seeing so many mistreated animals. Then they begin to treat most of the people who want to adopt as criminals, making mountains out of molehills of everything the happy adopter says, beating them down and rejecting them, until they turn to breeders for their happy little pet.

        Unstable people often volunteer to receive something they are missing, albeit it love or loneliness. When that doesn’t fulfill them enough, they play it out with whatever power they can wield.

        That is what I see with these rescue groups. They put more time & $ in it than they can afford. Instead of putting boundaries on their behavior, they take their frustrations out on innocent people wanting to adopt. I’ve experienced, heard second hand and read so many accounts of people being abused by adoption malpractices.

        Here’s an analogy.
        I once belonged to a very nice, fun, non-profit social club in the area. It only cost $29 to belong, which paid for the newsletters being printed and mailed and to re-imburse some of the member fees for large events such as dinner dances. The officers of the club were volunteers. They did the planning for the events and felt that it was morally fine to buy themselves drinks with the members $ to pay themselves for the “volunteer” work they did!! Thereby, limiting the nice event subsidies, which thereby eventually limited the interest in the members in renewing their fees for nothing in return for their $, which thereby ended with the club dispersing from non-interest.

        This is exactly how non-profit clubs and shelters and such go wrong. People who think they are entitled because they “volunteered”. Definitely read or rent Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”. There is no such thing as pure altruism – doing something for others for no other reason than being kind. People either get something out of the volunteering itself, which is fulfilling a need to give or they corruptly volunteer and take something belonging to someone else (power/control stealing another’s esteem) to re-pay themselves for their work and money.

        Shelter people become too attached to their volunteerism because they do not do it within healthy boundaries. They become too attached to the animals in the shelters and are actually hoarding the animals due to irrational fears that the MANY are going to abuse and neglect these animals, instead of the reality that it will be the FEW who “might”.

        Typical abusers are NOT going to put themselves through the rescue shelter adoption process. It is too expensive, time-consuming and they certainly wouldn’t open themselves up to questions and inspections.

        • Lindsay Stordahl Author on September 14, 2014

          As with anything, it’s a few bad apples that ruin it for everyone else. I’ve volunteered with enough rescue groups to know there are definitely those with their “high and mighty” attitude, and they do get a kick out of turning people away.

          Overall, I do think shelters and rescues should be more open to who can adopt, because let’s face it, the animals are at a much higher risk of dying in a shelter than they are potentially being abused in a home from someone willing to fill out an application and pay a fee. I think you might enjoy this post if you haven’t see it. I hope you find a group like these:

  20. Wendy on November 25, 2011

    You certainly made a great point in your article. As long as there is a screening method for the people adopting the animal I believe we should use all media available to help rescue all the animals. Thanks for all that you do.

  21. Lindsay Stordahl Author on November 25, 2011

    Thank you, Wendy!

  22. Kendra on May 30, 2012

    Subject: The dangers of craigslist! Begging all of you to read and pass this on! You can save a life!
    it is ashame the photo didn’t copy….you would see someones pet dog as bait….mutilated with her jaws taped shut….very graphic. Craigslist is NO PLACE for living creatures

    Many of you know that I do a lot of educating in the Atlanta area about the dangers of re homing a pet through craigslist. I flag the backyard breeder ads and flippers (those who take your dog and resell them). I send out a basic form email already composed to anyone else who looks legit but uninformed of the dangers of using such a site as CL. I do this daily and though it is extremely time taxing, Ive prevented a lot of dogs and cats going to a horrible home. So many people I email tell me they simply had no idea that such evil is out there. I find it shocking how naive some tend to be, but that reminds me of the importance of what I am doing. Ive helped positively rehome over 100 dogs just in this year alone. I am writing this because I want to encourage each of you to just take 15 min a day and go to your local craiglist pets section and flag the breeders who make our life of rescue that much more difficult and to educate others who truly are needing to re home their pet to find another avenue. If you would like the form email I send out along with the pics I use, I would be happy to send them to you. Email a few people every day. I promise you you will save a life just in the first few days of doing this! Dogs are taken for free off anyone who gives them away and sold to dog fighting rings, labs, etc. A dog who is loved and happy but his family cannot care for him anymore, often goes into the hands of someone the family felt good about. Often these people who take any pet for free or low cost has ill intentions and the dogs suffer for it. The owner has no idea…usually never does. However, tonight I read something on my local CL section that has me in tears and very very upset! A woman got a call today from a local shelter saying a dog was brought in by animal control whose spine and back legs were broken and left in a bush. Apparently the dog had a micro chip and it was traced back to the original owner. That owner re homed him last October to someone she found on craigslist. She thought the person who adopted her dog was wonderful and thought he would live out his years in happiness! She was dead wrong. This family was abusive and God only know what he suffered through since October. This dog did nothing. The person he trusted rehomed him to a stranger on CL. The dog suffered tremendously. I am sobbing as I write this. I am so effing angry that this is happening everyday just about everywhere. So I am asking you, all of you to please take just 15 min a day. No, make it 10!!! Take 10 little min out of your day and flag ads and email those that need that reminder using craigslist. I guarantee that you will save a life! If you have any questions, please let me know!

  23. Misty on June 5, 2012


    I realized no one has posted on here in awhile but a statement concerned me, “Another thing that irritates me is people who worry that dogs will be obtained through Craigslist and used for fighting or bait dogs. The chances of this are just so small. People who own fighting dogs also get them from specific breeders or they breed the dogs themselves.”

    In the midwestern states that was the very problem in the late 90s and early 00s. There were many fighting rings that would look for free dogs on CL, the paper, and any other avenues to get bait dogs. Bait dogs are usually older dogs or puppies and then the smaller puppies get used as treats, its a sad world and people still to this day go through the channels to get the dogs they need to keep their fighting dogs in shape. Just by putting a small $20 re-homing fee will deter people it just easier to go get a free dog or find one running loose.

    A friend of mine that worked for the Chicago Police Department helped break a fighting ring and most the bait dogs came from CL and newspapers. Free to good home is never the answer, many many people can pretend they are going to give a pet a good home.
    Thank you for reading

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on June 5, 2012

      I just don’t see how Craigslist is any different than any other site as long as you are still doing the usual screening.

  24. rachel on October 9, 2012

    I’m finding all your posts about rescuing and re-homing really interesting! I found all 3 of my pets on Craigslist. My first dog was posted in an email with other dogs from the shelter she was at. Interestingly, I had already viewed her on Petfinder and overlooked her because her photo on it was so small and there was no info on her there.

    My second dog was being re-homed after being adopted from a shelter and their existing dog was not good with him. They were only asking the same adoption fee they paid at the shelter which I thought was fair. Hey, if the shelter had put him online I might have swooped in a adopted him first! I must admit though, I have been deterred from adopting through rescues and shelters for the fear that the fence height in my yard would fail a home-check. I had to jump through hoops to adopt my first dog and lucked out because they only asked for a video of my yard. I have also been turned down by a couple cat rescues because I ticked “indoor/outdoor.” Oops!

    My kitten from Craigslist was free, but I wasn’t like wah-hoo, a free cat! I knew she would need a decent amount put into her shots, spay and microchip.

    I have also found a home for a stray pit bull and a few foster cats on Craigslist. I honestly don’t know where I would have advertised if not there…do people even use newspaper ads anymore? The pit pull I made sure to first get her shots, spay and microchip. The lady who adopted her was such a great match that I would have let her go for free, but she was more than willing to cover the costs. I also went to her new person’s home and met her cats, chickens and horses.

    I may be naive, but I think without Craigslist imagine how many more animals would be dumped at shelters and on city streets. I also don’t think it seems that hard to weed out bad owners. You can tell a lot from just the way someone sounds on the phone and I turned down a few people that way. I think if you are offering an animal for free, you should just not mention a fee at all. I actually had a few people call me and ask about the “free-cat” even when I put small re-homing fee in the ad. Hello?

    I think the real problem is for rescues and shelters is their marketing. Many people look for pets online and unless you look at each specific shelter/rescue’s website or facebook(if available), generalized searches are limited Petfinder or even worse, Petharbor and others. Pictures on those sites are always small and limited and details about the pet are brief, if any. Craigslist is often a much better option.

    All I know is that I wouldn’t have any of my pets without it and I love them more than anything! I agree, people just have to be smart, it’s a great tool.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on October 9, 2012

      Hi Rachel. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your opinion. I agree, Craigslist is a great tool. Thank you for everything you do for pets!

  25. Kara on December 27, 2012

    The problem is that not everyone is responsible. Lindsay, it sounds like you do it through the proper channels, but far too many people don’t. Many post their personal pets they they no longer want, in hopes of finding them a “good home.” They don’t go through rescues or shelters, but instead give their beloved pet to the first person who responds. Often that person uses their newly acquired free animal as bait for fighting dogs.

  26. Jeanie MP on January 10, 2013

    I got my sweet longhair standard dachshund for free from Craigslist and I have rehomed a stray kitten for free on Craigslist. The lady who gave me my Harvey did a vet reference check. I also did a vet check for our little stray. I send updates about Harvey to his previous owner and I get pics and updates on our kitten, who is now grown! I feel if used wisely , Craigslist is a wonderful tool. ALWAYS do a vet check and if possible, a home check! Took my stray kitty to her new home, no meeting somewhere! Just be smart and if it doesn’t feel right, DON’T give them your sweet animal!

  27. LouisaCornell on January 11, 2013

    I’m sorry, but if even one dog or cat suffers cruelty, abuse and death at the hands of a Craig’s List shopper that is one too many. There ARE other options available. I have read the horror stories of what has happened to animals at the hands of Craig’s List shoppers and I cannot stop thinking about what those pets last moment’s must have been like. They were taken from a home they thought they would have forever, handed over to strangers, tortured and abused in endless agony and I am certain they wondered where their owners were, why they didn’t come to save them and what on earth they had done to deserve a death like this. If even one creature suffers this fate it is one too many. Pets are not used furniture or used cars or a sweater you have grown tired of. They deserve far more from us than easy disposal. These other methods of rehoming a pet may take more time and effort on the part of the people who no longer want them, but frankly I believe they deserve that little bit of extra work. They don’t ask for much in return for unconditional love. The least a person can do is insure they don’t end up dying in agony at the hands of someone who was able to fool a person who didn’t do their research before they acquired a pet in the first place. I sincerely wish Craig’s List would cease and desist allowing animals of any kind to be advertised on their service.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on January 11, 2013

      It is up to the individuals to use Craigslist properly by using reasonable screening processes, just as they would using any other means. Thank you for your comment. None of us want any of the animals to end up in bad places.

  28. Jayne Mone on January 11, 2013

    Craigslist can be good or bad. It is a shame that people abuse what someone is giving them for free. Times are hard for all of us and unlike the iwanta Craigslist tries to help people. It is hard to know who is good or evil when they apply for ANY item on Craigslist. I have put a boat on there and then people tried to scam me several times and it was when we needed funds really badly because of family deaths and they played on that. With pets it is really hard but especially hard on Craigslist. If these places can get a report from the people that took the dog from their vet in a month and keep track of the dog it would work. But, I have helped a friend that has a rescue place for dogs and a guy asked me about a dog I had a funny feeling about him but he had kids! I told him I find out he hurt that dog I would kick his ass and he held to his part and gave phone number went to the rescue place filled out paperwork she told him basically the same and did a follow up call to his home and dog was gone and never found. I am sure they used that poor pup for bait for fighting. That gives me sadness every time I think about the poor pup. So there is no guarantee on any placement and this is sad. I wish people would use Craigslist for what it should be used for.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on January 11, 2013

      I think most people use it properly and safely. It’s just a small percentage of people that use it for the wrong reasons.

  29. LindaLee on January 15, 2013

    Does anyone have any input on people who post “want to give a kitty a loving home”. The ad then proceeded to say she was looking for an adult cat. Fixed. De-clawed. etc. she also mentioned she had no other pets so she would be the only pet. “so it’s okay if your cat doesn’t get along with other animals.”
    I feel like I am being paranoid now after reading this blog. I talked to her on the phone and she sounded very nice. She wants to come meet my cat. anything???
    My allergies have become debilitating the past few months so I have no choice. I have tried every remedy on every site on line about allergies to help keep my cat. Nothing is working.

    • Jayne Mone on January 15, 2013

      Well, it seems good that she wanted the cat fixed and de-clawed she was concerned about the cat and her home! Would she let you do a home visit before placement? Also have you tried bee pollen for you. I can not take allergy pills they make me sleepy but bee pollen works good. Maybe groom your kitty outside so hair don’t settle in the house and you will be in the fresh air. I get allergic to my horses time to time and without the bee pollen it don’t matter much about the fresh air but it helps when I go in the house. Now I don’t find this useful but it is suppose to help with allergies is: The tea isn’t great tasting but it keeps me healthy so it may work on allergies some and maybe you a lot. But if you have to get rid of your beloved pet she sounds nice. Also you can charge her, free sometimes don’t work. Even if it is just the cost of fixing an animal $60.00 at the A.S.P.A. well, dogs are I don’t know about cats. Make sure you meet her in person before you agree. You can tell a lot about a person and a hand shake and their eyes. Most of all go by your gut feeling. I should of with a dog and didn’t and that poor dog most likely ended up as bait.

      • Jayne Mone on January 15, 2013

        Sorry not A.S.P.A. but S.P.C.A. sorry i have dyslexia.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on January 15, 2013

      The only thing that is weird to me is how easy it is to find a cat, even a free cat. Why would someone need to advertise to find one? There are so many people trying to re-home cats and kittens, that it seems odd a person would have to advertise on Craigslist just to find a cat.

      On the other hand, if she were a psycho, she also wouldn’t need to advertise. Just like anyone else, she would be able to get free cats and kittens easily.

      Trust your gut. It’s OK to meet her and interview her and then take 24 hours to think about it. When I adopted my dog, even though it was an hour’s drive away, I took two trips. One to meet him and then a second trip to actually take him home.

      Best of luck.

      • Lindsay Stordahl Author on January 15, 2013

        Oops, I didn’t see the part about how she wanted a declawed cat. That makes sense now, as it’s harder to find declawed cats.

        I don’t think you have anything to worry about. I think it is very, very rare that an animal abuser finds pets off of Craigslist. Most people who use it are good, sincere people.

  30. Jane on February 1, 2013

    I recently got my little cami girl from craigslist….she was free to a good home..from a vet office!! go figure!! She is such a good girl and i can tell she knows i saved her. So in my case..craiglist definitely helped rather than hurt. however..Memphis Tn is no place for free animals. Bait dogs and
    cats are very real friend rescued a bait dog that was missing half her jaw. very sad. of course there is no perfect solution in an imperfect world…and craigslist does give a broader chance for surviving rather than a crowded shelter with no connections to rescues or foster programs. fostering is such a great way to save lives and make new furiends!! 🙂 thanks to lindsey and all the others!! teamangelsforanimals

  31. Jesus on February 13, 2013

    Hi I want to see if there is a person than want a Rhodesian Ridgedback for free it is a 7 years old male.

  32. Courtney on February 22, 2013

    There are definitely appropriate ways to utilize facebook & craigslist to help animals in need.

    I thought you might be interested in this (below). RescuedIsMyFavoriteBreed is a fantastic group and resource for animal shelters & rescues. They frequently offer solidly researched methods on how rescues and fosters be more successful.

    Learn more amount one of their initiatives — the Craiglist Project

    VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! We are more than “just” a Facebook page… one of the things we do is spread the “pet adoption” message via Craigslist. MANY people are unaware that there are animal rescue groups… and some have never heard of Petfinder. You can help us get the message out. It’s easy… Simple… and takes about 5 minutes a week! Info here:

  33. JeanAnne on June 1, 2014

    I recently reacued a pitt off craigslist. These people were sellin her for 60 dollars. She came to them abused they put herd in a better state. There un altered male pitt got er pregnant. I drove two amd a half hours to hand over 60 dollars to adopt a female pregnant pure bred pitbull who is stranger and male agressive. I was scared someone would get her just to make money of her puppies. I love craiglist. I have gotten all my pets from there. Im a proud owner of two cats and a dog. Now two dogs. I named her ava. I actually am planning to rehome her pups on craigslist. Im going to rehome them for 150. After 6 months if the spay the pup they can get 75 refunded of course they have to provide proof of that. After a year of keeping the pup they get 25 refunded. After two years of keeping the puppy they get 100 dollars refunded. So in reality the puppy is free as long as you take care of them. And at the six year mark i give them 25 free dollars. I am also screening all buyers and doing home visits. I have a contract all typed up with all of this on there also stating on the contract if they cant keep the dog at any point i would refund all the money the paid to get the puppy. Unless i already gave them money after the one year mark then subtract it out of the refund money. Craigslist is a great tool as long as you know how to use it saftly. I have seen lots of dog flippers and sketchy people but you jist need to learn how to weed them out. Anyways Ava the mamma pit bull is doing so well now! Her pups are due in less than a month and she is a perfect healthy weight. She no longer shows agression to anyone but will still bark but thats sometimes. She is a perfect dog who wouldve been put down at a shelter very quickly.