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!