5 reasons Craigslist is a valuable tool for dog adoptions

Craigslist is an excellent place to post and advertise dogs in need of homes.

Shelters and rescue groups should definitely be posting dogs on Craigslist. If they don’t, they’re missing out on a huge market of dog lovers.

Unfortunately, the site has gotten a bad rap lately in the animal rescue world, but there is no proof that animals re-homed through Craigslist are more likely to go to abusive homes. It’s another one of those animal rescue myths we’re all too familiar with.

The following are some of my examples on why I believe Craigslist is such a valuable tool for re-homing dogs. Whether you agree or disagree, I hope you’ll add your thoughts in the comments.

Craigslist helps more dogs find loving homes.

Morgan the retriever mix was a foster dog I posted on Craigslist

Whenever I foster a dog or a cat, I always post the animal to Craigslist every other week or so. Why wouldn’t I? It’s free publicity, and it gets the animal in front of pet lovers who are already looking to adopt pets.

The rescue groups have screening processes in place for all adopters, so it shouldn’t matter where the adopters are coming from initially. Craigslist helps get the dogs in front of more people.

Last week I asked on That Mutt’s Facebook page if any of you use Craigslist to find homes for shelter or rescue animals. Anna Sieh said she advertises all of her foster dogs on Craigslist too because it’s a free way to get them noticed.

Makes sense to me!

Craigslist helps people re-home their pets on their own

If we want to stop killing so many healthy dogs and cats in U.S. shelters, one step is to prevent pets from entering shelters in the first place.

Since shelters and rescue groups are already stretched to their limits, many of them can’t or won’t accept incoming animals from individuals. So, they turn these animals away.

Well, what are people supposed to do if they have to re-home their pets?

Thankfully, Craigslist can help match people up with other loving pet owners, allowing them to have an easier time finding new homes for their pets. This cuts back on the number of dogs and cats that are surrendered to open-admission shelters.

It’s a great resource to find a dog to adopt

When I’m ready to adopt another pet, of course I’m going to be checking Craigslist.

I adopted Ace directly through his previous owner (versus going to a shelter or rescue) and it was a very positive experience for me. I got to meet him, ask a lot of questions, observe his behavior and eventually take home the world’s best dog for free.

See my post on how to get a dog from Craigslist.

A lot of people use Craigslist!

Posting foster cats on Craigslist to attract good homes

Really, what it comes down to is pretty much everyone reading this post uses Craigslist or other online classified advertising. This is because it’s the fastest and easiest way to get information!

The blog Beyond Breed has a well-researched post about re-homing pets on Craigslist, and the post pointed out some facts about internet users and online classified ads.

For example, the post cited research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project that said Craigslist is the most popular classified advertising website in the United States. No surprise there!

The research also said:


  • people ages 25 to 44 are the most likely to use online classified ads, but even 48 percent of 45- to 54-year-olds use the ads
  • 56 percent of adults with household incomes of at least $50,000 use online classified ads
  • 54 percent of college graduates use online classified ads


People are using Craigslist already, and the numbers are going to keep growing. We might as well use this to our advantage when trying to advertise dogs in need of good homes.

Craigslist does not increase the risk of attracting abusive homes.

There is no proof that dogs adopted out through Craigslist are more likely to go to abusive homes or to homes that will neglect them. If anyone has some research on this topic, please let me know. I think the concept is a complete myth.

[quote_center]”There is no proof that dogs adopted out through Craigslist are more likely to go to abusive homes …”[/quote_center]

Yes, there are a few isolated incidents that are very sad and unfortunate, and these have of course been blown way out of proportion. We simply don’t hear about all the wonderful people adopting dogs and cats through Craigslist every day because these stories are boring and ordinary.

I want to hear your stories

I am interested in writing a post featuring people who adopted pets through Craigslist. Please email me at Lindsay@ThatMutt.com if you’d like to share your story.

How do the rest of you feel about Craigslist and using it to attract good homes?

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18 thoughts on “5 reasons Craigslist is a valuable tool for dog adoptions”

  1. I haven’t had occasion to use it myself but i have matched three people who wanted to adopt with three dogs that needed to be rehomed and the results were happy for all involved. I’m a Craigslist matchmaker.

  2. I can’t stand Craigslist for anything. I know a lot of folks use it and find it great, including my Gramma, but I personally dislike it. If prospective pet parents are screened by the person offering the animal, it would be fine, but I don’t think it should be used for breeders to sell puppies, just for rescues or animals needing a new home.

  3. As mentioned, I use Craig’s List to promote my foster dogs. Our shelter’s screening is very strict.
    Any “re-homing puppies, $900” gets flagged immediately.

  4. I don’t see any reason why an animal homed through Craigslist is less likely to go to a good home! My only beef with Craigslist has more to do with the people that post in the pet section, not the adopters. You have to sift through droves of obvious backyard breeders looking to “adopt out” 6-week-old puppies for “only $400 each”. Yeah . . . No.

    I occasionally post ads for the cat rescue I volunteer with’s adoption events on Craigslist. I try to do fun things like writing it from a cat’s point of view, and I include pictures of the cats doing interesting things to make the event look fun.

    I also re-homed a pair of rabbits on Craigslist several years ago. It was an unfortunate situation in which I could have kept them, technically, but I was moving to a place where they would have to be kept in a little cage, or a hutch in the yard, and that’s not very good for them. Keeping them would have been selfish. The arrangement I made through Craigslist was mutually beneficial to me, the bunnies, and the new owner. She wanted a bonded, sterilized pair, but no rescue would consider her because her house was “too far” to drive for a home check. She sounded amazing to me! I’m sure my rabbits are very happy with her, and I’m glad we were able to orchestrate it online.

    1. Agreed about the annoing ads from the BYB, sometimes “adopting out” 5 week old ones. Here in Santa Barbara county our CL is pretty clean, people flag right away. But Los Angeles? Whoa!

      1. Lindsay Stordahl

        Ugh, I agree. Those ads are frustrating. Some innocent people looking for a dog may not understand how sketchy those ads are, either. San Diego’s CL has quite a few “rescue puppies” for $500.

  5. My pup that was on the Guess That Mutt a little earlier this month is a Craigslist Puppy! He’s a Pit Mix and the owners at the time were very cautious of who their dog was going to. We usually texted a lot more than you would think! We talked about how we both loved the show Pitbulls and Parolees, how I’ve always wanted a pit and other stuff that had to do with the amazing pibble. After this, she was SO happy that her pup was going to a loving home and she could tell before she even met me! She even ended up knocking down his rehoming fee from about 150 to 75 because she liked me so much! I was soo happy. He was the cutest little baby and my very first, own dog. The one thing she could have done maybe, would be to do a home check. I understand where she was coming from, she trusted me, and she knew he was going to a good home. But, there are fake people out there who will act just like that and then the dog could be put in a not so happy home. The only bad thing about my pup, Jazz, was how skinny he was. You could totally see his ribs, they had said they dewormed him, but about three days after having him home he had worms really really bad! 🙁 Luckily we got him dewormer from the vet fifteen minutes within his worms coming out and now he is a big, muscular, fit, handsome 60 pounds at least! The only other bad thing that happened with these people is that they wanted him back after about two and a half weeks. I was so devastated! I couldn’t believe that after I had taken care of him with bad worms, trained him in all sorts of ways, loved him, played with him, cleaned up after him, cared for him and everything!! They had the nerve to ask for him back because they made the wrong choice and wanted to give me his sister instead and even give me my money back! I said no way, Jose! I’m sorry but you should have thought about it longer before you decided to post your pup online.. You don’t just go and say oh here but we’ll give you a different cute puppy to make up for it! That really pissed me off. And, in the end they ended up giving the female away, too! But, other than that.. I like the pet ads, for the most part! 🙂

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Aww, Jazz! I’m glad his first owners were careful about who adopted him. But like you said, one of the things people have to be careful of with adopting through the dog’s original owner is what if the owner wants the dog back? I imagine that happens quite often when people have second thoughts. Or, what if the person wants to stop by and see the dog, like all the time? That would potentially annoy me.

      I lucked out with Ace. His owner seemed responsible, answered all my questions and then that was that. I do wish I’d kept her contact info so I could send her an update, but I didn’t. I can’t even remember he last name.

      1. Aww yeah. After they asked for him back we didn’t talk for a while, but we were friends on Facebook so she was able to see updates of him and his travels on the semi and that’s how I found out they got rid of his sister. I wish I would have known earlier, I would have taken her! She was beautiful!! I asked to see how big Chloe was getting and I wanted to see if her and Jazz looked alike and then she told me they got rid of her. 🙁 I just feel like they go through too many dogs, too quickly from all the pics they have. I know someone personally who will find animals on craigslist or on facebook and flip them.. It totally pisses me of. I can’t stand people like that!

  6. I’m not crazy about Craigslist, as a matter of fact we did a post last year about adopting from Craigslist and our personal investigation showed some really undesirable practices. I think it perpetuates puppy mills and gives them an easy outlet to unload dogs. My preference would be to use PetFinder or Adopt-a-Pet as I think there is more screening and accountability to those services.

  7. Craigslist is where I found my dog (rehomed from someone who adopted him from the pound a few days before) and he is very well taken care of. I love Craigslist! I would never support BYB’s by purchasing any puppies from Craigslist or anywhere else. I flag those immediately.

  8. Our area has a local radio station that hosts an on-line classified ads for free. They are a great place for rehoming dogs. I fostered my niece’s Brittany spaniel when she was down in bed for 4 months with a difficult pregnancy. I made sure the dog was up to date with shots and was neutered. I posted her at midnight and had a call at 10 am. The adopter was a high school history teacher with 3 young girls. Their home backed onto open hills and they had been looking for a Brittany for 2 years. Perfect match. They were happy to pay for the shots and spay, and everyone was happy.
    Last year I needed a rat terrier to deal with a horrible mouse problem. I took a free dog that needed a new home because they couldn’t take her with them. She got rid of the mice, a much better diet and daily walks. Win all around.

  9. I got my dog from Craigslist from a very nice family who were in tough financial times. They used Craigslist to put out feelers to see if they could possibly find a good home for their dog. The dog was healthy, vaccinated, trained and neutered, and the poor people were heartbroken to give him up. I keep in touch and send them photo updates once or twice a year. He’s such a good dog and it was nice to have lots of information from his family (who adopted him from the pound as a pup six years prior). At the time I knew I wanted another dog, but couldn’t really find one that fit the bill from a rescue. We took our dog to meet him, and a few days later his people dropped him off so they could see where we lived. He’s such a great dog and we’re lucky to have found him. I would never condone craigslist for buying puppies, but it’s a great way to promote rescue animals and for people looking to rehome pets. Craigslist is great for many things!

  10. I got my fur-son from Craigslist -4 1/2 years later he is my joy – there was no fee – only issue was last owner did not know he is ME (Mega-Esophagus) special needs dog – but she did not know that…

  11. We don’t really have Craigslist in Europe but I adopted Archie from his previous owners through a similar website, gumtree.com. I liked that I was able to meet him at his home and meet the whole family, meaning I could see how he was with them, and understand his background. I made sure I brought a friend with me for safety (and to make sure my heart didn’t total rule my head) but I think seeing him at home and being able to ask lots of questions was really helpful. He was really well cared for and loved, but sadly his first family just didn’t have the ability to look after him anymore. He came with a full folder of instructions, his own bed, toys, etc. which I think made it easier for him to settle in.

    I would definitely use it again – not least because many shelters wouldn’t let me adopt as a single woman who works full time.

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