THE BLOG
12/10/2013 06:47 pm ET Updated Feb 09, 2014

Trolling for Chum On Craigslist: When Puppies Become Puppy Chow!

2013-12-09-WP_20131201_0061.jpg

I recently learned about something that happens on Craigslist that so disturbs me, I had to share it. My sole intention is to educate and assist well-meaning dog and cat owners in their need to re-home their furry friends. I don't hold a vendetta against Craigslist. In fact, I happen to like this site a great deal and appreciate its merits vastly. I do question, however, whether or not Craigslist should be doing more to protect the innocent lives of so many animals posted underneath their name and in conjunction with their disclaimer -- a portion of which are mistakenly handed over as pit bull bait to unscrupulous individuals by naïve owners. I kid you not!

The entire practice of trolling for chum on Craigslist is depraved and sickening. That said, it seems well known within the circle of those who monitor the "Pets" category on this site, of whom remain divided into two segments -- those there to protect our four-legged friends and those there to perpetrate harm onto them. And, it seems, you receive plenty of interest from both. Thankfully, countless animal lovers and activists are actively enlightening unsuspecting owners to the ploys and practices ill-intentioned individuals regularly use in relationship to their misguided use of Craigslist.

I, myself, am a pet owner. I own two dogs (both of which I rescued) and recently acquired a kitten that snores louder than my five children combined. I found her on Craigslist and paid a $50 re-homing charge to walk her through my door. I learned that most owners ask for a token of $25 or more in order to ascertain the pure (or not so pure) intentions of the adopting party. I guess those who murder animals are no different than those who murder people. They expect to do so "free of charge" just as they do so free of guilt and free of morals.

It is excruciatingly difficult for me to contemplate such cruelty. I am sure many of you feel the same. I guess that is what separates us from those who carry out such horrific behavior. It also brings to light how incredibly wonderful certain individuals and organizations are who take it upon themselves to protect animals in need with little received in return but a bark of satisfaction, meow of appreciation, or a word of gratitude from the owner. Their selflessness has been overlooked and under acknowledged for way too long now. Each of you deserves a round of applause.

As far as the rest of us go, I would ask that we become that much more diligent in ensuring the safety of our pets if we are forced to place them in the care of another due to unforeseen circumstances or life changes. Whatever the reason -- as the smarter breed -- we owe it to our furry friends to protect them against cruelty of any sort. There are many resources available to help, including "NO Kill" Animal Shelters and Rescue Organizations that would like nothing better than to aid you in your re-homing efforts. Let your fingers do the walking online so to speak. And if you find yourself caught in the situation where someone would like to adopt your pet, my suggestion would be to check out a few personal references as well as your pet's potentially new living environment first hand before agreeing to do so.

Although I would love to see sites like Craigslist provide a very obvious warning at the top of every pet adoption listing they share -- further asserting the necessity to be extremely careful when posting your pet online -- I fail to see this happening. Legally, they don't have to. Morally...I leave that up to the discretion of the powers that be at Craigslist and every other site similar in nature.

Bottom line is, "The fate of these innocent animals lies in our hands, on our heads, and in our hearts." As their owners and caretakers, we need to take this responsibility seriously regardless of personal haste, inarguable reason, or soiled carpets. The intentional mistreatment of animals is never excusable -- no matter what side of the fence you sit on. Some might even say that one's lack of diligence in ensuring the safety of your pet during the re-homing process makes you just as responsible for his murder as the person actually lifting the gate and sending him off to slaughter.

Man's best friend deserves better. Let's make sure we live up to his expectations.