Craigslist: Stop Putting Animals At Risk!

Final signature count: 78,295

Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site

Demand Craigslist change its terms of use and ban the buying, selling, and giving away of animals on their site.

Sites like Craigslist may be affordable and easy to use, but there is a certain amount of risk involved whenever you sell or purchase on the site. Nowhere is this fact more worrisome than in the "free," "wanted," and "farm & garden" categories, where animals are bought and sold.

Technically, Craigslist prohibits the sale of animals on its platform, but a loophole in the Craigslist terms of use allows animals to be traded for a "rehoming fee1."

This loophole is exploited heavily.

Rarely are buyers and sellers in this section conducting home visits or checking personal or veterinary references. This corner of the internet poses as an adoption agency with no standards or oversight2.

Backyard breeders trading in sickly animals that appear reputable to the unsuspecting eye can use Craigslist to scam adopters who take the animals into their homes under false pretenses. Pet flippers who adopt pets for low fees from shelters also use the platform to sell the animals to the highest bidder.

In Raleigh, N.C., a family was scammed out of $300 and left heartbroken after a Craiglist pet seller gave them a sick, dying puppy3.

In the San Fernando Valley, an 11-year-old girl and her family mourned the loss of a new puppy, just five days after receiving it from a Craigslist seller4. The family say they contacted the woman who sold them the dog, but she denied the transaction ever took place.

In Sugar Land, Texas, a professional mixed martial arts fighter was charged with trapping a bobcat, failing to provide it with food and water and then attempting to sell the animal on Craigslist for $1,0005.

An Indiana woman reportedly made and distributed animal "crush" videos — in which she hanged, skinned, and otherwise tortured and killed cats and dogs she'd obtained via Craigslist and other websites6.

And in one of the most horrifying acts of cruelty, a man used Craigslist to obtain 29 free dogs. He then mutilated and tortured the dogs in front of his kidnapped and horrified girlfriend. The man was later sentenced to up to 45 years behind bars 7.

People have also been known to acquire free animals to act as bait in dog fights, while others look for free smaller animals, like mice or rabbits, as free food for their pet snakes.

Craigslist reaches practically every major city in the United States, which only underlines the urgency of this issue. Millions of animals are at risk of being exploited through these loopholes.

Sign the petition below and demand Craigslist ban any and all buying, selling, and giving away of animals on their site. Not tomorrow or the next day, but now.

More on this issue:

  1. Tanya Flink, Veg News (9 February 2021), "The Truth About Craigslist's 'Free' Animals."
  2. Dogster (31 Jult 2012), "Looking for a Dog on Craigslist? Run Screaming If You See Any of These Red Flags."
  3. Diane Wilson, ABC 11 (7 October 2020), "Raleigh family out $300 and heartbroken after scam leaves them with sick, dying puppy."
  4. Kacey Montoya, KTLA (24 November 2020), "San Fernando Valley family suing after puppy bought off Craigslist died 5 days after coming home."
  5. Claire Goodman, Houston Chronicle (9 December 2020), "Pro MMA fighter trapped, starved bobcat before attempting to sell it on Craigslist, police say."
  6. Nicole Blanchard, Idaho Statesman (15 July 2020), "Police thought a man in Boise was killing pets. The FBI just arrested a woman in Indiana."
  7. Sarah V Schweig, The Dodo (19 January 2016), "Why Giving Pets Away On Craigslist Is A Terrible Idea."
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The Petition:

Dear Jim Buckmaster, CEO of Craigslist,

Craigslist provides a valuable service to many people, but a loophole in the terms of use is hiding a horrific truth.

Animals have been mistreated, abused, and even killed after being bought, sold, and given away on your site.

The requirement that a "rehoming fee" be charged in all of the above is unfortunately nothing more than a very ineffective hoop that disreputable individuals easily jump through in order to participate in what often amounts to criminal behavior.

People's pets have gone missing, only to be found days later on Craigslist, advertised for sale. Sick animals are being sold to unsuspecting families who wind up with dead pets and heartache within a week. And worse yet, free animals are being gathered by the dozens by cruel Craigslist users with intentions of inhumane torture.

It's in your power to protect both the users of your site and the innocent animals who are traded every day. Reconsider your terms of use, remove the rehoming fee loophole and stop the buying, selling, and giving away of animals on Craigslist.


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UPDATE: Signatures from this petition were sent to the CEO of Craigslist in October 2021.