I was looking at CL as an alternative to the shelters in my area, and while there are a few seemingly well-meaning people who need to get rid of a dog, there’s a lot of puppies out there, some litters but most aren’t, who need a “re-homing” fee. Usually it’s a “small re-homing fee,” which is curious because none of them seem to be large re-homing fees. Heck, even some of the seemingly well-meaning people are asking for re-homing fees.
Are these just backyard breeders? Why do I need to pay a re-homing fee to come pick up a supposedly free dog? Especially if the dog isn’t even fixed or up to date on its shots. Isn’t that just, you know, a sale price?
I don’t know if CL even allows free animals. I know that Facebook has cracked down on buying & selling & giving away animals on its site.
Whether it’s true or not, the logic/fear is that free dogs are scooped up by dog fighters to use as “bait dogs” to use as bait to rile up their fighting dogs before a fight. The fate of a bait dog is death.
So, charging a re-homing fee isn’t a scam it’s just what people do. It may be that they don’t give a fuck and just want some cash for their dogs but for the most part it’s people afraid of unscrupulous monsters looking for a free dog to kill (again, whether it is true or not that it actually happens).
Even back in the 80s, I remember someone (Ann Landers or the like) recommending setting a small price for pets you need to get rid of. The idea being that someone willing to make a financial commitment to get your pet is more likely to be a better owner than someone who says “Hell yeah, free dog!”. It’s psychological as much as anything.
I think it’s a pretty popular idea now so I wouldn’t discard anyone out of hand for requesting a nominal fee. I haven’t heard the term “re-homing fee” until a few years ago but then I’m not up on the used pet scene.
We recently adopted out a dog. Strangely, we advertised it as free because we simply wanted it to go to a good home, we weren’t interested in any money. The new owners were extremely suspicious that we didn’t want money, that we were somehow hiding something and simple altruism wasn’t possible. We eventually said, “Fine, give us 50 bucks” and they happily adopted.
I think generally people want a rehoming fee to make sure that someone’s not just collecting free dogs for nefarious purposes. As a way to check that, charging a fee is something, although not much. Reputable places (like breed rescues) do a questionnaire and an interview and maybe even a home visit, plus they retain the right to come by and check on the welfare of the animal.
But some of these people are probably just trying to make a buck, or not lose money on an animal that’s already cost them some money.
I was got a puppy that was part of a litter that was free. The guy took the entire litter of free pups to feed to his python. For whatever reason he spared this puppy, which ended up with me.
Another reason people charge re-homing fees.
At least here (a moderately-sized city in Virginia) “rehoming fees” are another way for a back-yard breeders to make money. There are occasional “cheap, to a good home” dogs posted, but for every one of those, there’s literally ten posts and re-posts of people trying to make money by breeding their animals. One of the reasons I no longer haunt Craigslist pet section… it’s just plain out depressing.
Yeah, the “small rehoming fee” is in theory to ensure that the dog isn’t going to be ground into hamburger or used for dogfighting or snatched up by evil scientist to conduct experiments. They figure anyone who wants the dog as a companion will shell out a modest sum.
I think that’s fine, though, as long as the rehoming fee actually is pretty small.
There are tons of listings in my part of the country where it’s obvious a person breeding dogs and selling them. I don’t care if they’re shifty backyard breeders or serious, meticulous, responsible breeders- if you’re selling puppies, you’re not trying to “rehome” your pet. You’re just breeding dogs to sell them. A responsible breeder should have avenues to do this other than craigslist.
Sometimes when I’m really, really bored, I sift through the listings and flag all the posts that are selling dogs. For me, under about $100 is a “small rehoming fee”. I see puppies in my area being sold for $400, $500 or more apiece. Craiglist specifically says you can’t sell animals on the site, you can only offer a rehoming fee. But they don’t state what the fee should be.
I think the fee should be small enough that a person can’t make a decent profit selling puppies.
It’s difficult to find the line between so much that they’re making a profit and too small to discourage bait dog usage.
This: " Craiglist specifically says you can’t sell animals on the site, you can only offer a rehoming fee." is a particularly interesting bit of wink wink nudge nudge. Similar to when I was working in the dog rescue organization and the shirts and things we sold were not sales, they were gifts for donating.
Good caveat, ‘whether it’s true or not’ because that particular fear is exaggerated. Dog fighting is rarer than a lot of people think, not to excuse it in any way shape or form*.
The general concept though, of some money changing hands as a way of building trust, that the receiver doesn’t want to do (any number of) nefarious things with the animal, and the giver isn’t foisting off a sick or problem animal, seems valid.
*our dog belonged to somebody actually suspected of dog fighting, shelter volunteers believe that, I can’t absolutely verify it. She escaped, the shelter had her fixed before he showed up to claim her, then he didn’t want her. Her ears are cut off and she has some other physical scars so sometimes people ask me if she was ‘bait dog’, but first of all she’s still around and not that scarred up, and second if allowed to defend herself only the absolute extreme of bad ass dogs would avoid becoming the bait for her. But females are not usually actual fighters, rather used for breeding. We’ll never know the details. We paid the customary type fee to get her from a rescue foster home she went to after the shelter was going to put her down, she’d lost hope and stopped eating.