“Free Ads” Can Kill

Perhaps you are changing jobs, have experienced a decline in health or your new lifestyle means you can no longer care for your pet. In trying to find a new home for your pet, you place a “Free Ad” in the newspaper and wait for the phone to ring. You may reason that it’s a great way for people to get a new pet at no cost and it’s definitely better than having the animal “put to sleep”. You’ve just done a good thing for your pet, right?… WRONG.

The decision you’ve made for your pet could be deadly. All over the country, and even here in our corner of Pennsylvania, people take pets they find in “free to good home ads” and do horrible things with them, including selling them to laboratories for research where most wind up being put through horrible conditions before dying, or living in unsanitary, unfit conditions because the person who takes the pet doesn’t, or isn’t willing to, care for them properly.

Some people even use animals from the free ads as bait in training other animals to fight, as food for other animals, or in cult religious practices. Statistics indicate that only one in five animals in “free to good home” ads actually goes to a permanent, loving home.

Why would someone do this to your pet? After all, they said they wanted a pet and would provide a good home for yours. Cruelty aside, monetary gain appears to be the strongest motivation for these acts. Unwanted pets placed in some shelters were once the mainstay of research laboratories.

The Hillside SPCA NEVER releases animals for experimentation and only adopts out after carefully interviewing a potential adopter. Today, more and more communities are prohibiting shelter animals from being used in experimentation, but not nearly enough. As a result, a “black market” has stepped in to meet the continuing need for research animals.

Some laboratories purchase cats, dogs and other animals specifically bred for experimentation (which many people find as disgusting as using pets), but many of the animals turn out to have been someone’s former pet. Purchasing an animal from a “broker” or “bundler” costs a lab far less than purchasing one bred for the purpose. Even so, the “broker” who is selling the pets makes a good deal of money off the transaction. So, you can see why this type of person would be quite willing to lie, perhaps even go to unusual measures, to obtain your animal.

We have encountered several instances in our area of Pennsylvania in which people gathered pets from “free ads” and sold them to laboratories in the area for experimentation. We have also had severe problems with individuals who simply “collect” animals from the ads – for one reason or another – but are not equipped to care for them properly. We wind up confiscating the animals when we find out about them and bringing them here to the Hillside to try to place them in proper, loving homes. Many times, these animals are traumatized beyond belief from the horrible conditions they endured. Imagine being given away by the owner you love dearly, not knowing why you are leaving your home or why you don’t see them anymore, then being subjected to filthy conditions, other animals – some diseased and dying – abuse and neglect and lack of proper food, water and medical care.

We urge you NEVER to place “free to good home” type ad.

Pet Ownership Tips:
It’s a wonderful thing to provide a home to a pet, but before you bring one home, please be realistic in your expectations and your abilities.

  • Can you provide, and does your lifestyle allow you, the time to properly care for your pet?
  • Do you have the time needed to exercise him and feed him.
  • Do you have the resources to provide him with good medical care and plenty of food?
  • If you live with others, are they willing to help in caring for the pet?
  • Do you move a lot? If you aren’t sure of whether you can really care for a pet, don’t get one.

Don’t leave your pet unattended in the yard or your vehicle. Pet snatchers can strike any times, anywhere…even in small towns and rural areas.

Have your pet neutered or spayed as soon as possible before you are faced with “trying to find homes” for unwanted kittens or puppies.

Have your pet tattooed or have them implanted with a “micro chip”. Laboratories are required to check on this when receiving animals for experimentation and report the animals presence to the owner if they receive one that can be identified via these methods.

Don’t consider advertising in the “free ads” to be your only way of getting a new home for your pet. Veterinarians, breed rescue leagues and your local shelter are all places you can contact before considering an ad.

Share this! ...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Digg thisShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page