Monday, May 15, 2006
Collective voices matter.
Over a year ago a group of animal shelters in the East Bay got together to discuss pet overpopulation, specifically, the overpopulation of pit bulls. Most of these pit bulls would not find homes and would be euthanized in our public shelters.
It was, and is, a difficult situation for all of us, with no easy answers. One thing we knew for sure though, and that was Craigslist, a terrific tool for finding homes for homeless pets, had also turned into a free black market of sorts for irresponsible breeders of pit bulls.
And it wasn't just pit bulls; really it was anyone choosing to make money of the backs of pets, mostly popular puppies. This includes Chihuahuas, Yorkies, Malteses and all the variations of those "-poo" dogs
We came up with different solutions, some of which we have already been offering for years: free dog training classes with pit bull adoptions, free spay and neuter for owned pit bulls and pit mixes, and of course, Pit Bull Hall.
But the one thing that each shelter agreed on, that there had been in an increase in for-profit puppies from Craigslist, and we were all picking up the pieces. In time, hundreds of shelters around the state of California, and even the country agreed with us.
If only we could help stem the sale of puppies online, then fewer people would be inclined to think that breeding for quick money was a good idea. If you have ever had a litter of puppies in your home, you understand the desire to find them all homes -- quickly! They are noisy, smelly, expensive, and destructive little furballs that eat like minature horses. Mom wants little to do with them after a certain point in time, so you then need twice as much room.
If the "casual breeder" finds selling a litter difficult, then they might think twice the next time cranking out a litter of puppies sounds like a good way to make a buck. (A responsible breeder is usually not even looking for profit, and has plenty of buyers, so it's not a deterrent for them.)
And we have achieved some success! Craigslist rocks. That link brings you to our column that came out this weekend.
They really came through, and they did it in a way that honors the community style of their ground-breaking website. The problem is not solved, but now the community can help communicate the standards, just like Craig Newmark and his team originally intended.
And to top it off, they are all pretty nice guys, too.