Do you have an opinion about animal offer posts?

If you do, this is the place for it!

(Below is the orginal Admin post at the Yahoo Groups site 8/23/09)

Dear Members,

Yesterday a message was posted from a member who offered 2 cats. Today that
member posted a taken message, with a positive note attached to it. Sounds like
a happy ending — yay!!

Well, not exactly for all… I also received 3 emails from folks who were
surprised (saddened, concerned), to see the message on the board. I replied to
them that our rules regarding pet posts states:

“PET POSTS: Allowed are Offers only. Be sure to be lovingly careful on gifting a
pet.”

I haven’t received replies, but I also told them that I would post an admin
about this, as well as a note on my blog so that others could weigh in with
their general opinion about animal offer posts. You can add your comments at
http://marincountyfreecycle.org/wp/2009/08/23/do-you-have-an-opinion-about-anima\
l-offer-posts/
No log-in required. Your name & email is required only if you
post. Email is never shared.

Best regards,
Nicole
Moderator

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  • Comments (23)
    • terri jo
    • September 9th, 2009

    I suppose an alternative to posting for a new home for the 2 cats could have been abandonment…the lesser of two evils was chosen – to post out of hope that they’ll land in a home of a loving and caring and cat-loving person/family – it’s a not-so-bad alternative to just leaving them behind with nobody to care for and love them…i’m not saying the poster would have done that, but situations and circumstances and sh!t…happens…and you do sometime what you wouldn’t normal do. I didn’t think the post was appropriate, but I pray it was successful.

    • No, the alternative would have been to give the cats to the Marin Humane Society.

        • Nicole-admin
        • September 11th, 2009

        Thanks for your note. I think everyone who reads these posts gets your viewpoint, so it’s not necessary to correct others with redundant messages. You are welcome to post if you have something new to add.

    • Joanne
    • September 1st, 2009

    Nicole-admin :
    Thanks for sharing your opinions Joanne. I understand that you’re expressing them from an animal rescuer’s point of view. I’m sorry if it has caused you distress by not knowing all the details of the exchange.

    I’m feeling that the point I’ve been trying to make is being misunderstood. It is not about whether or not I know the details of the exchange. My point is that live animals should never be given away for free to strangers! If they are given away to someone that the giver has a personal connection with, that is different. But offering them for free on the internet is like playing Russian Roulette with their lives. It might result in a tragic mistake only once out of a thousand times, but what if you discovered that one time it was your pet? I do know of people who this has happened to, and they will always live with that guilt. They thought they had given their cats to a nice person, but learned too late that they made a mistake which resulted in suffering and untimely death of their cats. Freecycle is a wonderful resource for inanimate objects, but is not the right place for rehoming pets. That is why we have The Humane Society and rescue organizations. Even Craigslist pets section advises that a small adoption fee should be asked.

    • Joanne
    • August 26th, 2009

    I certainly would like to have heard that the cat owner DID meet and interview the person who took the cats, but there hasn’t been any evidence of that, or any response at all (that I’ve seen) from either person involved, either the giver or the taker of the cats. For all we know, the cats could have been left out on the porch for pick up, with no questions asked, like discarded toys. The cat owner only said that she wanted to give her cats away because she was moving and her new roommates were allergic. In my opinion, when someone has pets, they are family members for life and the pet owner should find a place to live that allows the pets. But I have tried to not be judgmental about the reason for giving the cats away, and just focus on the way in which they were given away, which from an animal rescuer’s experience, was just wrong.

      • Nicole-admin
      • August 26th, 2009

      Thanks for sharing your opinions Joanne. I understand that you’re expressing them from an animal rescuer’s point of view. I’m sorry if it has caused you distress by not knowing all the details of the exchange.

    • edie heller
    • August 26th, 2009

    i definitely think the current policy of accepting pet posts should be continued. the prior respondents who are against it assume that the cat owner didn’t meet and interview the cat recipient, but we don’t know this. people find themselves under unfortunate circumstances and if there’s someone qualified to help them out, then no one gets hurt. just my 2 cents worth. but thank you for having this policy.

    edie

    • Joanne
    • August 25th, 2009

    Nicole-admin :

    My 2 cents: I’ve known many people over the years who have adopted their pet through personal connections (via friend of a friend, or friend of a co-worker…in other other words, no professional organization was involved), and I can’t think of one whose outcome was anything but a nice warm welcoming home. Yes, there are bad apples out there. It’s just too bad that they can sometimes cast a shadow over the good ones.

    Yes I completely agree that the best way to find a new home for a pet is through a personal connection. But if that isn’t possible, the next best way is to turn it over to an organization that is experienced in finding good homes. The worst possible thing is to just abandon the poor animal….but it isn’t really much better to offer to give it away for free to any stranger who offers to take it on an internet site. If that must be done, there should at the very least be some careful screening of the new owner. That means getting references, especially from their vet, and doing a home visit. There are people known as “bunchers” who travel around collecting any free animals they can find, and keep them in horrid conditions until they have collected enough to sell to research labs. There are also animal hoarders who seem very caring and claim to love animals and want to save them, but they end up with way more than they can take care of and the animals suffer from malnutrition, disease, and lack of vet care, not to mention lack of socialization. Most regular people haven’t ever seen these things, so aren’t aware they exist….but all animal rescuers and shelters are very aware they do, which is why they always carefully screen all adopters, and advise that pets shouldn’t ever just be casually given away on internet sites.

    • Julianna
    • August 25th, 2009

    That cat posting seemed harmless enough. And what a happy ending. This is the first animal post I’ve seen since I’ve been doing Freecycle, so it’s not a common thing. If posts were to increase dramatically, then perhaps it’s time for concern.

    • Nicole-admin
    • August 24th, 2009

    This is a sensitive subject. I’m glad to see members share their opinions here. I would hope that we can all learn something by listening and considering another person’s viewpoint — even if it might be contrary to what we believe.

    My 2 cents: I’ve known many people over the years who have adopted their pet through personal connections (via friend of a friend, or friend of a co-worker…in other other words, no professional organization was involved), and I can’t think of one whose outcome was anything but a nice warm welcoming home. Yes, there are bad apples out there. It’s just too bad that they can sometimes cast a shadow over the good ones.

    The person who posted the original message that brought about this topic, in my opinion, did a good thing. Thirteen year old cats usually come with special circumstances — be it healthwise, and certainly personality traits. (My sister has a 13 year old cat “Suzy”. Her 16 year old siamese “Lacy” died a few years back.) Sis swears by the humane society and a few other organizations where she lives, but also believes the best thing you can do for an older cat is to be their advocate and find a seasoned cat lover who wants to adopt and who you feel comfortable with. In this case, the phrase “it takes one to know one” comes to mind!

    • Joanne
    • August 24th, 2009

    FYI, here is the link that craigslist provides about giving pets away for free
    – info on free to good home ads). ( you can click on it to read it. )
    There is a very good reason why shelters and rescues always charge adoption fees AND screen adopters carefully.

    • Joanne
    • August 24th, 2009

    Emily :
    I think the post was tasteful and appropriate for the cats. Most of the people on this board are kind and humane people and I am glad the cats will have a new happy home rather than being abandoned or worse. I think the owner was very smart to post here and I applaud their choice!

    Do you really think it is “tasteful and appropriate” to offer to give away 13 year old cats to a stranger? Yes, most of the people on this board seem kind and humane, but there aren’t any guarantees. Members aren’t screened here. I do animal rescue work, and have heard horror stories about what has happened to some pets that were given away for free to strangers who “seemed nice”. How do you know that they will have a “happy new home” just because there was someone who took them? Do you know anything about that person? I didn’t see anything posted except a thank you to someone for taking them.

    • Melanie
    • August 24th, 2009

    I think the Humane Society does an excellent job of placing pets……yet they are not the only avenue available. For people who sadly have to find a new home for their cherished pets, I’m always happy when they do, in whatever manner. Gee, I’ve been in the position before of having to find a home for one of my pets…..it’s heartbreaking, but I’ve found solice when I meet the person who will be my pets new “parent” and know they are in good hands. And I agree with one of the posts, I have found the people I have encountered on MarinFreecycle to be wonderful!

    • Nancy L. Briggin
    • August 24th, 2009

    When we adopt a pet, we’re committing to its care and well being for it’s lifetime. If unexpected, unavoidable changes in our lives make that impossible, it’s our JOB to ensure that the pet is placed in ANOTHER loving home. If a pet guardian can’t find one on their own, the ONLY responsible action is entrusting that job it to a reliable placement service, such as the Humane Society or an animal rescue group.

    I don’t know the people who left these cats behind, and perhaps they made a valiant effort to find a new home. However, I cannot fathom ANY circumstances under which it’s acceptable to list two 13-year-old cats on an internet swap site.

    My vote is to eliminate ALL pets from Freecycle.

    • Emily
    • August 24th, 2009

    I think the post was tasteful and appropriate for the cats. Most of the people on this board are kind and humane people and I am glad the cats will have a new happy home rather than being abandoned or worse. I think the owner was very smart to post here and I applaud their choice!

    • Cheryl Morand
    • August 24th, 2009

    I think its wonderful that pets can be posted here…the economy is such that they are being dropped off in droves to shelters that cannot find homes for them all. Hooray for Freecycle!

    • Joanne
    • August 24th, 2009

    Mary Jo :

    The ONLY post I would vehemently object to is one regarding a wild animal someone has ‘adopted’ and made into a pet. (example, raccon, etc.) This is totally against the law regarding possession of wildlife.
    Mary Jo

    On this subject, I also object to posts asking for traps for the purpose of trapping wildlife which is also against the law in this county. It doesn’t matter what the intention is, even if the person just wants to re-locate the wild raccoon or opossum, that is harmful to the animals, spreads disease (our wild raccoon population has previously been decimated by canine distemper), and new ones will just move in to the abandoned territory if another solution isn’t found to stop their access to the property. I have found starving newborn raccoon pups whose mother had been trapped and taken away by my neighbor. Trapping isn’t the answer!

    • jeanne
    • August 24th, 2009

    Such posts offering animals do not belong on this list. Pets should be handled by the Humane society or other animal organizations.

    • Joanne
    • August 24th, 2009

    Paula :
    I strongly believe there should be no posting of any type of animals on this list.

    I agree with Paula on this. Pets should only be given away for free to people whom the giver knows well. Otherwise, they should be surrendered to The Marin Humane Society which has an excellent facility where they will be taken care of until a good pre-screened home is found for them. Craigslist has a pet section and they discourage offering pets for free and provide a link to info about free to good home ads when posting there.
    It costs money to properly care for a pet, and if someone can’t pay an adoption fee, then what are the chances they will pay for good quality food or veterinary care?

    • Mary Jo
    • August 24th, 2009

    I have no objection at all, IF it seems certain that the poster is indeed a pet owner who is unable to keep his/her pet and is sincerely wanting to find the pet a good home.
    Many people are having to give up their beloved pets these days due to the economy; I hear of may who have lost their homes or apartments and therefore can not keep their pet. I love my 2 cats, if I had to give them up, I don’t think I could bear it. Resorting to Freecycle for this may be an act of desperation so that the pet can be taken care of and find a home.
    The ONLY post I would vehemently object to is one regarding a wild animal someone has ‘adopted’ and made into a pet. (example, raccon, etc.) This is totally against the law regarding possession of wildlife.
    Mary Jo

    • Gary Steiger
    • August 23rd, 2009

    I am concerned by today’s offer and acceptance of 2 cats on Marin Freecycle. Free cats often end up as experimental lab cats. This is why most cat rescue organizations, including the Marin Humane Society, charge a substantial amount of money to adopt a cat, making them more expensive than lab cats. Though today’s cats probably found a good home, I think in the future pets are more likely to be adopted by a loving home rather than a lab if they are give to the Marin Humane Society.

    — Gary Steiger

    • Paula
    • August 23rd, 2009

    I strongly believe there should be no posting of any type of animals on this list.

    • Amy Allen, DVM
    • August 23rd, 2009

    There are many animals that need homes and anything we can do to help in that process is wonderful. Thank you for your current policy of accepting pet posts. I find “free” homes for pets all the time and feel that I have found absolutely amazing homes for needy pets. I know some people feel a fee is required to find a good home but I disagree and think a careful placement is all that is needed.
    Amy Allen, DVM

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