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Craigslist Pet resellers: How to stop them cold

There has been a lot of drama about serial pet re-selling (selling a pet you just got for free or cheep on Craigslist) on Craigslist recently, I’ll explain how that happens and give you a few basic tips on how to stop from being a victim:

When you sell (re-home) your pet on Craigslist and you actually care about where that pet ends up, (If you don’t care, then this article is a waste of time for you) then you need to take a simple precaution when you sell it. Craigslist allows you to charge re-homing fees but draws the line at ‘selling’ as if that distinction matters to anyone, since everyone now charges a ‘Re-homing fee’ that is exactly what they are selling the animal for anyway.

Pet resellers generally give you a very good reason to give or sell your pet to them, including stories about how their lifelong pet just died, or grandma needs a companion etc. All of these are phony, because what they are truly interested in is making money off the pet you are giving away or selling very cheap. Once they have your pet in hand, their pledge to be your pets ‘forever home’ vanishes as quickly as the exhaust from their car as they leave your driveway. In some cases, your pet will show up for sale on Craigslist before you’ve even pulled you own ad down.

So how do you keep this from happening? There are a few simple precautions to take that will greatly reduce the risk of handing your pet off to a serial reseller:

Require ID from the buyer. Pet resellers don’t ever want to be identified, so this simple requirement will scare most of them off. Be prepared for them to require your ID as well, since selling an animal with a disease or some other problem without telling them about it can be a reason for recourse.

Charge a re-homing fee that’s at least 50 percent of the value such an animal is currently selling for. Most serial pet resellers are simply looking for a quick buck, and the more they have to pay for the animal, the less likely they are to bother with you. Additionally, if someone doesn’t have the means to buy an animal, there is a very good chance they cannot afford to adequately take care of the animal either.

Require a signed sales contract. Put that Buyer ID information into a simple contract that states that you sell this pet to that buyer for the sole purpose of a personal pet.

Require the right of return. Stipulate in that sales contract that the buyer agrees that if they attempt to resell that pet they are obligated to return it to you first and give you the option to take it back for a partial (or full) refund. The vast majority of people buying a pet for themselves will not have a problem with that. In fact it will reassure them that you care enough to buy it back if there is a problem. Nearly all legitimate animal breeders (I’ve run into quite a few over the years) use such contracts as well. A serial pet reseller grabbing up free (or extremely cheap) animals with a fake sob story only to sell them the next day won’t come near you with a ten foot pole.

It also gives you a binding contract with legal rights (check with authorities in your state as laws may vary) to that pet. If you simply hand your pet off without such a contract, you have no legal rights whatsoever, and that is exactly what the serial pet resellers are banking on.

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