How to Re-home a Pet on Craigslist?

How to Re-home a Pet on Craigslist

Craigslist is an online platform or community where you can post classified ads for re-homing your pet, amongst other things. Although Craigslist is more or less a marketplace, it does not allow people to sell their pets; you can, however, charge a reasonable adoption fee from the potential adopter for re-homing your pet. 

Since Craigslist has a ginormous reach and thousands of users that use its resources, your ad can certainly gain a lot of traction and exposure, eventually reaching potential adopters who can provide a lifelong home to your pet. If you’re wondering how you can re-home a pet on Craigslist, we have discussed all of it in complete elaboration.

However, we strongly discourage re-homing your pet on Craigslist for multiple reasons (read on to know why). We suggest that you rule out all other options first and keep Craigslist as your last resort to re-homing a pet.

If you’ve intentionally brought in a pet at home, it is your responsibility to give it the utmost care and shelter. However, if, for some reason, you need to re-home it, and relinquish ownership, make sure you do your best before you are left with placing a re-homing ad on Craigslist for your pet.

So, now for the article to pick thrust, we will walk you through a detailed guide on how to re-home a pet on Craigslist, hoping to cover as many pointers as it takes to ensure that your pet is re-homed successfully while giving you insights into what you can do to ensure that it gets the rightful care and shelter after the whole re-homing process. 


Placing an ad on Craigslist

Of course, the baby step to re-homing your pet on Craigslist is placing an ad in the Pets Sections. Here is what you need to include when placing a re-homing ad on Craigslist:

Describe your pet in the ad

Describing your pet is a crucial facet to attracting serious adopters rather than impulse buyers. Therefore, a two-line message that says ‘Up for adoption’ with one picture of your pet that is a decade old would just not do. Follow these steps instead:

  • Start with writing in bullets (or in brief) about your pet’s age, general appearance such as height, the colour of eyes, coat, breed, information on whether it is purebred or not, etc. 
  • Include a mid-length description of your pet that highlights your pet’s personality, such as what he’s usually like (energetic, or happy, slow, etc.). Try to incorporate one of the most memorable moments of your pet – this connects the potential adopter to your pet in most instances. Add what your pet likes or dislikes and what their best qualities are.
  • Make sure to mention behavioral issues if the pet has one. If your pet has a special diet, include the details of the same. Do not forget to highlight medical conditions, if pre-existing, in your pet.
  • Many adopters want to know why you’re looking to re-home your pet. Briefly write about why your pet can no longer stay with you.

Add pictures of your pet

An important part of placing your ad on Craigslist is putting at least 7-8 pictures of your pet to attract serious adopters. Instead of putting old photos, or photos when your puppy was a kid (now that he is 5 or 6 years old), add the most recent photos. Add a headshot and a full-body shot, and try keeping the background unfocused so that people are not easily distracted by irrelevant details. 

Try to either snap and upload, or upload previous pictures that highlight your pet’s personality or where they are doing something fun such as chasing a fly or playing with a catnip toy.

Include Vet Records and Adoption Fee

Including vet records and your vet’s contact info (post-approval by your vet) so that a potential adopter can connect with them and ask about your dog’s medical health and other things associated. This not only shows that you’re upfront with your pet but also increases trust between you and the adopter. 

Defining a re-homing fee is just another important aspect – no matter how kind and compassionate you feel, never let your pet be re-homed without charging a re-homing fee. This does not only narrow down the scope to serious adopters who actually want to give your pet a new home but also weeds out impulse adopters and ill-intentioned people.

Keep the fee reasonable; anywhere between $50-$300 is reasonable, depending on the needs and size of your pet. 

Add your contact information

Add a number that is easy to reach; you may choose not to disclose your number on Craigslist owing to privacy issues, but if you do, make sure it is reachable at all times. Do not add your home address and avoid giving out overly-sensitive information, even if asked by a potential adopter. 

It is advisable to provide your email or set up a new one to avoid people mailing you on your personal mail. Having a new mail set up just for having adopters reach out to you makes it fairly convenient for you to screen them and revert.

Keep refreshing your ad.

Craigslist ads expire anywhere between two weeks to two months, depending on the category of your ad. If your ad has expired, but your pet has not been re-homed yet, keep refreshing it to reach more and more people. However, once your pet has been re-homed, do not forget to delete the ad flyer. 


Interviewing Adopters

Interviewing an adopter helps you understand a lot about them. When you’re screening them, you understand common behavioral patterns, and you may get an idea of whether your pet will get along with them. It is advisable to interview the adopter at your home, so the adopter can spend time with your pet. How they behave around your pet will certainly help in making a decision on whether you want to re-home your pet with them. 

Also, pay a visit to the adopter’s house to check the overall condition of living and the house along with the safety measures taken to ensure the pet’s safety.

When interviewing an adopter, below are the important things to discuss that can help in understanding whether they are the right people to re-home your pet with.

What to discuss with an adopter in an interview? 

Property Ownership

An applicant owning the property where the pet will live is better than the owner who is renting a property. The renting applicant has more chances of moving than the owners, which increases the chances of the dogs being re-homed. In most cases, the landlords of the renters don’t really allow the renters to own a pet because of allergy, disturbance and unwanted chaos in the locality. Renters require permission from the landlord to pet an animal, and if the landlord rejects the renter’s request, they have to return the animal back. So, it’s important that you ask a renting applicant if they have the written permission from their landlord that they can keep a pet.

History with Animals

The history of the applicants with animals is what you should know before moving to any further steps. This will help you to know if the applicant had ever owned a pet before or not and why they got rid of it. There have been instances in which the pet owners have abused and treated their pets badly, taking them to illegal fights, using them for painful experiments, and not really taking good care of them in general. Ask the applicant about how high the animal will be in the priority in the applicant’s life and how they are committed to the pet’s care. Along with this, questioning whether they kept the pet indoors outdoors will help to determine the relationship between the owner and the pet they previously had.

Family Dynamics

Ask about the family dynamics of the applicant to know what kind of family dynamics the pet will be facing with the applicant. Ask if there are any children present in the family and their ages, as the young children are naughty and playful, and the pet might not like it in the beginning. 

Pet Supervision

Ask questions to determine the amount of supervision that the pet will likely receive from the applicant and the family of the applicant. Ask questions like ‘is the backyard fenced’, ‘how often someone is home’, ‘who will look after the dogs while everyone is away. Also, ask if the applicant stays at their parent’s home who manages the households when the applicant and the spouse are at work, or if the house unoccupied for a significant period of time. This gives you a general idea about the time that the adopter will spend with the pet.

Financial Stability

Collect information about the financial stability of the applicant. Ask about their current source of income or job and if they are responsible with money. In this, you will be able to determine whether the applicant can afford the costs associated with keeping a dog, including the basic food costs and vet expenses.


Asking for a contract

Getting a contract drawn up between you and the adopter is the most crucial part of re-homing your pet that can ensure its safety and refrain the adopter from sending away the pet to a shelter. We are not lawyers, and this is not legal advice but make sure that you include these important pointers in the contract between you and the adopter:

  • A guarantee that the pet will have all basic necessities provided to it and have access to adequate vet care when needed.
  • A guarantee that the pet will never be subject to abuse and should never be chained or beaten up. 
  • A guarantee that the previous owner will be allowed to check up on the pet in a span of six months, and if they find that the pet has not been taken care of, the previous owner can take it back.
  • A health guarantee that states that any health conditions that the pet suffers from, once under the supervision of the adopter, the previous owner shall not be liable (given that he has already proved that the pet was healthy when re-homed).
  • A guarantee that the adopter will not take the pet to any shelter or organization where euthanization is practiced. 
  • A statement that cites that it is the adopter’s responsibility to take steps necessary to find the pet if lost or stolen.
  • A statement that cites that the adopter will inform the previous owner if they are re-homing the pet.


Why should you not re-home a pet on Craigslist?

Without any exaggeration, re-homing a pet on Craigslist, at many points, is about ‘despair and menacing treatment’ for the pets. A number of Craigslist adopters are not only sketchy but might as well be ill-intentioned. You are, after all, handing over your beloved pet to a stranger, and if fate has it, your pet can end up in a euthanizing shelter the very next day, or worse, get treated badly in their new home. 

Wanting an adoption fee may weed out impulse buyers, but it is still not enough since the adopter may take your pet to a shelter or leave it homeless or not give it enough care and attention if they feel they are not compatible with your ex-pet’s company. 

On the other hand, if you re-home your pet under the free-to-home section, numerous ill-intentioned Craigslist adopters may take control of your pet and do heinous acts with them such as:

  • Dog Fighting. It may be illegal, but it is more common than you think
  • Crush and post videos for people with crushing fetishes
  • Harm or injure them
  • Euthanize them or kill them inhumanely. 
  • Sell to laboratories for use in experiments.

A number of organizations working towards animal protection, such as Peta, The Dodo, and HuffPost, warn people against re-homing their pet on Craigslist due to the numerous instances where pets have wound up tortured or dead by new adopters.

If you are of the opinion, ‘If there’s evil in the world, there’s good too,’ we agree, but the evil against animals often outweighs the good. You do not have to take out word for it; instead, here are animal cruelty instances on pets re-homed on Craigslist, reported by, that may speak to you.

  • January 2020/Des Moines, Iowa: It was reported by that Yelena Barr was accused of abusing her pet dog and arrested. Later it was found that when she was released, she went to purchase another dog, which had been advertised on Craigslist. 
  • July 2020/Kokomo, Indiana: reported that 19-year-old Krystal Scott, of Kokomo, Indiana, was accused of making and distributing animal crush videos. Animal crushing is a kind of abuse that is filmed and posted on the internet as pornography for individuals with a  ‘crushing fetish.
  • January 2021/Tulsa County, Oklahoma: reported that a person who had adopted a dog from an animal shelter had re-homed the dog to someone else over Craigslist. And the person who acquired the dog later took the dog to a veterinary hospital in a garbage bag. The clinic clearly determined that the dog had been shot in the head and was still alive in the bag.
  • November 2017/Alamogordo, New Mexico: reported that a man used to acquire dogs through Craigslist ads and killed them for shooting target practice, and the man was responsible for the mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and had killed over 26 people.
  • April 2018/Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: reported about a man who had been charged with over 100 counts of felony cruelty to animals, and about 50 dead animals were found at his home, including 33 chickens, 18 ducks and five rabbits in garbage bags in the yard. Most of them had starved to death, and the man told the authorities that he acquired the animals from people giving them away for free on Craigslist.
  • May 2019/St. Charles County, Missouri: reported that Kaine A. Luzader was facing felony charges after being found responsible for killing at least 12 cats. And the news said that the man acquired cats and kittens from people who were offering them for sale or for free on Craigslist.
  • July 2019/Escondido, California: reported that  Joshua Boyer, with multiple felony counts of cruelty to animals, was charged with felony charges and arrested. He was responsible for allegedly torturing and killing cats acquired via Craigslist and animal adoption groups. 
  • April 2017/Adams County, Colorado: reported about a man who was convicted of beating a cat to death with a hammer and was arrested. And during the interrogation, he admitted that he acquired the cats from Craigslist ads.

What can you do instead?

We’ve mentioned countless times that re-homing your pet on Craigslist should be the very last resort on your list of possible solutions. Depending on why you need to re-home the pet, the solutions may vary, but here are a few things that you can always do instead of putting your pet for adoption on Craigslist.

Contact a no-kill rescue: No-kill rescues are exactly what they sound like – instead of euthanizing a pet that comes to their shelter, they try finding a home for it. This is way more morale than the organizations that practice euthanization and kill the pet as soon as they step onto their foyer (figuratively). If your pet is purebred, and you have all the vet records to weed out doubts about medical conditions, a no-kill rescue can find a serious adopter and even get them to sign an adoption contract, something that most Craigslist adopters refrain from doing. 

Another bright side of working with a no-kill rescue to re-home your dog is that the volunteers contributing to the rescue are much more experienced than you likely are when it comes to screening potential adopters and finding the best possible adopter for your pet. They can also put the pet up for adoption on their website under ‘courtesy listing’ and Petfinder. 


Contact your family, friends, or co-workers: This is one of the best options out there if you want to re-home your pet. You can always reach out to somebody in your family, friends, or people from your workspace who wish to have a pet and can likely provide a home for your pet. This has two major benefits over re-homing on Craigslist:

One: We believe that the person you’ll be reaching out to in your contacts is someone you’ve known for a long time and can trust with your pet. This means that they can not only provide your dog with a home but also give it the utmost love and care they have gotten from you so far. In our opinion, this is far safer than handing over your pet to a complete stranger on an online platform.

Two: You can always stay in touch with your pet, even when you’ve relinquished ownership, and you can often pay a visit whenever you want to. On the other hand, when it comes to Craigslist, a lot of adopters are not up for letting you visit your pet once a few months. They may not want to stay in touch with you either and block you off any social media as soon as they are two blocks away from your alley. 


Take a loan for caring and basic necessities expenses: If you’re re-homing your pet because you can not pay for its maintenance, we suggest taking a loan, and paying for it in parts, so that it can cover the cost for basic necessities of your pet, such as diet, spaying, neutering, vet expenses, etc.



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