The Fallacy of “Re-homing”

There’s been this discussion going on lately on an avian board about “re-homing” birds, especially with regard to Craigslist.  Craigslist has a policy that you cannot use their system to sell animals, a policy that I very much support.  However, that’s just led to people using a different word and continuing to sell animals in disguise.  That word is “re-homing fee”.  In short, it means you’re paying someone some amount of money in exchange for their animal.  Want to know what that really is?  Selling!

Now don’t get me wrong, I have no problem in general with someone charging a small fee, I’ve seen people charging $20-30 for unwanted kittens or puppies and while it is a token fee, it does prove that someone has the financial ability to care for the animal once they get it home.  Just because someone can throw money at you doesn’t necessarily mean they are a good pet owner.  Spend some more time talking to potential adopters and less time trying to get money out of them.  You might actually get a good home for your beloved pet.

However, the big discussion started with an ad for an Eclectus Parrot in Massachusetts, where the current owner, clearly a kid, was asking $800 for the bird.  Sorry, that just so happens to be the average price for an Eclectus from a breeder.  While the ad makes it sound like it’s an old family friend, and it very well may be, I don’t want to impugn the current owner, the fact remains that it looks suspiciously like they’re trying to sell the bird, a clear no-no on Craigslist.

It really bugs me because, isn’t the whole point of re-homing an animal to get it into a new home that can provide care that you cannot or will not provide?  Isn’t it supposed to be for the animal’s benefit, not your wallet’s?  Sorry, I just don’t see it in some of these people.  It’s like they want to recoup costs from a failed pet relationship, then dump their responsibilities on someone else.

Oh, I know that it’s not always their fault, things happen, but I think that far too often, there’s an impetus to just dispose of anything problematic because it’s faster and easier.  Myself, I view my pets as a lifetime commitment.  For as long as they live, they are my responsibility.  I have never re-homed any of my animals and I don’t plan on it.  Sure, I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, I could get hit by a bus, but you know something?  I have friends who will take in every animal I have and give them loving care for the rest of their lives in a heartbeat, should it  be required, just as they know I’d do the same for them should they drop dead.

I’d really love to see Craigslist put an absolute limit of $100 on any re-homing fees they allow on the site.  Maybe even $50, but I could live with $100.  You cannot re-home any animal, any species, for any reason, for more than $100.  Don’t like it?  Don’t use Craigslist.  That would prove their commitment to the welfare and proper placement of animals.  I don’t think for a second that CL will ever do it though.  They thrive on those ads.  There are more than 100 a day, just in this area alone.  Most of them are legit, free dogs and cats, or those with very low re-homing fees.  It’s the ones that are clearly sales, the ones that are clearly money-driven, that piss me off.  I report every one I see and I hope that others do the same.

If you want to sell your animal, go ahead, it’s a free country.  Just be honest about it.

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