'Free' pets often abused by new owners

August 03, 2003

Dear Editor:

I was distressed at the number of "free pets to good homes" ads in the paper lately, and just had to write to let people know what happens to many of the pets obtained through such ads. Much too frequently, the humane societies and other animal rescue organizations are called in to rescue former "free to good home" pets - if the pets are lucky.

There are very good reasons that Animal Rescue, the Humane Society, and Animal Control all charge an adoption fee for their animals. These small fees in no way begin to cover the cost incurred for medical treatment and upkeep of the pets they adopt out.

Did you know:

* People value what they pay for. Pets obtained for free are more likely to be abused and/or discarded, because "there are plenty more where that came from!"


* So-called "bunchers" gather free pets until they have enough to make a trip to a lab worthwhile, then sell them for $25 a head for experimentation!

* Free animals are taken to "blood" pit-bulls - to train fighting dogs how to kill, and to enjoy it!

* According to one Humane Society, free kittens are being taken to new "good homes" in some areas - as dinner for a pet snake!

* So-called "collectors," like the woman in Michigan who recently left dozens of cats to die in her locked house, watch the newspapers for "free to good home" animals. These collectors truly believe they are "rescuing" the animals!

Some people answering the "free to good home" ads really are loving, responsible pet owners. Many, perhaps even most, are not. Please don't advertise free pets; charge at least $50 to discourage sale to research labs. Please take the time to interview each and every prospective owner; the Humane Society or any rescue organization can help you with what types of questions to ask. And please have the mama spayed as soon as the kittens or puppies are weaned!

Monica Hogue


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