Mali is a 3year old Shih tzu

Springer Spaniel puppies Free to good home

“Free to a good home? You might as well kill her yourself.” These were the caustic and accusatory words typed by an anonymous stranger under a recent web posting from a family trying to find a new home for their dog. Is “Free to a Good Home” really as bad as the scare tactics would lead you to believe? If you see graphic photos of injured pets all over your local posted by activists, you might think so. But in reality, finding a new home for a pet who you do not want or cannot keep is not a death sentence and it can be done safely, with or without a fee.

I know about horror stories like Puppy Doe, which activists continue to cite, in spite of the fact her case is not applicable to the “Free to a good home” argument. Initial news reports said that Puppy Doe’s original owner paid $200 to buy her from a classified site. She then found the dog another home when breed discrimination left her unable to find housing that would accept the Pit Bull mix. That person could not keep the dog and sold her again, this time for $40 to the subhuman who would become her . At no point was Puppy Doe “free to a good home.” Fees alone did not keep this dog safe. And fear-mongering people with misinformation is not helping humans or pets. If someone has a pet they don’t want, I am all for helping them safely transfer that pet to someone who does.

I might now ask those of you older than, say, 45 to think about where you got your pets from as a child. Earlier generations were largely unaware of the importance of spay and neuter, and “free to a good home” was a pretty typical way to obtain a pet. I can say that my family, before I grew up and understood the concept of pet overpopulation myself, were on both the giving and receiving ends of free pets. We gave kittens to neighbors and took in few strays — both cat and dog, none of which ended up tortured.

Times have changed, of course, and whether or not animal abuse was as prevalent then as it is now, we are, at the very least, more aware of it due to the Internet. But there may be a situation in which you cannot, or simply do not want to keep your pet, or perhaps you have found a stray you would like to place in a home, rather than bring it into a shelter.

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