While posting a link to a petition to stop eBay classifieds from selling live animals, I received the following question from Anastasia at Dark Moon Farms:
We are having problems finding homes for our puppies because our ads get flagged off of Craigslist...how does someone like us find good homes if we are not allowed to use the Internet? We are not a business or a breeder or a rescue, we were asked to raise this litter when no one else could. They aren't pedigreed, they aren't shelter dogs, and they deserve good homes (in spite of some pit bull haters). What IS the appropriate venue to get in contact with potential loving homes?
The women at Dark Moon Farms are an amazing bunch of HUGE hearted, intelligent, compassionate ladies who have an amazing natural ability for working with animals (dogs, cats, horses, etc…). We’ve visited their ranch in Parhump, NV on many occasions and have been impressed with everything we’ve seen there. You can visit their site at http://darkmoonfarms.com/.
The problem with the Internet is that too many unscrupulous individuals have discovered it as a way to make money, find bait dogs, find fighting dogs, or simply get a pet when they would never pass a home inspection from a legitimate breeder or group. Those are the people who get “cute” puppies, love them for a few months and then decide they’re no longer “cute”; they have behavior problems (lack of training) or just delegate them to the backyard for the rest of their lives. More than 50% of dogs like this will end up back in shelters as unadaptable adults and, well… you know what happens next. The following article from the Humane Society of the United States lists just a few of the dozens of problems with buying/selling pets on-line: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/facts/internet_pet_scams.html.
While Dark Moon Farms does not fall into any of these categories, there are so many horror stories out there that shelters, rescue groups and even independent rescuers have learned to trust no one. Many of these groups have people who devote their time to nothing more than scanning forums like Craigslist, Ebay and local papers to flag and work to remove posts from any source that tries to “move” live animals over the Internet. It may seem counterproductive to the Mission of these organizations, but again, it’s with these groups that those animals will end up as adults, greatly decreasing their chance for ever finding a forever home. So, what can you do?
My first suggestion would be to start with Best Friends Animal Society. They have began a wonderful Independent Rescuer program called the First Home Forever Home program. It was designed specifically to help independent rescuers. It “provides support to those heroic individuals who are saving the lives of pets by keeping them (or taking them) out of the already crowded shelters and caring for them until a new, forever family can be found. The program provides an adoption event where rescuers can connect with prospective adopters. It also provides assistance with publicity, adoption procedures and paperwork. The “Creating an Adoption Program to Help Independent Rescuers” action kit is designed to help rescue groups, shelters or any other interested organization help independent rescuers find homes for animals in their own communities and thereby reduce surrender rates, shelter overcrowding and the killing of homeless pets. The action kit provides valuable information on how to create a program to help independent rescuers, and includes tips on how to find venues for adoption events, how to conduct adoption events, how to get the word out to rescuers and the public, how to prepare and qualify rescuers, how to recruit volunteers, how to enlist dog trainers and much more".
The fact that Best Friends is so close to the Las Vegas/Parhump area doesn't hurt. There are events being hosted here on a regular basis and, especially since your dogs are still puppies, finding a home at one of these events is almost guaranteed.
I would also contact the rescue groups in your area. Fortunately, Las Vegas has a comprehensive forum which can be found at http://www.vegasanimal411.com/. This site is overseen by Jocelyn, who has made keeping and improving this site her full time mission. She is also the moderator of the Vegas Animal Rescue Yahoo! group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/VegasAnimalRescue/. This is an excellent group designed specifically to help independent rescuers in the Vegas area. If you haven't done so already, JOIN THIS GROUP! It's an invaluable community resource that successfully places animals on a daily basis.
For those not in the Las Vegas area, each community has similar resources. They are almost always registered with each shelter so that they can pull at-risk dogs for independent foster and placement. Contact your local shelters as they will have information on all the groups in your area.
Finally, if you are in an area with none of these resources, contact the Humane Society of the United States. Almost every state has a State Director. One of the directors main objectives is to help organize grassroots groups and movements in their state. HSUS recognizes that individuals and small organizations are THE backbone of the animal welfare movement and will assist you in a variety of ways you never imagined.
Personally, I want to thank Dark Moon Farms and every independent rescuer out there. Even if it's just one life you save, that's one less death in our country's shameful euthanasia rate of one otherwise healthy animal EVERY 9 SECONDS.