In four years, some things have changed … but some are sadly still the same

Around here, everyone loves spring and fall pickup!  No need for a special ‘freecycling’ day when we already have the time-honored tradition of ready pickings twice a year.

For some, it is a livelihood.  Items that can be refurbished are scooped up and will wind up on Kijiji.   For others, it is a hobby … where the thrill of the hunt can sometimes override common sense!  I have seen neatly rolled bits of broken hose and couch cushions the cat peed on vanish overnight!

Whether we go out of our way or simply slow down to see if there is anything interesting …. there has never been any stigma about helping oneself to any or all treasures to be had.  Over the years, I have scooped up some incredibly useful bits.   Discarded carpet underlay (to cushion the pond liner) / tomato cages / toddler beds / yard ornaments / etc!   Today I was tickled pink to scoop up the very same bookcase I was going to buy!

It should be no surprise that country folk are no strangers to what the city people now refer to as repurposing.  It may be hard to imagine in today’s technological world  …. but contemporaries from my mother’s generation can remember a time when folks never went further than five miles from home.   So people weren’t packrats when they saved things … they were simply sensible enough to keep anything useful.

Now does this mean that I have changed my opinion about the suitability of advertising pets on the free online ad sites?  Of course not!   If that bookshelf that I picked up on the way home this morning turned out to be missing a screw … I could simply put it back out by mailbox for pickup.    If the person who picked up the leaky hose or cat scented couch cushions came to grief when he brought them home …. well he could do the same thing himself!

No harm .. no foul, eh?   Sadly the same cannot be said for the unfortunate pets that are listed on the site.   ( And before the keyboards catch on fire, I am not actually lumping the petfinder adoptables in there as they are still protected by the rescue screening process.   The testy topic of how these petfinder listings lend legitimacy to all the unsavoury puppy brokers is a separate subject that has been … and will be again I am sure … discussed in this blog)

Why do I think listing pets on the free online ad sites is a bad idea?  For the benefit of anyone in the word press world who has stumbled in for the first time, here is the short list:

  • The no questions asked, just show me the money honey approach appeals to all the rookies and inexperienced folks who should be the seeking the sensible advice of good breeders and/ or experienced rescuers
  • The curb side guarantee offers absolutely no consumer protection for the consequences of bringing a living breathing sentient being into one’s home.   When a ‘thing’ doesn’t work out , it can be pushed to the curb. There is a whole world of heartache waiting for those kind hearts who brought home a pet with health or behavior issues that were somehow not mentioned by the seller.
  • The anonymity of the free online ads provides a very thin veneer of respectability for unsavoury puppy brokers like the Benoits … whom I might add are still hard at work exploiting the very natural desire for a pet.
  • Last but definitely not least, it provides an easy venue for the back yard breeders who are unwilling to invest in the genetic screening and tests to maintain breed standards ….. and are therefore unable to offer the same sort of health guarantee that the reputable breeders can.   ( the very sticky subject of where the dividing line lays between back yard breeders and commercial breeders producing large quantities of CKC registered ‘product’ is another topic needing its own post on another day 😦

Today the homeless pet site is celebrating its fourth birthday!   For four years, I have watched rescuers cleaning up after the free online ad sites.   The ‘free to a good home’s.  The ‘purebreads produced for profit by persons whose spelling skills are matched by their breeding expertise.  The unsocialized and unhealthy pets pawned off on the unsuspecting who still expect all the ‘bad guys’ to have scarlet letters stamped on their forehead.

Four years I have been nattering on like a stuck record about the traffic of living pets in the free online ad sites!  Why do I still bother?  Why not save my breath to cool my porridge?

The answer should be obvious … the fact that change is not immediate does not mean that change is not possible.  Four years ago, who would have imagined that the society would have a strategic plan to get to No Kill?   That big pet store chains would stop selling puppies and kittens?

How did that happen?  When public opinion changes, the organizations that serve and those that provide services for sale have to keep pace in order to stay afloat.  Straight, sweet and simple.

What time is it?   It is way past time for legislation to ban the traffic of living breathing sentient beings on the free online ad sites.   In a pre-election world where the NDP bobsled team has found new enthusiasm for pleasing the electorate, this is a very good time to contact your MLA and ask him or her to lend the strength of their voice on the subject in the House.

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer. ~Albert Einstein

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