Looking for an explanation behind the steep "rehoming fee's" for adopting pets.
February 12, 2008 2:37 PM   Subscribe

Looking for an explanation behind the steep "rehoming fee's" for adopting pets.

Can anyone explain the reasoning behind the "rehoming fee" when adopting animals. This seems to be extremely popular on craigslist. I understand covering the cost of younger animals, and would not mind paying $25-$50. But many of these people want 200-300+ for puppies that have not even been spayed/neutered or given all of their shots.

Additionaly, it appears that some of the people doing this may be doign this as a business. Adopting pets from the shelters, and turning around and selling them for a couple hundred in "rehoming fees".

Anytime anyone tries to ask this kind of question on craigslist, it is quickly flagged for removal, making me further believe something unethical is going on.
posted by ShootTheMoon to Pets & Animals (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
One way might be to contact the people placing the ads.
posted by rhizome at 2:43 PM on February 12, 2008

One argument might be that by charging a higher fee you are weeding out people who aren't serious about becoming a pet owner. It costs money to have a pet - just routine supplies and vet care are one thing, but emergency medical treatment can run into the thousands. If they can come up with $200 just to adopt the animal, it might be an indication that they can afford related expenses. Perhaps someone willing to spend $200 to bring a pet home is also less likely to mistreat the animal or acquire it for some malicious reason?

If the animal is being rehomed from some kind of organization I'm sure they also incur more expenses than they ever make up for in fees - but they probably do need to offset their costs for food, transportation, advertising efforts, etc.
posted by handful of rain at 2:43 PM on February 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

I am not an expert, but my opinion is that you cannot sell an animal on craigslist. A lot of breeders now cannot sell their pets there. I think the rehoming fee is just their way of "selling" the animal without actually "selling" it - as in "I have a dog for sale. He's $250.00." Now, it's "Precious pooch to good home. Small rehoming fee of $250.00."
posted by Sassyfras at 2:44 PM on February 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think it's because you can't sell animals on craigslist. It's a euphemism.
posted by pieoverdone at 2:44 PM on February 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

If spaying and shots aren't covered, it's definitely a way to sell a pet without using the word "sell."

One rescue I know does charge $200 for puppies, but that includes all shots, spaying/neutering, and beginning supplies (food, leash, loaner crate, etc.)
posted by Mr Bunnsy at 2:51 PM on February 12, 2008

While I personally wouldn't pick up an animal listed this way on Craigslist, there's the slight chance that they're charging a fee to keep away people searching for animal testing subjects.
posted by drezdn at 2:56 PM on February 12, 2008

Pieoverdone is correct -- it's a shady way for them to sell their pets on Craigslist.
posted by srrh at 3:04 PM on February 12, 2008

I should add...I've never tried to adopt an animal advertised on Craiglist, but I am aware of legitimate animal rescue organizations that charge significant adoption fees. It sounds like that's not the case here, so I'm sorry for jumping in :)
posted by handful of rain at 3:13 PM on February 12, 2008

Seconding Sassyfras. A few years ago, craigslist.org decided to (or was pressured to) eliminate their Pets classifieds. Ever since then, people with puppies/kittens they want to sell will reword their ads to make it sound like the sales fee is a rehoming fee for a shelter pet. As for the quick disappearance of these ads, there's a small but vociferous contingent of the craigslist pet forums who will post topics about suspect ads and urge other forum members to flag the ad for removal. This is a fairly typical exchange between someone who wants to sell puppies and some of the pets forum members.
posted by jamaro at 3:18 PM on February 12, 2008

sometimes rehoming fee goes to a charity for animals or other good cause

or at least they say it does
posted by Salvatorparadise at 3:20 PM on February 12, 2008

I've done a lot of animal rescue work, and we have occasionally listed animals up for adoption on Craigslist. However, we always state it as an adoption fee, and what it covers ( shots, spay/neuter etc). I have no specific information on this, but I would probably agree with the consensus that a "rehoming fee" is likely a way to get around craigslist rules.

If you're looking for a pet, your first point of call should be the local shelter, then any rescue groups, then any specific breed rescue groups. You'd be surprised at how may pure breed dogs are up for adoption for less than most breeders will charge...
posted by baggers at 3:20 PM on February 12, 2008

Legitimate adoption fees are to ensure that the animal is going to a reasonable person who won't abuse it and can afford to take care of it. This is especially necessary for smaller animals such as rabbits who many would take for free to feed to their snake. These "fees" are NOT for profit in the least. Anything over $100 should DEFINITELY be flagged as someone looking to make money off of a poor animal.

Please listen to baggers and check with your local animal shelter if you want a pet.
posted by pinksoftsoap at 4:23 PM on February 12, 2008

It's a euphemism, I think. I'd also be concerned that "rehoming fee" meant that you'd only received the service and not ownership of your pet. This might open the door for a "rescue".
posted by acoutu at 5:06 PM on February 12, 2008

I recently adopted a dog from craigslist that cost me $200. In this case, he is a 3 year old dog of an exceptionally rare breed, with training, shots, and a chip. I adopted him from a professional trainer who was very very upset to be getting rid of his dog, and was very very closely screening people interested in his dog. In this case, the $200 was to prevent those "aww cute dog I want it" people from sending him an email so he could avoid screening him. He told me (and I believe him) that the $200 would be used to help pay off a credit card with dog expenses on it. I have since maintained a relationship with the previous owner, and I think it's an excellent way to go about it.

ALSO, If I posted an ad that said "FREE FREEZER U PICK UP" and one that said "Freezer, works great, $50, pick up at your leisure", nobody would contact me for the free one. For reals, I've experimented with this personally and with my retail location. "Free Kittens to good home" go a lot slower than "Beautiful tabby kittens, $50 with first shots!"
posted by TomMelee at 5:38 PM on February 12, 2008

My kitten-rescuer friend charges AU$60 as a rehoming fee, last I checked. This is to cover costs of desexing, vaccinations, some of the money she has spent on the kitten's food, and to discourage idiots. She gets a lot of donations, and knows a vet who gives her a steep discount on desexing and vaccinations (basically gives them at cost). She isn't in it to make a profit out of it; in fact this price represents a small loss, at least as far as the individual transaction is concerned. (The organization also gets some funding and donations, and doing this is her Mission In Life, so on the whole it works out OK from her point of view.)

The economics of it will vary, but I'd say re-homing fees could approach a hundred bucks, maybe a bit more, before they necessarily represented a personal profit. But that kitten had better be desexed and vaccinated, and come with at least a small bag of food.

The policy as it stands seems pretty stupid. Either ban pet ads entirely, or require people to sell pets vaccinated and desexed.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:39 PM on February 12, 2008

Doh crap, for proof I meant to insert pic links. These are cruddy ones, but when was the last time you saw an Epagneul Bleu de Picardie?
posted by TomMelee at 5:42 PM on February 12, 2008

I have read that animal brokers (who provide animals for medical testing) will pose as people looking for pets and will take animals who are advertised as "free to good home." They take them and sell them to institutions that need animals to experiment on.

I've read numerous warnings never to advertise "free to good home" for this reason.

Because the "rehoming fee" is probably more than the brokers are being paid per animal, it would weed out the animal brokers.
posted by jayder at 5:56 PM on February 12, 2008

This is heavily region-dependent as well. Perhaps not relevant in California, but in MA, $200 is about average for an adoption fee and I've seen more than a few shelters charging $350. According to the shelter-workers we talked to, there are just more loving homes for dogs than there are shelter dogs to go around here. The money goes towards spaying/neutering the dogs, bringing in more pups from high kill shelters down south, and expensive medical bills for animals that might have been put down. Almost every shelter has strict rules about families and homes (mandatory home visits! minimum fence heights! no homes with kids! at least one person home at all times!) -- they can afford to be picky when demand is so much higher than supply. A few times, we found shelters with every dog already adopted or waiting lists 7 families long for a single adult pup.

If the ads you're seeing are folks shipping in dogs from high-kill shelters in other states or Mexico, I can easily see expenses reaching $200.
posted by Gable Oak at 10:02 PM on February 12, 2008

Oh Gable Oak, it must be nice to live in an animal-friendly place like MA. CA is like that too (at least NorCal). Here in Louisiana, most shelters charge about $70. I can see how somewhere else could charge $200 or more (hey, it's basic economics), but I think on Craigslist it's mostly a scam as mentioned above.
posted by radioamy at 12:43 PM on February 13, 2008

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