Facebook trend could put pets at risk

Posted: 10:24 AM, Jul 18, 2016
Updated: 2016-07-18 10:24:32-04

You'll find pets for sale all over the internet. Groups on Facebook dedicated just to buying and selling pets are pretty popular.

Whether it is kittens for free or low prices on puppies, the deals are enticing. A lot of people will use social media after a pet has a litter the owner just can't care for.

"It can be very convenient, it can be a great thing," says Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter Director John Dinon, "but when you are dealing with something like a live animal, there are so many unknowns."

That's why animal experts want you to be cautious. Dinon says one of the big red flags has to do with where you meet the seller.

"If you are talk to someone and they say 'Okay, I will meet you in the you know the mall parking lot, and we can make the exchange,' that's a red flag," says Dinon.

Plus, unless you visit and do your research, it's hard to know if the animal you are taking home is healthy.

"If they won't show you vet records or even tell you who their veterinarian is so that you can talk to them," he says, "those are all red flags."

Dinon says until recently, if puppy mills were selling online, sellers didn't have to be licensed under the Animal Welfare Act.

"That loop hole was closed, but the practice has become very common," he says.

If you turn to the web to find homes for a litter of kittens for example, use the same caution.

"You have an obligation," says Dinon.

If you decide to post an ad on Facebook, remember the social media site says in its help section that it isn't responsible for things sold online.

So before you fall in love with a furry face online, it pays to do your homework.

You have other options. You can surrender animals at the Ingham County Animal Shelter. There is a surrender fee.

If you are looking for a specific breed, try checking a shelter website everyday or get in contact with a specific breed rescue group.

Never forget the golden rule, spay and neuter your pets.