Craigslist dog ad sparks public outrage, disappointment

UPDATE: The Hawaiian Humane Society announced Wednesday that the 10-year-old Jack Russell Terrier was returned and successfully placed with another family.

The Hawaiian Humane Society said it’s disappointed by a Craiglist ad to sell an adopted dog.

The society posted a photo on its Facebook page after Sally Mae, a 10-year-old Jack Russell, was adopted on Sunday. One hour later, an ad was posted on Craigslist offering to sell the dog for more than double what was paid in adoption fees.

The ad claimed the owner and her boyfriend were busy working two jobs and unable to take care of the dog. The ad asked for a $200 “rehoming” fee or best offer.

“It’s really disappointing to think that animals are really seen as a commodity versus your loving pet that’s part of your family so that’s really hard for us,” said Christina Kam, Hawaiian Humane Society’s communications and event coordinator.

Kam said she’s been trying to contact the person who adopted Sally Mae to find out if she is actually trying to sell the dog for a profit or just isn’t able to take care of her.

Kam said there is nothing the humane society can do to stop her at this point. “We’re just really imploring her to come and return Sally to us so we can just get here to a new home. She does have a medical condition,” she said.

The ad is already sparking public outrage on Craigslist and social media.

Humane officials say the act isn’t illegal. Adopters sign a contract with the Humane Society, but there’s nothing in there that stops potential owners from selling an adopted dog.

But officials still consider the act immoral and, while it’s a growing problem on the mainland, this is the first case that they know of here in Hawaii.

The Hawaiian Humane Society is now considering changing the adoption policy to prohibit resale after adoption, though officials admit, the restriction would be difficult to enforce.

The society says it would make more people aware that it’s just wrong, but a law prohibiting it would add more teeth.

“It’s going to take a lot of advocacy work, sharing people that this does happen, to keep your eye out on Craigslist and where you’re getting your animals,” Kam said.

However, Sally Mae’s owner could be violating another law by incorrectly stating that the dog is five years old. The society says Sally Mae is actually 10 years old.

KHON2 spoke to the owner on the phone. She calls the situation a misunderstanding and says she still wants to find another owner for the dog.

She told KHON2 the $200 price reflects what she already spent on the dog and she would be willing to give the dog away for free.

She said she is afraid to return Sally Mae to the Humane Society in case the dog is euthanized.

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