Tuesday, March 31, 2009 NOT for your pet

I meant to write the other day, after seeing a post about a dog being given away. Today, it was an opened bag of dog food. And I felt compelled to say something.

The freecycle network is actually quite an amazing thing. It takes the trash that would otherwise find its way curbside and into landfills, into the hands of someone who considers it treasure. Got a box of non-matching glass jars? Hey, here is someone who needs them for a mosiac! In the short time I have been enrolled (have yet to actually post, but rest assured I have tons of potential treasures!) I have seen many interesting items change hands; boxes of baby clothes, office furniture, PC monitors and toys. You can post things you need, as well as what you have. The concept is essentially a positive thing.

Here is where I part ways, however. I do not believe that any animal should be included in "come get it or it's going to the curb" practice. The person giving up the dog could, of course, do a more thorough job of screening the takers but something tells me that if they equate their pet to household trash, it ain't gonna happen. So far I have seen dogs, hamsters, guinea pigs and kittens. Does anyone think that they have gone to good homes? Or care if they have been fed to snakes, or used as fighting dog bait? Nope, they are out of the house and good riddance. Now where is that high chair?

This morning, an opened bag of dog food was posted. The author said her dog did not like the food. For anyone who has been through the contaminated pet food scares, what was one of the first signs of a problem? Your pet did not want to eat the food! Additionally, even in the best of facilities there are sometimes food storage problems, and moldy bags that pass through to the consumer. Your dog will know something is up and probably decline to eat it. So, should you give it away to someone else? If that person was your friend, fed that feed and could trust that this was an issue of a fussy dog and not bad food, perhaps. But to place it on a the "free to a good home" list? I think not. I realize there are indeed folks who grab whatever bag is the cheapest week by week and will happily scavenge a half eaten bag, but I think it is a poor idea. In my opinion, NO EDIBLE items should be posted. What's next, a half eaten sandwich?

You can find chain link and dog crates and bedding at Freecycle and save oodles of cash. But please, do not seek out or place your pet through that site. I'm shouting in the wind on this, as there are now a host of sites where you can sell anything, with few limitations and no screening. This is not even delving into the possibilities of someone wanting to see you or your home or otherwise make criminal activity from your good intentions. There is common sense advice to heed when inviting strangers to your home to pick up items. And since hamsters and puppies cannot be placed at curbside for pick up, that means a person you do not know will be coming to your home. They may even ask alot of personal questions concerning how the animal was cared for, that reveals your daily activities and habits.

I do not believe that edible items or living creatures have a place being posted through Freecycle. Recycle your junk, not your pet.