Categories: advertising

Craigslist will never totally stop cat abusers using their listings

I’ve just been doing a bit of research to find out whether it is still possible for a cat abuser to go to the Craigslist website and find a cat to abuse. I was thinking about it because of the story of the Missouri man, Kaine Louzander, who would scour Craigslist ads for cats and then cruelly torture and kill them.

Nothing has changed it seems to me. I checked the terms of use of Craigslist and there is no mention of pets on that page and then I checked what is prohibited on Craigslist. Pet sales, animal parts, stud services are prohibited but rehoming with a small adoption fee is alright.

This policy of allowing rehoming with a small adoption fee opens the door to cat abuse. That possibility is still available. Way back in January 2014 the chief executive officer of Craigslist made a good point actually which is that rehoming of cats and dogs in classified ads is a solution, not a problem. This is because very many companion animals find good homes through Craigslist when they might otherwise be euthanised.

In that statement, the chief executive officer of Craigslist is saying that they accept the risk of cat abusers using their website to find cats to torture and kill. That’s the downside. The upside is that very many more cats are re-homed and therefore overall the Craigslist’s terms of service is beneficial to domestic cats. This is my reading of their policy.

One of the key aspects of the Craigslist website is that there are millions of users who self-monitor by notifying administrators when an advert is in breach of terms of service. This is a bit like Facebook. When websites are this large they have to rely on users to monitor the use of the website because it is impractical, indeed impossible, for employees of the website to monitor it themselves. That is of course a weakness but it’s a compromise and is the best they can do.

Other classified advert websites such as Gumtree have the same issues. For example, on the Australian version of this website there are very many cats for sale and for free. We don’t know how many of these cats find themselves in the home of a cat abuser. It’s a weakness in the system which appears to be acceptable by both website owners and the public in general. Should it be?

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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