Gumtree Guide to Responsible Animal Ownership
While animal sellers can be reputable individuals or breeders who treat their animals well, the ease of selling pets over the Internet also makes it attractive to careless breeders and scammers. To protect yourself you must be careful and believe only what you see, not what you are told.
When looking for an animal online or posting an advertisement for your animal, it is important to meet the breeder or seller before agreeing to anything. Since Gumtree is local to your community, this should be easy to arrange. Never adopt/buy a pet from someone who is unwilling to let you see how and where the animal is living!
If you are searching for an animal on Gumtree, here are some tips and guidelines:
- Visit the animal seller's home or business and see how they raise and care for their animals. If the seller is a breeder and will not make the parents of a puppy or kitten animal available for inspection, there may be a problem. For instance, many unethical sellers buy animals from puppy mills and similar sources but pass them off as home-raised. If you're buying or responding to a "free to good home" offer from an individual who is not a breeder, ask for as much information as possible about the animal's history in terms of source, health records, and behaviour information.
- Before you purchase a young animal, make sure you have seen the mother and check that she is in good health.
- Get references, including other customers and the seller's veterinarian. Ensure you have vet checks, vaccinations and know the status of neutering and microchipping.
- Get all health guarantees and other promises in writing. Ensure you have all information relating to the species/breed, current age, life span, gender etc.
- Pay with a credit card so you can reverse the payment if something goes wrong. Never pay a holding deposit for any animal.
- Adopt/Buy from sellers who live in your area. Long distances between buyers and sellers make it less likely that your complaints will be addressed. And transporting animals by air may put the animal's health at risk.
- Keep a copy of the original advert saved offline or printed.
If you want to advertise an animal on Gumtree, here are some tips and guidelines:
Advertise through friends, neighbours, and local veterinarians first; then try Gumtree. Your chances of finding a good home are increased when you check references with someone you know.
Visit the prospective new home in order to get a feel for the environment in which, your pet will be living. Explain that the pet is part of your family and that you want to make sure he or she will be cared for. Screen potential homes carefully.
Don't be fooled. If anyone refuses to allow you to visit their home, do not place your pet with them. Individuals known as "bunchers" routinely answer "free-to-good-home" ads, posing as people who want family pets when, in actuality, they sell pets to animal dealers. Dogfighters have also been known to obtain domestic animals for baiting through "free-to-good-home" ads. These people are "professionals" who may even bring children or their mothers with them when picking up pets.
Always be mindful of your own safety when you go to interview potential adopters or if you allow a prospective adopter to enter your home.
Carefully consider all the elements of the new home: Will your pet get along with small children? Is the family planning to keep the dog chained outside as a watch dog? Will the cat be kept only as a mouser? Does the family have a veterinary reference? Do not be shy about asking questions. Your pet's life and happiness may depend on it.
Ask for a valid form of identification (preferably a driver's license). Record the number for your records and require the new owner to sign a contract stating the requirements of adoption upon which both parties agree. As part of the contract, require the new owner to contact you if he or she decides at some point that they must give up the pet.
Have your pet neutered or spayed before he or she goes to the new home. This will make the animal more adoptable and help stop irresponsible breeding.
If your pet is chronically ill or has behavioural problems, it may be difficult to find him a suitable home. A new owner may not be willing or able to deal with these issues, and it may also be difficult for the pet to adjust to a new home. The decision to humanely euthanize such a pet should not be made without thoughtful input from a veterinarian, a behaviourist, and the family, based on how well they believe their companion would adapt to a new home.
Finding a quality home for your pet can be a difficult and time-consuming process. Remember: Your local animal shelter has a qualified staff trained to screen and counsel adopters. Relinquishing your pet to your local shelter may be the best option for you and your pet.
Preparing Your Home for a New Arrival:
Moving to a new home may be stressful to your pet. So be patient and understanding and provide lots of affection. Here are some pointers to help you settle in safely and sanely.
Cats - For the first few days in your new home, it's smart to confine your cat to one room, while you work on putting the rest of the home in order. Prepare the room with your cat's bed, litter box, food and water bowls, and toys.
Now is the perfect time to make your cat an indoor-only pet. Indoor-only cats live longer and healthier lives. Resist attempts by your cat to go outdoors. If your cat hasn't established an outdoor territory, he or she is less likely to be interested in going outside. Accessories such as window perches can ease the transition. If you play with your cat and supply lots of attention, your cat should have all he or she needs indoors.
Dogs - Ideally, your dog's introduction to his new home will be with familiar furniture already in place, including his bed and crate, toys, and food and water bowls. If you must be away from home for many hours each day, look into a pet-sitter or consider dog daycare.
Safety - Make your new home safe for all pets by being mindful of, or providing a secure place for, hazards that can...
- Avoid sellers located outside your local Gumtree city or country. Never send money outside South Africa no matter where the seller says the animal is located.
- Poison - such as cleansers, insect sprays and pesticides, medications, chocolate, certain plants, and antifreeze (ethylene glycol)
- Burn - such as plugged-in appliances, boiling liquids, open flames
- Electrocute - such as worn lamp cords
- Strangle, choke, or obstruct breathing - such as choke collars, small balls, sewing thread and needles, pantyhose, and bones
- Topple or Crush - such as precariously placed appliances, top-heavy filing cabinets, and lamps
As soon as possible, choose a veterinarian and take a practice drive to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic. Trying to find it when you really need it can waste precious time. Also, learn basic pet first aid.
Dog Care Essentials
Your dog gives you a lifetime of unconditional love, loyalty, and friendship. In return, she counts on you to provide her with food, water, safe shelter, regular veterinary care, exercise, companionship, and more. Take care of these ten essentials, and you'll be guaranteed to develop a rewarding relationship with your canine companion.
- Allow Escape or Theft - such as loose screens and inadequate fences. Never leave your pet unattended on a balcony or chained in a yard.
- Outfit your dog with a collar and ID tag that includes your name, address, and telephone number. No matter how careful you are there's a chance your companion may become lost - an ID tag greatly increases the chance that your pet will be returned home safely. Alternatively, consider microchipping your dog to increase the chances that your pet is returned home safely in the scenario that they should get lost.
- Follow local laws for licensing your dog and vaccinating him for rabies. Check with your local animal shelter or humane society for information regarding legal requirements, where to obtain tags, and where to have your pet vaccinated.
- Follow this simple rule - off property, on leash. Even a dog with a valid license, rabies tag, and ID tag should not be allowed to roam outside of your home or fenced yard. It is best for you, your community, and your dog to keep your pet under control at all times.
- Give your dog proper shelter. A fenced yard with a doghouse is a bonus, especially for large and active dogs; however, dogs should never be left outside alone or for extended periods of time. Dogs need and crave companionship and should spend most of their time inside with their family.
- Take your dog to the veterinarian for regular check-ups. If you do not have a veterinarian, ask your local animal shelter or a pet-owning friend for a referral.
- Spay or neuter your dog. Dogs that have this routine surgery tend to live longer, be healthier, and have fewer behaviour problems (e.g., biting, running away). By spaying or neutering your dog, you are also doing your part to reduce the problem of pet overpopulation.
- Give your dog a nutritionally balanced diet, including constant access to freshwater. Ask your veterinarian for advice on what and how often to feed your pet.
- Enroll your dog in a training class. Positive training will allow you to control your companion's behaviour safely and humanely, and the experience offers a terrific opportunity to enhance the bond you share with your dog.
- Give your dog enough exercise to keep him physically fit (but not exhausted). Most dog owners find that playing with their canine companion, along with walking him twice a day, provides sufficient exercise. If you have questions about the level of exercise appropriate for your dog, consult your veterinarian.
Cat Care Essentials
Although your cat may act independent and be litter-trained, he still counts on you to provide him with food, water, safe shelter, regular veterinary care, companionship, and more. Take care of these ten essentials, and you'll be guaranteed to develop a rewarding relationship with your feline companion.
- Be loyal to and patient with your faithful companion. Make sure the expectations you have of your dog are reasonable and remember that the vast majority of behavioural problems can be solved. If you are struggling with your pet's behaviour, contact your veterinarian or local animal shelter for advice.
- Outfit your cat with a collar and ID tag that includes your name, address, and telephone number. No matter how careful you are there's a chance your companion may become lost - an ID tag greatly increases the chance that your cat will be returned home safely. Alternatively, consider microchipping your cat to improve the chances that your pet is returned home safely in the scenario that they should get lost.
- Follow local cat registration laws. Licensing, a registration and identification system administered by some local governments protects both cats and people in the community.
- Keep your cat indoors. Keeping your cat safely confined at all times is best for you, your pet, and your community.
- Take your cat to the veterinarian for regular check-ups. If you do not have a veterinarian, ask your local animal shelter or a pet-owning friend for a referral.
- Spay or neuter your pet. This will keep her healthier and will reduce the problem of cat overpopulation.
- Give your cat a nutritionally balanced diet, including constant access to fresh water. Ask your veterinarian for advice on what and how often to feed your pet.
- Train your cat to refrain from undesirable behaviours such as scratching furniture and jumping on countertops. Contrary to popular belief, cats can be trained with a bit of patience, effort, and understanding on your part.
- Groom your cat often to keep her coat healthy, soft, and shiny. Although it is especially important to brush long-haired cats to prevent their hair from matting, even short-haired felines need to be groomed to remove as much loose hair as possible. When cats groom themselves, they ingest a great deal of hair, which often leads to hairballs.
- Set aside time to play with your cat. While cats do not need the same level of exercise that dogs do, enjoying regular play sessions with your pet will provide him with the physical exercise and mental stimulation he needs, as well as strengthen the bond you share.
- Be loyal to and patient with your cat. Make sure the expectations you have of your companion are reasonable and remember that the vast majority of behavioural problems can be solved. If you are struggling with your pet's behaviour, contact your veterinarian or local animal shelter for advice.