1 – Ask a Lot of Questions
Before you welcome a pet into your home, you need to know what you are getting into. Ask questions about the dog’s health, shot records, place of origin (did it come from a breeder?), and anything else you want to know. If the dog has health problems, ask about the short term and long term treatment required. Also be aware that some people may be selling dogs that are not their own, so try to make sure this is a legitimate owner. Then you can determine if it is too much to handle.
2 – Meet at a Neutral Place
As with any Craigslist transaction, you should try to find a neutral place to meet up with the current owner. Walmart parking lots and parks are great options. The more public they are, the better. If you are visiting a local shelter, just make sure it is in a safe location. Your safety matters more than everything else.
3 – Check the Price First
A lot of people will list their dogs in the pet section on Craigslist, separate from the sales ads. Because of this, they may indicate that there is a “rehoming fee,” but not indicate how high it is. Check this ahead of time so the sellers don’t try to overcharge you.
4 – Read the Ad Carefully
There are a lot of scammers online who will try to steal your money, your valuables, or your identity with a transaction through Craigslist. That is why it is so important to meet in a public place. In addition to that though, you should read the ad carefully to watch for signs of scams. This most often happens with high-dollar breeds that are hard to find. If the person immediately asks for a deposit for the dog or a credit card to hold it for you, you might want to look for something else.
5 – Go See the Dog in Person
Whatever you do, never pay for a dog to be shipped through Craigslist. Ideally, you should always go pick up a pet you plan to adopt so you can meet it and make sure your personalities mesh. In the rare case that shipping is necessary though, it should be done through a licensed breeder or shelter that knows how to properly prepare a dog for flight.