Misguided activism for “Puppy Doe”

Kiya, also called “Puppy Doe,” was transferred to another owner via Craigslist; the Pit Bull was later found beaten, apparently left for dead, and had to be euthanized.

The crimes committed against Kiya (or “Puppy Doe”) were beyond inhumane — they were downright evil.

The puppy was found in Massachusetts on Aug. 31, suffering from irreparable injuries caused by long-term, systematic torture. Ultimately, the Pit Bull mix had to be euthanized when veterinarians determined she could not live a pain-free life. It was soon discovered her owner was forced to find her a new home when their landlord refused to permit the dog to live in the house, due to her concerns about Kiya’s breed appearance. This, in itself is tragic, but the suffering that followed was downright heartbreaking.

After seeing photos of the puppy’s pleading eyes, activists sprang to action, creating more than a dozen different online petitions for justice.

Are they calling for stricter penalties for perpetrators of animal abuse?

No.

Are they calling for changes in laws to prevent breed discrimination by landlords?

No.

Are they pushing for microchipping laws that would require a formal transfer of ownership process when an animal is bought or sold?

No.

So, what are the petitions with more than 100,000 signatures calling for? That the free classified page Craigslist.org, be shut down.

Kiya exchanged hands four times over the course of several months with the assistance of the page, and some are claiming, if the website didn’t exist, then Kiya never would have fallen into the hands of her abuser. I cannot comprehend the amount of naïveté that it must take for 100,000 people to believe such a backwards concept.

There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of pet-search websites out there — for free pets, for breeders, for shelters, and for puppy mills. To say that any one advertising venue is responsible for facilitating animal torture is absurd. The only person truly responsible for the crimes against Kiya is the savage who committed those crimes. Craigslist strongly discourages giving pets away for free on their site, and hosts thousands of ads each month at no charge, for those looking to find new homes for their pets and for shelter animals. (Selling and breeding of animals is not permitted).

It may not be popular to say out loud, but is it unconscionable to find a new home for your pet if you cannot adequately care for it? And if you want to find your pet a home yourself, rather than surrender it to a shelter, where it may be euthanized or spend months, or years, in a cage, is that so wrong?

Rather than demonize a classified page, why not focus on the real problems here:

  1. Kiya had a loving owner who was unable to keep her due to insurance breed discrimination.
  2. Four million animals are euthanized in American shelters each year; closing down a venue for shelters and pet owners alike to try to find homes for these animals will only result in more euthanasia.
  3. Penalties for even the most vicious animal torture acts in Massachusetts only carry a sentence of a maximum of five years.

All of these issues are addressable, but armchair activism focusing on a classified page will not bring justice. Nothing can bring Kiya back, but focusing on keeping pets in their families, educating those rehoming pets on the value of a good screening process, and fighting for stronger animal cruelty laws will take us one step closer to a day when tragedies like hers do not occur.