Zach Allen, the South Salt Lake Animal Services control officer, petting a dog at the shelter on April 5. The KSL Classifieds team is working to improve its pet division with changes designed to better protect future furry friends through initiatives that crack down on irresponsible breeders and sellers. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
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SALT LAKE CITY — KSL Classifieds is a useful tool for people looking to sell items they no longer use or need, as well as those looking to score something they’ve got their eye on. However, the game changes when pets are sold.
Rather than an old sofa or a used vehicle, these are real living, breathing creatures.
The KSL Classifieds team said it realized there was significant room for improvement, and is doing so by making changes to the pets section to better protect future furry friends through initiatives that crack down on irresponsible breeders and sellers.
“The traditional KSL Classifieds model encouraged backyard breeding and allowed puppy racers (individuals who import puppy mill dogs from other states to sell for a profit in Utah) to operate unabated,” said Guinnevere Shuster, associate director of marketing and communications for the Utah Humane Society. “We received dozens of complaints every month about individuals being scammed by false listings or selling very sick pets requiring thousands of dollars in veterinary care. Because the listings were anonymized, there is no recourse for the human or animal victims in these situations. “
One of the most substantial changes that KSL Classifieds will make is a $15 listing fee for all dog lists beginning in late 2022. By adding the fee to all dog lists, KSL Classifieds encourages the user who creates the list to have a more vested interest. in the welfare of the animal and where it eventually ends up.
The fee is specific to dogs, because that’s where KSL Classifieds saw the most activity in the pets section and therefore the most suspicious activity.
In addition, the placement costs will reduce the number of repeated or irrelevant offers to help KSL Classifieds users find dogs effectively and in turn help more dogs find safe and loving homes.
“Charging pet listings and setting a cap on a pet will hopefully help weed out some of the really bad actors who use KSL Classifieds as a way to get around regulations and defraud individuals selling a pet to their families.” want to add,” Shuster said.
Payments for the listing fee can be made by credit card when creating a listing. As with other ads, a dog ad has a fixed expiration date. Sellers must create a new listing if they want to keep their dog visible on KSL Classifieds after the listing expiration date, in which case they’ll pay a new $15 fee.
In revamping the pet division, KSL Classifieds enlisted the help and expertise of those who fight for animal welfare every day: the Utah Humane Society and Best Friends Animal Society.
According to Best Friends Animal Society, about 355,000 animals were killed in shelters in 2021, an increase from the number killed in 2020.
“As long as healthy and treatable pets lose their lives simply because they don’t have a safe place to call home, we encourage anyone looking to adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue group,” said Elizabeth Oreck, national manager of puppy mill initiatives for Best Friends Animal Society.
“We appreciate KSL Classifieds’ changes to their site and applaud their commitment to making their pet advertising safer and more responsible for pets and consumers, supporting the adoption of homeless pets, and providing educational resources so that anyone seeking going to a pet can make the best informed decision possible,” Oreck said.
In addition to enlisting the help of animal welfare organizations, KSL Classifieds donates a portion of every dog list to local shelters and animal rights groups, such as Best Friends Animal Society and the Utah Humane Society.
“It has been an eye opener as we have worked with opinion leaders on changes to make our pets section safer for the animals, buyers and sellers on our platform. I am passionate about educating our public about these issues and sincerely hope that we can positively impact the pet community with our new site and policy changes,” said Tiffany Rhodes, senior marketing manager for KSL Classifieds.
For more resources and information about the work KSL Classifieds is doing to improve animal welfare, click here.
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