Puppies as Snake Food? The Horror of Giving Animals Away for Free

Dogs in a box
Dogs in a box | Source

I've recently stumbled upon an interesting hub, entitled Wal-mart puppies, that personally surprised me. I did not know that giving puppies away for free at major store locations was a typical practice. I was aware that such unfortunate situations of re-homing animals in an irresponsible manner occurs, heck, I've grown up watching depictions in popular animated films such as Oliver and Company.

However, I was taken aback by the apparent attitudes of people who choose to adopt these animals. I figured the 'free puppy boxes' were largely considered to be an outdated and unethical means of finding homes for unwanted litters, but the article in question listed this as one way to obtain a new furred companion.

I'd like to address this matter briefly, as I believe these giveaways are one of the worst things you can do for any pet, and borders on an animal equivalent to child neglect.

Not even fish should be sold here (they are)

Spontaneous dog buying

Walmart Shopping List: Chips, Tent poles, a New Dog, Sponges...

One common argument detractors of keeping 'exotic' pets frequently use to paint pet keeping as unethical is the suggestion that these special-needs animals will inevitably end up in abusive situations, whether it is with a neglectful owner who spontaneously buys something without knowing what they are getting themselves into, or the owner who ignores proper husbandry standards.

I made the assessment that the true problem with pets of any kind is their availability to be purchased for relatively small amounts of money in convenience pet stores. True 'pet people' typically don't buy such animals because they are knowledgeable about the improper environments where these animals come from and the poor breeding standards that conceived them. Exotic pets are being peddled to the ignorant masses, and it's a safe assumption that most of these special needs animals end up in less than ideal situations. I feel that this is the root of the problem with exotics.

Dogs being given away for the price of $0.00? I think anyone with reasonable levels of foresight can see how this is a problem. While I certainly feel that people should have the right to do what they want with their 'property', as yes, pets indeed are, being in the business of creating or distributing living things to new homes should have a basic ethical standard involving interest where the animal ends up, one that is not at all being met with handing an animal to any person with a pulse in a parking lot. With this going on, do non-domesticated animals still have it so much better?


Free puppies are at a High Risk of becoming Victims of Animal Cruelty

What proponents of 'free puppies' do not want to acknowledge are the existence of criminal people who will maliciously take advantage of such giveaways to gather new victims for various unimaginable and heinous crimes.

I will spare the reader and myself by not posting any videos or articles that reveal just what situations dogs and cats can end up in. While, unfortunately, things like this can happen to pets, people do not usually do this to $1000 animals, or animals that require the potential adopter to go through screening procedures.

Free animals will obviously be the target, and may encourage such activities by their mere existence. Giving away free animals can be chalked up to the level of negligence in going on vacation while leaving all your windows open. It is an unnecessary and greatly irresponsible way to find new homes for pets.

Support Local Shelters


"An inexpensive way to find a dog"

Tired of the high adoption fees that animal shelters charge and the 'invasive' screening procedures they put adopters through 'only' to gain custody of a mutt? A change of perspective and priorities is then urgently needed.

Animal shelters do not set these protocols because they enjoy worming their way into people's lives. They have genuine concern for where these animals end up (some of these animals have also been passed from home to home) like any caring person should.


As I've continuously stressed before, pets do not belong in everyone's homes. As a pet owner, I'm heavily concerned with what my right and lifestyle is supporting. What are you supporting when you declare that you will not support an animal shelter that cares where its animals end up, provides adequate vet care and information to adopters, and has an active interest in the animal's welfare?

What's worse, people are turning to adopting from someone who, for reasons I don't really understand, felt the need to not prevent their own animals from breeding, only to give them away to people who may spontaneously decide to take the puppy home based off of its youthful allure and neediness alone. And if this puppy grows, as all puppies do, and this person no longer wants it, where does this animal end up? You guessed it.

Supporting people who give puppies away is not only taking away homes needed by animals in shelters, it is also adding to them in those unfortunate situations when the spontaneous adopters part ways with their grown puppies. Essentially, people who are leery of animal shelters this way are a large contributing factor to the irresponsible attitudes that inevitably cause more animal suffering, overpopulation, and bad pet care standards while animal rescuers rush to try to correct their problem for little or no pay.

Shun this practice

I don't understand people who would take home a parking lot puppy. If they wanted a dog, why don't they have one already? The sad fact is, people find the situation of seeing a fresh young face on their travels alluring, and they just can't resist the little face. While it may be tempting to even "rescue" these animals (which would be very necessary if the animals are abandoned), it needs to be understood that more animals will take the current animal's place. Impulse buys of dogs and cats may or may not end up in a failed committed ownership, but the situation is blatantly an encouragement of bringing home a pet for all the wrong reasons. Pets do not belong as prizes in fairs, presents for unsuspecting children on Christmas, or giveaways in boxes. They are living things with social, mental, and physical needs and have the potential to live for 12+ years. It's about time people start seeing that.

Woud you adopt a parking lot puppy?

  • Yes, all animals deserve a home no matter where they come from.
  • No, I wouldn't want to support such a practice and would rather adopt or support an ethical breeder.
  • I would if I felt no one else was going to take them, in order to rescue them.
See results without voting

Comment on the poll: Maybe I didn't get my point across effectively. Adopting puppies that are 'free' put other dogs at risk of becoming victims of horrific acts of cruelty such as being used as animal targets, "crush" videos, and other unimaginable acts. Is it worth it to support that just to save the dog you see before you? It is a shame that people cannot see past this because the real results are out of sight.

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Comments 8 comments

Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 4 years ago from Washington state

The only good thing I can say about these cardboard-box sellers is that at least the puppies are being given away for free. If you give an irresponsible breeder any amount of money, then they will have reason to procure more and more litters because not only will they be able to find homes for all the whelps, but they'll make some cash while doing it. It's always sad to see, but I think the bigger problem is the people who allow accidental breeding to occur, not so much the ignorant ones who adopt puppies from them (though it's pretty close).

Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

It's an unfortunate circle; I'm sure people would be a little more proactive about preventing unwanted litters if they realized that people wouldn't take them. But I also don't want these people to say, throw the animals into a river or something. Yet it's such a perfect opportunity for animal abusers to pick them up. I feel like the only solution is to enforce regulations on such irresponsible pet ownership. It pays to support/reward the responsible adoption venues; some of these puppies may end up there now or later.

Helena Ricketts profile image

Helena Ricketts 4 years ago from Indiana

I ended up picking up our second dog, Spudward, at a flea market. It was completely unexpected. He was the last one left in the litter that they were selling that weekend and the market was closing for the day.

The owner's daughter was bringing him around and asking people if they wanted to take him. Since he didn't sell that weekend, if no one took him they were going to put him in a bag with a rock and throw him into the lake.

Needless to say, I brought him home even though at the time, I didn't really plan on getting a second dog. He was 8 weeks old when I got him and will be a year old on May 1st. He is the most annoying, adorable, sweetest, hardheaded and lovable dog I've ever had!

I also have a purebred Siberian Husky that I adopted from a Husky rescue here in Indiana. I've had her about 7 years now and she's been a great dog. She had been abused, was about 20 pounds underweight and it took a few weeks for her to trust me.

I didn't mind the application process and they checked my information including calling my friends and my employer. I imagine it may have been easier to adopt a child than it was to adopt Sophie.

Both of my dogs are pictured in my dog training and information hubs. I wouldn't trade them for anything and wanted to slap the heck out of that flea market vendor who was going to do that to Spudward, but he's safe with us and isn't going anywhere!

This is an excellent hub, you really are knowledgeable about the animal world! Voted up & awesome!

Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for commenting Helena. Very sad that dogs are disposable in this day and age. Did they actually say they were going to do that to you? That certainly breaks the law. Sounds like it was a good idea to rescue that one. Spudward has an interesting look, I'm glad he found a great home. Sigh, breed rescues. I've had a bad experience with one. That's actually a good idea for a hub. They do turn people off with their rigid standards. It's annoying when I tell people you can adopt pure breds, and then there's the chance that they will run into problems with these places. Not to take away from the work that they do, but sometimes it exceeds reasonability. Some of them also only deal with expensive highly desirable breeds so I'm even less impressed in those situations.

Helena Ricketts profile image

Helena Ricketts 4 years ago from Indiana

Yeah, they did say he would be bagged with a rock and thrown into the lake. This particular flea market is a few counties over from where I live and is out in the middle of nowhere so there's a bit of a different idea about dogs and cats out there. It sure is against the law and sad.

He IS cute as a button! It's the eye patch. The people at the vet said that they think he looks like a fawn because of his spots and skinny legs.

I didn't mind them doing all of that checking up on me but I can see how that would deter some people. I even had to sign a contract that if I ever got into a situation where I couldn't keep her that I would give her back to them. I also had to attend at least one event per year and bring Sophie with me so they could see her. It wasn't too bad, she's a great dog and worth it but I'm sure that would be a big turn off for some.

Hannah 20 months ago

Now, I can definitely agree with you on this one. The people adopting an animal should ALWAYS be screened and approved to ensure that the animal has a happy, healthy life. Giving them away for free without a single question puts those animals at major risk.

Charley of Fruithurst, Al. 16 months ago

I live on a deadend road in the country. In the 15 years I have lived here low life people have dumped about 40 dogs from pups to old dogs on this road. And I am glad to say I have found every one of them a home. Was it going to be a great home , this I dont know but I hope the for the best. See you cold hearted people who talk bad about what I do, I can not be like you and do nothing!! The thought of some cold hearted person talking bad about people like me while looking the other way when you see an animal that needs help, you are as bad as the low life people who dump them. See in the REAL WORLD dumped dogs get run over by cars, die from hunger or thirst. So YES as opposed to doing NOTHING I will ALWAYS help man or beast that needs help.

Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 15 months ago from New York Author

Saving dumped dogs is not the same thing as picking up free box puppies. Learn to read. I would bring any abandoned dog I found to a shelter, but I've never seen one.

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