Stop the "flagging" of Pet Rescue Groups on Craigslist

The website has been very effective for many rescue groups and shelters to find homes for homeless animals.  However, certain groups of people are using and abusing the "flagging" system, and causing shelters' ads, and pet rescue groups' ads, to be flagged down. 

All ads that are posted on Craigslist have a "flag" button.  This is used so that the Craigslist community (visitors of the web site) can "flag" an ad, if it appears to be spam, or if it's an ad that breaks the Craigslist "terms of use".  If enough people press the "flag" button on a particular ad, then the ad gets removed from Craigslist (or, "flagged down").  However, any person can click on the flag button for any reason he or she chooses, leaving this "flagging system" susceptible to abuse.  Certain individuals have even formed groups, or "gang flaggers", to control the Craigslist pets section, and remove the ads they want removed through flagging as a group effort (a.k.a. "gang flagging") - which was not the intention of Craigslists' founder Craig Newmark when he created the flagging system.  Lately, certain rescue organizations and shelters have been targeted by "gang flaggers", breeders, and/or trolls.  As a result, shelters and rescue groups' ads get removed from Craigslist, which hurts the homeless animals' chances of being adopted.  In many cases, it leaves shelter animals at risk of being euthanized, because their ads that were posted on Craigslist never get seen, because of abusive flagging.  Please urge Craigslist's founder, Craig Newmark, and staff to allow Animal Shelters and 501(c)3 Non-profit rescue groups to be exempt from the flagging system, by allowing their ads to NOT have a "flag" button.  As it stands, trolls, breeders, and "cyber bullies" are abusing the flagging system by "gang flagging" the ads of shelters and rescue groups, making Craigslist unusable for many legitimate shelters and rescue organizations.  All that shelters and rescuers want to do is save the lives of animals, and find homes for them.  But the malicious flaggers on Craigslist are severely hindering the efforts of shelters and rescuers, leaving the animals without homes, or worse - at risk of being euthanized.

Dear Craig Newmark and Craigslist staff,

Coming from the people who love animals, we would like to take this moment to thank you for creating Craigslist - especially the pets section.  Because of the Craigslist "pets" community section, thousands of homeless animals have been able to find permanent loving homes, and have been spared from euthanasia.  You have given shelters and rescuers an incredible advantage in helping to save animals whose lives were in peril.

Although many animals' lives have been saved, thanks in part to Craigslist, there have also been a significant amount of shelters and rescuers whose efforts have been hindered because of flagging, and more specifically, "gang flagging" (organized groups of people who use a forum to post other people's ads that they wish to have flagged down for their own reasons, NOT necessarily because the ad broke the "terms of use" ("TOU").  The gang flaggers all flag the posted ads, ensuring that the targeted ads come down quickly.). 

Many, many animal rescuers have been in the unfortunate position of being specifically targeted by gang flaggers, not because their ads broke the Craigslist TOU, but because these flaggers have their own agendas.  Gang flaggers will flag a rescuer's ad for reasons including: They don't like the breed of dog in the ad (such as Pit Bulls); They don't like the adoption fee being asked; They flag out of revenge because their own ad got flagged; To eliminate competition; and in some cases, someone simply didn't "like" a rescuer as an individual, and flagged his/her ads out of maliciousness.  In most of these cases though, one flagger organizes a group of flaggers to target that rescuer's ad, so that the ad comes down as quickly as possible. 

When a rescuer's ad gets targeted and flagged down, it only hurts the animals.  Most rescuers can only house, or "foster", a certain number of rescued animals at a time.  When malicious flagging causes it to take longer for a rescuer to adopt out an animal he/she is fostering, that means that the dog/cat at the pound that is waiting to be rescued, instead, gets euthanized.  In our opinion, there is no reason that an animal at the shelter, or a rescuer who saves animals, should ever get flagged.  Shelters and rescuers do all they can to save animals, and that is their only goal.  So when their ads get flagged down, all that does is stop animals from finding homes, and increases the risk of the animals in the shelter to be euthanized.

Websites like and have managed to promote shelters' animals and rescuers' animals, without getting breeders on their websites, and without any misuse of the website by those who list animals on there.

We, the undersigned, strongly urge and plea with you to help stop the malicious flagging of animal shelters and pet rescuers.  Please allow city and county animal shelters, as well as the rescue groups and individuals who are 501(c)3, "non profit", to be EXEMPT FROM BEING FLAGGED, by removing the flag button from the ads they post on Craigslist for homeless animals.  The general public should not have the ability to flag down the ads posted by rescue groups and animal shelters.

Thank you so much for helping rescuers and shelters save the lives of animals, and find homes for them, through Craigslist.


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