Pets and animals
The question whether or not to allow pets and other animals to be offered on Freegle is a controversial one and the source of much strife. It is also a decision that is up to local groups to decide.
‘Other animals’ include live animal feed (e.g. mice or locusts to be fed to reptiles) and livestock (e.g. poultry)
When deciding whether or not to allow pet and animal posts the moderator team may want to consider what local facilities are already available for re-homing pets, such as rescue centres, whether the group is an urban one or a rural one, and whether the moderator team have the time and experience to give to this. They may also wish to run a poll on the group - if you have polled your members, that can be helpful when dealing with complaints. Be aware that there have been instances of news of such a poll might reach organisations who have very strong opinions on the subject, and they may encourage people to join your group with the single purpose of voting on the poll. You may want to consider suspending new applications for the duration of the poll.
Some groups do not allow animal posts of any description, some allow offers but not wanteds. Some allow posts for animals that local centres do not cater for, such as fish.
There is a Freegle group for moderators trying to make the choice at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FreeglePetMods/ This group is not for questions on particular posts, but for moderators to discuss and help in the decision making regarding Pet posting on any Freegle group.
- There may not be local facilities in your area to re-home pets, making this a potentially useful service.
- Members may wish to have contact with the person they re-home their pet with.
- Allowing pets gives members more choices as to how they can use their group, making the group is less restrictive.
- Can increase workload.
- Can increase the number of complaints both the group and Freegle UK gets - people have been known to boycott groups that allow animal posts.
- You may feel uneasy about animals being re-homed without the safety checks and vetting (pun intended) offered by rescue centres.
- Add local animal rescue centres to the links section, here are some national ones that you are welcome to include
Tip: get a pet mod
A pet mod is solely in charge of handling all pet posts - any post relating to live animals is put on HOLD (this can be a mod edit in the subject line of a message in pending) and left for the pet mod to deal with.
Questions a pet mod might ask include:-
- is the animal in good health?
- is the animal pregnant?
- has it been fully vaccinated and neutered?
- have other avenues such as animal sanctuaries been explored?
- is the animal safe? (see the dangerous dogs act)
(link to guidelines on pet posting you might wish to use)
here is an admin you can use called 'no animals' No_animals
Messages relating to lost pets are really more suited to café groups than to the main Freegle groups.
An example of a local no-animal policy:
Aim of XXFreegleGroupXX Animal Policy
- That no offers or requests for pets appear on XXFreegleGroupXX Freegle and that members hoping to offer or request an animal are referred to an appropriate organisation within 24 hours.
XXFreegleGroupXX Animal Policy
- 1.0 Members
1.1 That all members are informed that animal offers and requests are not allowed on XXFreegleGroupXX. No exceptions. This will be done on joining, in a regular monthly email and on an 'as required' basis.
1.2. That any member attempting to offer or request an animal on the main list or the café group is reminded of this policy.
1.3. Members are able to contact the moderators via: XXFreegleGroupXXemail@example.com
- 2.0 Group Management
2.1. That there is a link to this policy on the XXFreegleGroupXX Home page and in the Etiquette File:
2.2. That group moderators do not offer specific advice regarding the rehoming of any animal but will provide a member with a list of relevant animal rehoming organisations or animal sanctuaries as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours of the member's initial contact.
2.3. That any animal offers or requests that do appear onlist (from unmoderated members) are removed immediately and that the individual member is informed/reminded of this policy. If appropriate that an Admin message is sent to the group reminding all members of this policy.
2.4. That a member contacting the group moderators hoping to offer an animal is never put directly in contact with another member known to have requested one.
2.5. That moderators on no account provide any rehoming 'advice' to any member other than to refer them on to a relevant rehoming organisation.
2.6. That the rest of the group moderators are aware of all ongoing communications between any group moderator and any member regarding animal issues.
2.7. That there is a comprehensive list of links to animal rehoming organisations (especially local 'non-put-to-sleep' ones) in the links and files sections of the main list:
- Add link to files section of local group
- Add link to links section of local group
2.8. That the group owner/s will ensure that one of the moderators has dealt with and followed up on each animal query/issue according to this policy.
- 3.0 Pet Moderator
3.0 The group may choose to have a moderator responsible for animal issues. In the absence of a pet moderator see point 2.8
3.1. That any named pet moderator is a member of any national and pet-specific Mod groups in order to keep abreast of animal policies within Freegle as an organisation.
3.2. That the pet moderator ensures that the group owner(s) is/are made aware of any planned leave longer than 24 hours' duration in order that the owner(s) ensure that another moderator is available to deal with any queries.
3.3. That the pet moderator operates strictly within this policy when representing any Freegle group, even if they have extensive experience with animal rescue and rehoming.
- 4.0 Review of Policy
4.1. That this policy is reviewed at least 6 monthly by the full XXFreegleGroupXX moderating team to ensure that this policy remains within Freegle rules.