Saturday, June 20, 2009

Where the Wild Things Roam on Craigslist

This mind-boggling ad showed up on the Houston, TX, Area Craigslist Pets section this evening. I copied it into a Word file. When I went back to Craigslist later, the ad was gone. The text is as follows, below. I removed the poster's email.

Hyena Pups for adoption

Date: 2009-06-20, 7:34PM CDT

Two Hyena pups, one boy one girl. The mother and father are also pictured below. Very well mannered & well socialized. Enjoys trips to the dog park. Current on all puppy shots. Not asking an adoption fee, just asking that they receive lots of TLC. You would take care of Hyenas as you would on any other dog but please read up on these animals before you inquire

I’ve learned not to be surprised by what I see on Craigslist, but this is disturbing, to say the least.

Hyenas, according to a 2001 Texas law, are among 16 “dangerous wild animals” prohibited from being privately owned without proper permits. Individual Texas jurisdictions can set up their own guidelines for the permitting process. At least that’s how I understand the law, based on the scant Internet information about Texas exotic animal laws. Texas is a large state with very little federally managed land, and the attitude here is that the private land owner is king of her/her ranch.

Private owners operate game ranches full of exotic hoofed animals, including zebras, blackbucks, water buffalo, gazelles, and wildebeest. People pay fees to hunt the animals for trophy mounts. Even native animals, such as mule or white-tailed deer, are managed on vast private deer leases and game ranches. There’s a booming business in automatic feeders and deer corn in many rural counties.

Apparently, this easy-going attitude toward exotic hoofed animals spills over into a gray area. I can't imagine wanting to keep an African hyena as a pet.

Are animals such as hyenas legal to own as pets in your neighborhood? Let me know.

Both photos are from the ad. I covered the woman's face to protect her privacy on my blog.


  1. I am from Minnesota and I belive our exotic animal laws are very lax. You can easily find exotic animals auctions here. I don't know what sorts of animals they have, usually the advertisements consist of different breeds of birds, goats, llamas and rabbits. I would hazard to guess there are unadvertised animals as well and I would hazard to guess there is a network for those animals where these auctions are a place to meet.

    I agree "disturbing, to say the least" in regards to this ad.

    In reading it, a thought occured to me. S/He sounds interested in the welfare of the animals in the way s/he speaks of care and research.

    I think it's a bunch of bs. I think this ad is a cover with an open invite for dogfighters (or other animal traffickers). Especially how fast it was pulled.

    Consider the other side. (not that anyone wants to) You have animals that are prohibited but are also worth a ton of money on the black market. You have a demand problem and need to "move inventory." You can't advertise normally because your "product" is illegal. However, you try by informing people "in the know" that you are selling. You want the most money you can get which means you need many buyers. You then put a free ad somewhere to attract traffic and weed through. You remove it before authorities can get to it. You use a fake email.

    Potentially I watch too much tv. But I have to admit, I do not have cable. I do have a bachelors in marketing. These are my thoughts and I don't think all criminals are stupid.

    If you haven't already, you should report these people. I know I'm preaching to the choir.

    If you do some research on the exotic animal trade, you will find countless issues with animal fighting that extend well beyond dogs. Dogs are the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, people also use raccoons, coyotes, wolves, bobcats, etc. The more exotic, the more money.

    The exotic animal trade is alive and well - and legal depending on state, loophole, etc. They proclaim "pet" status, "nature in your backyard" and all kinds of weird crap like that.

    Personally, I look at money - because obviously it does rule the world. I belive the exotic animal trade is primarily fueled by fighting animals - which would make the most money due to gambling. Imagine all combinations and the bets. Why else would a person breed raccoons and be successful at it for over 20 years (for example).

    Of course there are stupid people with too much money that will buy a monkey (or a raccoon) for a pet. But I actually think the majority of buyers are not people looking for pets.

    I could be way off, I have no first hand knowledge of this industry...just the little bit I've educated myself on for the purpose of having an opinion.

    Anyway, it all makes me sick and sad. Please report!

    Your reporting will probably not have an obvious impact or any at all but at least the people charged with this work will have more information to potentially piece together later.

    By the way, look at the way the woman is sitting in the photo, imagine yourself sitting that that the stance of a comfortable person wiling the day away? No. This is not a "family" pic of mom and dad hyenas. I think this is a good try but I would guess those animals do not socialize much with each other.

    Boy do those people have guts.

  2. Stupid, stupid people... I hope there is no market for the babies, unfortunately, I know better...

  3. OMG.
    just why.

  4. Oh yeah, I REALLY HATE the exotic animal trade. I hate the people that mess around in it, I hate people that stop at roadside "petting zoos," I don't even like seeing "trick" animals in movies.

    It just happens to be a super pet peeve of mine.

    sick, sick, sick is right.

  5. OK, really disturbed about the "enjoy trips to the dog park" part...

  6. Hey, I just gave you a blog award...come over and get it!

  7. I cannot imagine why anyone would want to adopt one of those pups let alone have a pair in the house. Those animals belong in the wild not on the sofa with an idiot (sorry).

  8. I would want a hyena for a pet..
    and as a pet.. not any of the things ya'll are saying about the whole underground market crap.. if I did ever have a chance to have a pet hyena.. I would do all I can to keep it well.. and well.. tamed of course.. I have heard alot that hyenas are rather friendly in captivity

    sorry for the rather big.. bump..

  9. Actually, that's a fake ad. The photo of the woman with the two adults is actually a still shot taken from a video you can find on Youtube of a woman speaking Arabic and clearly not in the United States. Second, no one would give two baby hyenas away for free considering they sell for $4000 to $5000 from the few legal breeders here in the U.S. And by the way, although it may seem odd and not a good idea for the average person, striped hyenas (as opposed to the larger and more aggressive spotted hyenas) like the ones in the photo are actually quite docile and bond strongly with their owners. Considering there are thousands of exotic pet owners including an estimated 2000 to 3000 owners of tigers in the U.S., how often do you actually hear about people being killed? Taking in to account that dogs kill 20 to 30 people a year, people shouldn't be so quick to name call those who choose to keep exotic pets provided they are able to properly care for them.

  10. Woah. I want a pet hyena. Call me crazy because that is true. I am crazy. I just want a pet hyena

  11. I am interested in adopting a Heyena,


Please leave a pawprint! I appreciate comments.