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Email Request to Adopt Free Black Lab Puppies

Summary:
Message claims that 6 black lab puppies rescued from a roadway are in desperate need of new homes (Full commentary below).



Status:
May have been true, but the message is now outdated and pointless

Example:(Submitted, October 2007)
Subject: FW: Free black labs...Know anybody looking?

these guys are sure tempting!! this email came from my sister via

work ... Please let me know if you know of anyone who might be interested.

Scott rescued 6 black lab (mix) puppies out of the middle of the road on Saturday. PLEASE help me find them homes - otherwise, it's Animal Control - which means they only have 5 days. We've bathed them, sprayed them for fleas and wormed them....but we can't keep them. They are currently in a kennel in my basement since I don't have a fence. I've lost count of the number of rescue groups that I've contacted, only to be turned down due to no room. Please check with every dog person you know to see if they need a puppy.

Free black lab puppies



Commentary:
This email forward claims that 6 black Labrador puppies found abandoned on a roadway are in desperate need of new homes to avoid a bleak and uncertain future at the hands of "Animal Control". The message includes a photograph of six adorable, blue-eyed puppies.

The claims in the message may have been true when they were originally posted on Craigslist and other online message boards. However, subsequent reports suggest that the puppies have now all been adopted. The original Craigslist post was later removed, possibly because the puppies had already been rehoused. And an article in Connecticut news outlet "The Advocate" notes:
An Atlanta phone number was listed on some of the earliest versions of the message. A call yesterday to the number, associated with a woman named Anne Rule, reveals a recorded message. "The puppies have all been adopted, so please do not leave a message," a woman said.
Moreover, follow-up posts to some of the earlier online messages about the puppies also indicate that they have now found new homes.

Thus, even if the original request was genuine, the continued forwarding of the message is now utterly pointless. The message has now spread all over the world. Some include different contact details than those listed in earlier versions of the message. These contact details are supposedly included to allow recipients to find out more information about the puppies. However, at least some of the later contact details listed in the messages are invalid.

Others, like the example included here, have no specific contact details at all other than the email addresses of those who last forwarded the message. Copies of the email that are currently circulating may have already been forwarded thousands of times, so it would be very difficult to reliably track back to the original sender to find out more information about the puppies. And, since the original sender may well have simply copied and pasted the message from an online message board, even he or she might not have any accurate information about the current status of these pups.

The message does not include a specific location where the puppies were found. Thus, recipients far, far away from the actual location of the dogs may assume that they were discovered locally. A version of the plea is circulating via email in Australia and has been posted on Asia message boards. Even if the animals were still in need of new homes, it would be an impractically expensive and lengthy process for an animal-lover half way across the planet to adopt one.

The date that the puppies were found is also not included in the message. Therefore, the message is likely to continue circulating indefinitely since many recipients will assume that the puppies were only recently rescued. A hoax email that claimed a litter of Golden Retriever puppies would be put down if new homes were not found urgently continues to hit inboxes years after it first began circulating.

Emails about children or animals in need of help, especially those that include photographs, are apt to have well-meaning recipients clicking the "forward" button without due forethought. It is always wise to check the status of such pleas for help before sending them on. Pointless and outdated messages such as this one do no more than needlessly clutter inboxes and, in some cases, waste the time of animal rescue organization staff who must field endless enquires about supposedly homeless animals.

References:
E-mail is the tail wagging a tale of dogs
Lab Puppies need rescuing
Free Golden Retriever Puppies Hoax
Puppy Adoption Email Leads to Dead Ends

Last updated: 10th October 2007
First published: 10th October 2007

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen