I do not check Craigslist that often, once or twice a week or so, really. However, even only checking it that often, over the years, you can see a real link in how the economy is doing in how long a day's worth of pets classifieds is.
For instance, two years ago, the pets classifieds for Hampton Roads was about a quarter a page long. Now, it is often a page and a half. Not only that, but you only saw parrots every so often, even in an area like this, and mostly they were budgies, finches, and tiels. It was about the same for other exotic animals, most of the postings were dogs and cats, many for shelters. Now, however, that has really changed. You see every kind of dog and cat, of course, all over the place, but there are also many, many more of every kind of animal, rodents, reptiles, fish, birds, you name it.
It is also sad to see who is on there. Before, it was mostly people who could not, or would not keep a pet any more, for whatever reason, and people who wanted one, either as a cheap pet, or because they really wanted to adopt. There were also scammers, as there always will be wherever you go. Much of that was very sad, but it is nothing compared to now. Now, there is a real mix on there.
You have many great pet owners who can not keep them any more because they have been foreclosed on, or are having to move to an apartment that does not allow pets. That is very sad, to see the happy pets with great homes that need a new one. There are not as many people looking for pets, of course, which makes it harder for everyone. However, there are many people, especially for parrots or other expensive exotic "pets", that simply see the bad economy as a great time to get a cheap animal to keep in a tiny cage and show off to their friends. The number of people looking for pets that have this attitude is amazing. You always saw them, but not like now. And as they are doing it on impulse, and not bothering to research what they are getting into, they are only go to end up rehoming the animal again, often in worse shape than before.
Another thing I would not have expected to see are backyard breeders. There are a lot of backyard breeders looking to "get rid of" "excess babies", and that is expected because there are simply not as many buyers out there. (Which, by the way, is probably a good thing.) The sad thing is, though, that there are a lot of people looking to "collect" (sorry for all the quotation marks, I am a bit sarcastic person at times, you might say) parrots to become backyard breeders when the economy improves. Really. I suppose they also see the number of cheap pets, and figure they can afford to throw them in a garage and give them some cheap seed until people start wanting to buy the babies for the high prices they sell for. Never mind the birds will probably die before that point ever comes, and if they don't, they are not likely to breed in those conditions. On top of that, if they do breed, they are going to be very unhealthy birds with many issues right off the bat, but of course that does not matter, as long as the "caretaker" gets some money.
And then craigslist does not even cover the number of animals dumped at shelters, rescues, the street/dump, or simply taken to the vets office to be put to sleep. Yes, even that, it really happens, no lie. Under law, the vets are required to do as the person says, so they try to offer to take the animal, or refuse service, but that is it. And so it happens. I can only hope that this will at least put a slow on the parrot trade, so perhaps parrots will no longer be quite so "in" and "cool." And maybe backyard breeders for all animals will be put out of business some. Not to say they won't start again, but one can always hope the message about adopting or buying from respectable breeders will get out now, when it is ever more important.