Guidelines for Finding a Responsible Home
for a Pet
Do you feel you can no longer keep your pet and want to find a new
home for him or her? Perhaps you are frustrated with a behavior problem. Or your child has pet allergies. Or you are having
trouble finding rental housing that accepts your pet.
Many pet-related problems can be frustrating, and you may feel that
relinquishing your pet is the only solution. But before you take that drastic step, be aware of the wealth of resources available
to help pet owners such as yourself deal with problems that can seem overwhelming.
If you are dealing with a pet behavior problem, consider first consulting
with your veterinarian. Many problems may be due to a treatable medical condition. For example, a housetrained pet may begin
urinating in the house due to a urinary tract infection rather than a behavior problem. Your veterinarian will be able to
rule out any physical cause of the problem and may also be able to refer you to an animal behaviorist or trainer in your community
who has the experience and expertise to help address your pet's behavior problem.
There are also several sites on the Internet that offer helpful tips
on solving pet behavior problems. In fact, The HSUS' Pets for Life campaign has more than 43 informational web pages addressing
common pet behavior problems.
In a recent study, "moving" and "landlord won't allow" were among
the top reasons for the relinquishment of pets to shelters. If you are moving and are having trouble finding animal-friendly
housing, or are experiencing other pet-related housing difficulties, please visit The HSUS' RentWithPets.org.
Do you or a family member have a health problem (for example, an allergy
or an infection that weakens the immune system) that makes it difficult to keep your pet? Has a physician actually recommended
you give up your pet? Before taking such a drastic step, read our information on how you can help an allergic or immunocompromised
person keep their pet without sacrificing their health or comfort.
Finding a Good Home For Your Pet
If you ultimately decide that you cannot keep your pet, you have several
Your best resource is your local animal shelter. Most shelters screen
potential adopters to make sure that they will be able to provide a safe, responsible, and loving home for your pet.
The easiest place to start your search for your local animal shelter
is online atPetFinder.com or Adoptapet.com. Here you can enter your zip code and find a list of animal shelters, animal control
agencies, and other animal care organizations in your community. You may also want to look in your phone book. Animal shelters
are called by a variety of names, so look in the Yellow Pages under listings such as "animal shelter," "humane society," or
"animal control." Public animal care and control agencies are often listed under the city or county health department or police
department. You can also call information at 411.
If you have a dog of a specific breed, there may be a breed rescue
organization in your area that will accept him and work to find him a new home. Purebred rescue groups are usually run by
people with in-depth knowledge of a specific breed. Rescue groups keep adoptable animals until they can be placed in loving,
permanent homes. To locate a rescue group that specializes in your dog's breed, contact your local animal shelter go to PetFinder.com
In some cases, breed rescues only work with animal shelters and may
not accept pets directly from owners. Be sure to find out as much as you can about the rescue group, and always carefully
screen a breed rescue organization before relinquishing your pet. You should make sure the current animal residents appear
well-cared-for, that the group screens potential adopters, and that the group offers post-adoption support services. Do not
be afraid to ask questions.
Finding a New Home
If you decide to try to find a new home for your pet yourself, rather
than relying upon a local animal shelter or rescue organization, be sure the animal's best interests remain your top priority.
Finding a new home for a pet can be difficult. A "good" home means a home where the animal will live for the rest of his or
her life, where he or she will receive attention, veterinary care, proper nutrition, and be treated as part of the family.
If you choose to find a home for your pet yourself, follow these guidelines:
Advertise through friends, neighbors, and local veterinarians first;
then try the newspaper, if all else fails. Your chances of finding a good home are increased when you check references with
someone you know.
Visit the prospective new home in order to get a feel for the environment
in which your pet will be living. Explain that the pet is part of your family and that you want to make sure she will be cared
for properly and that you want to see how the animal responds to the new home. Screen potential homes carefully.
Don't be fooled. If anyone refuses to allow you to visit their home,
do not place your pet with them. Individuals known as "bunchers" routinely answer "free-to-good-home" ads, posing as people
who want family pets when, in actuality, they sell pets to animal dealers. Dogfighters have also been known to obtain domestic
animals for baiting through "free to good home" ads. These people are "professionals" who may even bring children or their
mothers with them when picking up pets.
Always be mindful of your own safety when you go to interview potential
adopters or if you allow a prospective adopter to enter your home.
Carefully consider all the elements of the new home: Will your pet
get along with small children? Is the family planning to keep the dog chained outside as a watch dog? Will the cat be kept
only as a mouser? Does the family have a veterinary reference? Do not be shy about asking questions. Your pet's life and happiness
may depend on it.
Ask for a valid form of identification (preferably a driver's license).Record
the number for your records and require the new owner to sign a contract stating the requirements of adoption upon which both
parties agree. As part of the contract, require the new owner to contact you if he or she decides at some point that they
must give up the pet.
Have your pet neutered or spayed before he or she goes to the new
home. This will make the animal more adoptable and help stop irresponsible breeding.
If your pet is chronically ill or has behavior problems, it may be
difficult to find him a suitable home. A new owner may not be willing or able to deal with these issues, and it may also be
difficult for the pet to adjust to a new home. The decision to humanely euthanize such a pet should not be made without thoughtful
input from a veterinarian, a behaviorist, and the family, based on how well they believe their companion would adapt to a