for Finding a Responsible Home for a Pet
adapted from a an
article of the Humane Society of the United States
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 Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) Pets
for Life campaign information gives suggestions for
dealing with many common pet behavior problems.
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
Finding a Good Home for Your
If you ultimately decide that you cannot keep your
pet, you have several options.
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.
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. Rescue groups keep
adoptable animals until they can be placed in loving,
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.
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
- 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 NRIC). 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
- 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 new home.
Finding a quality home for your pet can be a difficult
and time-consuming process. Remember: Your local animal
shelter has a qualified staff trained to screen and
counsel adopters. Relinquishing your pet to your local
shelter may be the best option for you and your pet.