The ASPCA tracks the fact that each and every year millions of pets are relinquished by their families. Sometimes the people feel that they must do so for financial purposes, death or illness while others are just taken aback by unplanned litters. Whatever the reason, shelters all over the United States accept anywhere from five-to-seven million animals each year; 50% from owner surrender! The sad fact is that, on average, 60 percent of the canines and 70 percent of the felines will be euthanized. These are perfectly loving pets!
Dori Scofield, Vice President of Guardians of Rescue an organization devoted to assisting animals in need explains some bare bone facts, “If someone does feel they need to place their animal, they should make every effort to find it a safe and loving home. It is all too easy for the animals to fall into the wrong hands.” That is exactly what happens when pets slip through the cracks and end up losing their lives as a result.
Just a few days ago, the Wake County Animal Shelter was in the news as one of these over-crowded shelters. In fact, at the time they had 289 animals in their shelter; over 40 animals entering per day. The odds do not look very good at shelters like Wake County.
In reality, things are not much better on the outside of shelters though. The hope is that when the animals are adopted, that they end up in loving, forever homes, however, there are some very conniving individuals that have other thoughts. Sometimes there are individuals that seek to ‘take the burden away’ by removing unwanted animals from their homes. Then they take these ‘free’ animals and sell them off to research, use them in dog fights, or use them for other abusive purposes!
For the most part, people feeling that they must get rid of their animals for unselfish purposes certainly would not want them ending up in the wrong hands. People can prevent this by:
· Locating a personal acquaintance to take the animal, beginning with family and friends.
· Request references, including veterinary records that display that other animals in their households are spayed or neutered, have required up-to-date vaccinations and attend their annual check-ups.
· Do not advertise your animal as FREE as this attracts some unseemly characters and puts your pet at risk.
· Interview the potential pet owner, especially if that person has been referred to you. It is essential to make certain that your pet will live in a good household, check out their other pets and inquire as to whether or not the potential pet owner will take care of your pet properly.
· Be aggressive, ask questions, and do not be afraid to protect your pet by learning about the person that may become your pet’s new owner.
· Contact a local rescue organization to make certain references check out or with any required paperwork.
· Just as with other important assets, only use reliable sites, like AdoptAPet and PetFinder to submit information about your pet. Other unknown sites may prove unreliable.
· Always charge a fee for your pet. Make certain that your pet is spayed or neutered, up-to-date on its vaccinations and healthcare. People do not want to use a valuable animal for research or dog fighting. They would rather use ‘FREE’ animals.
Scofield continued by stating, “The best thing to do is first try to keep your pet and address the issue at hand. After exhausting those avenues, if you still need to re-home the pet, always take these precautionary measures to help keep it safe when it leaves your house. It makes a big difference in assuring that the animal can continue to live out its life in a healthy, happy home.”
The Guardians of Rescue are based in New York. Their website is www.guardiansofrescue.org. They are but one reliable source. Their mission is to help all animals in distress by providing services such as rehab, rescue, foster care, and help keep families who have economic difficulty with their pets.
There are many shelters and rescues in our local area that are willing to go above and beyond for animals in our community such as Animal Rescue Foundation, Illinois; otherwise known as ARF-IL. If you or your loved ones are seeking assistance, do not hesitate to contact them!