Every year millions of Americans make the decision to give up their pet. It’s a decision that could be deadly for your cat or dog depending on what steps you take to rehome your pet. Shelters around the country take in five to seven million cats and dogs a year and 60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats are euthanized before ever finding a home.
“If someone does feel they need to place their animal, they should make every effort to find it a safe and loving home,” explains Dori Scofield, vice president of Guardians of Rescue, an organization dedicated to helping animals in need. “It is all too easy for the animals to fall into the wrong hands.”
While the odds are against the animals at the over-crowded shelters, things aren’t much better outside the shelter either. If you want your pet to end up in a good home without putting him or her at risk, then you need to make sure you take the right steps before handing your pet over to a new home.
It’s smart to be precautious so that your pet or pets don’t end up in the hands of a potential dogfighting ring, a research facility or in other abusive situations. Here are some ways to prevent that from happening.
- Place your pet with someone you know. Start by asking friends and family if they would like to take your pet.
- Check references. Asking for references, including a veterinarian to make sure other animals in the home are spayed/neutered, up to date on vaccines and get annual check-ups.
- Never advertise the animal as being free. This opens the doors to the animal ending up with someone who will not care for it properly. and could put your animal in a high risk situation like dog fighting, testing labs, etc.
- Do a home visit. If someone you don’t know very well is referred to you for taking the pet, visit the potential home so you can see first-hand the type of place the animal would live. Notice whether there are other pets and, if so, how they are being cared for. Discuss with the person whether they will have the time and funds that it takes to care for the pet.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It is important to be aggressive in this matter so that you can learn more about the person and help protect the pet.
- Ask for help. Call a local rescue group to see if they can help with referrals or any paperwork that needs to be done. Some may work with you to rehome your pet if you retain custody during the search.
- Be careful where you advertise. Only use trusted sites, such as PetFinder, Petango and AdoptAPet to offer information about your pet. Other advertising sites – like Craig’s List - are often targeted sites for predators looking to collect animals for dog fighting, testing labs, etc.
- Always charge something for the pet. Your pet should be spayed/neutered and up to date on vaccinations and health care. People tend to value things more that they pay for, and those looking to collect them for research or other abusive means will most likely not want to pay anything for them.
“The best thing to do is first try to keep your pet,” added Scofield. “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 is an organization that has a mission of helping all animals in distress. They provide such services as rehab, rescue, foster care, and help keep families who have economic difficulty with their pets. To learn more, or to make a donation to support the Guardians of Rescue, log onto www.guardiansofrescue.org.
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