Guidelines for Finding a Responsible Home for Your 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. 

BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS 

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. HHS can can be reached for advice at 630-323-5630. There are also several sites on the Internet that offer helpful tips on solving pet behavior problems. The Humane Society of the United States' Pets for Life campaign has over 43 informational web pages addressing common pet behavior problems. 

HOUSING 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's www.RentWithPets.org. 

HEALTH 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 in the Special Features section on how you can help an allergic or immune compromised 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 options: 

Your best resource is your local animal shelter. HHS screens potential adopters to make sure they will be able to provide a safe, responsible, and loving home for your pet. Due to space limitations, however, an appointment is required to bring an animal into our facility. All of our animals are thoroughly temperament/health evaluated and our adoptable animals are kept until adopted. To schedule an appointment, call 630-323-5630. 

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 HHS at 630-323-5630 or access www.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. 

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 Pit bulls 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 new home. To schedule an appointment to bring an animal to HHS for euthanasia, call 630-323-5630. 

Finding a quality home for your pet can be a difficult and time-consuming process. Remember: HHS has a qualified staff trained to screen and counsel adopters. Relinquishing your pet to a reputable shelter such as HHS may be the best option for you and your pet.