“Offering an animal free to a good home is not the best choice for the animal,” Animal Services Officer Lisa McDonald said. “These animals can be sold, sometimes to laboratories or sometimes for dog fighting. In some cases, the animals are re-given to other people. You just don’t know where your pet will end up or in what kind of conditions. Sometimes these animals end up on Craigslist and are sold to make money.”
I can understand a person not wanting to cause a hardship by asking for a monetary payment, but too many animals have suffered the consequences of that decision. By requiring someone to invest in the animal upfront, you may help safeguard against opportunists.
Some people will pick “owner surrender,” through the animal shelter, as a way to rehome a pet. That practice can also have grave consequences. Although you might have the perfect pet at home, if you take that dog or cat and put it in a foreign environment, it can act completely different. Think about sitting in an unfamiliar cage with intimidating dogs all around, barking almost constantly.
A couple of years back, I filmed a documentary on the local animal shelter and tracked a pair of 8-year-old dogs that were surrendered to the shelter. The dogs had been littermates and were with the same family their whole lives. Neither dog was adopted — both ended up being euthanized.
“Please use the animal shelter as the last resort,” McDonald said. “When we run out of room, we have to euthanize. Your adult pet is competing with much younger animals. Dogs also have to pass a temper test before they can be adopted by the public. Not every dog passes.”
Do: Plan well in advance to rehome your pet.
Don’t: Offer your pet free.
Don’t: Rely on the shelter to place the animal. There is a waiting period and $45 fee to owner-surrender your pet locally.
Do: Contact local animal rescue groups for help. Social media can be a helpful tool — but know the person your pet is placed with. A friend of a friend might not be a good choice.
Don’t: Rely solely on one source. You may be left with no options. Sometimes animal rescue groups can be full.
Do: Make the transition as easy as possible.
• Anne Marie Fuller is the host of “Helpful Hints with Anne Marie” on Channel 26. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.