If you must find a new home for your pet, FIRST please try to find a home among your family and friends, instead of surrendering to a shelter or rescue. It’s easiest for your pet! You only put your pet through one transition instead of several. Transitions are very stressful for your pet.

  • Use social and family networks, as well as your veterinary clinic, to find responsible families who are looking to add a pet to their lives.
  • Require a reasonable re-homing fee ($50 minimum) to discourage criminals and hoarders.
  • Spay or neuter to discourage backyard breeders.
  • Write interview questions that will reveal:
    • Experience with pet ownership
    • Weekday, night, and weekend living conditions
    • Other family members and pets, and how they will be affected by the new family member
    • Ability to provide adequate veterinary care when needed
    • Dangers in the neighborhood such as busy highways or wild prey animals.
  • Keep a list of bad neighborhoods that you will automatically refuse inquiries from.
  • Screen every inquiry by telephone using your prepared questions.
  • Require references, including a veterinary clinic, and call every one.
  • For those that pass screening and reference calls, during daylight hours visit the home with your pet when all family members and pets will be there (remember, good neighborhoods required, so you should be safe).
  • Ask that the family contact you first if they need to find a new home for your pet for any reason, unless you are certain they will make the same efforts you made to ensure the safety and well-being of your pet.
  • Be sure to inquire if the family intends to register your pet as required in their municipality.
  • As a thank-you gift, purchase an ID tag with your pet’s new phone number and address and attach it to a nice new collar along with the rabies tag, to ensure that if your pet escapes and is found, that he or she makes it home safely. Remember, the pet does NOT understand what is going on. Your former pet might escape to go back home! This happens frequently and guess what, neighbors won’t recognize the new pet either so they will call the shelter to pick him or her up. You must be proactive!
  • Don’t forget to pass along the microchip and medical information and make sure the microchip company is updated!

Please don’t post your pet on sites like Craigslist, unless you are prepared to do thorough research on credible potential adopters. These free advertising sites attract criminals, and family pets could end up as dogfighter bait, as puppy mill breeding dogs, as research lab victims, or even as food for pet snakes. Some former family pets are simply neglected and starved by a hoarders. Some potential adopting parties will try to “con” you. They will use women and children to charm you. Identifying safe, responsible homes is a process that can’t be rushed and you must think like a good rescue or shelter does.

You might consider contacting a reputable rescue for help in rehoming ONLY if you are certain that owner-surrendered animals are provided ample opportunities for adoption through that organization. If a rescue is full, you could ask for a courtesy post on social media.

When you surrender your pet to a shelter, because you are no longer the owner, you will not get a phone call if they make the decision to euthanize him or her. Also, some do not screen adopters thoroughly to prevent pets from falling into bad homes.

You must prevent your pet from coming to a bad end by doing the work required to find a truly good home.