Finding A Pet A New Home
If you have a pet you "can't keep" whether it is your own pet or a stray you have found, do the best you can to assure the animal gets the very best home. DO's and DON'Ts are listed below.
If it's your pet, reconsider why you can't keep it. Realize that it is extremely traumatic for the animal to be moved away from the home and family it has known all its life, just as much as it is for a human.
If you think you can't keep it because of behavior problems, see our topic "Behavior Problems," link below, to find out how to resolve the problem. Consider giving it a try before giving up the pet. Usually it's just a matter of misunderstanding between owner and pet with a simple answer. (Remember, cats and dogs don't speak English or Spanish, etc.!) Also, talk to a vet about the behavior; it may be one caused by a health problem and easily solved with treatment. Read books on animal behavior and training (some are suggested in the "Behavior topic (below).
If you absolutely can't keep the pet, here are the DON'Ts:
- DON'T abandon it when you move. It may starve to death.
- DON'T dump it in an apartment complex or along a highway or road. It may get hit by a car, or starve to death. NOTE these first two items fall in the category of animal abuse and are punishable in many states, including Texas!
- DON'T take it to an SPCA unless it's your ONLY alternative (it's BETTER than the two above, BUT see below on DO's).
Here are the DO's:
- DO try to place it yourself first* OR
- DO locate a "NO-KILL" shelter in your area. (See link below to for the Dallas Metroplex area). Look in the yellow pages under humane, animals, pets, dogs, and cats. Understand that these shelters are often full, but it doesn't hurt to ask, and you should actually take the pet to one of their adoption or shelter sites so they can see it. They are more likely to take the animal if they see it and hear your story in person.
- DO put up notices with photo in local vet clinics, pet grooming shops, pet supply stores. (But beware of people who call you from notices in pet stores--SCREEN them carefully as discussed below.)
- DO ask your neighbors and friends if they can take it or help you find a home.
*NOTE: If you place an ad in the newspaper or notices in pet stores, you MUST screen people carefully to make sure they are not planning on taking the animal to sell to research labs, or for other bad purposes. You can't tell just by looking at people--people will do many things for profit. It is best to have them complete a SCREENING APPLICATION and question them on their answers (see link below to suggested application). You can learn a lot that way. You should ask the following:
- Ask if they intend to keep it as a pet themselves (they are breaking the law if they represent they want it as a pet, but intend to sell it for research or use it some other way).
- Ask a lot of questions: where they live (what city), do they live in an apartment or a house with a yard; get an address and phone number and check it out.
- Tell them they can take the pet on a one or two-week trial basis, and that you will definitely visit it a few times to see how it's working out. If you do this, make them fill out and sign an adoption agreement as a conditional adoption; see next item.
- DO use an adoption agreement; see link below to our suggested agreements. Don't give your an animal to someone unless you feel they will take good care of it.
- Make sure they have had pets before and like cats or dogs; i.e., not are just getting it because their child wants one. An animal is not a toy, and if they only want it for a child but it is obvious the parents don't like animals or don't really want a pet, don't adopt to them! They will get rid of it as soon as the child tires of it if not sooner. It would be better to take it to the SPCA! I have seen this happen before.
Do I sound paranoid? I highly suspect something bad happened to a cat I gave someone who contacted me from a newspaper ad. It is hard to learn from experience.
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