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.
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 and may also be able to refer you to an animal behaviorist or trainer in your community who has the experience and expertise to help address your pet's behavior problem.
There are also several sites on the Internet that offer helpful tips on solving pet behavior problems. In fact, The HSUS's Pets for Life campaign has over 43 informational web pages addressing common pet behavior 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.
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 on how you can help an allergic or immunocompromised person keep their pet without sacrificing their health or comfort.
If you ultimately decide that you cannot keep your pet, you have several options.
Your best resource is your local animal shelter. Most shelters screen potential adopters to make sure that they will be able to provide a safe, responsible, and loving home for your pet. The easiest place to start your search for your local animal shelter is online at www.Pets911.com or www.PetFinder.com. Here you can enter your zip code and find a list of animal shelters, animal control agencies, and other animal care organizations in your community. You may also want to look in your phone book. Animal shelters are called by a variety of names, so look in the Yellow Pages under listings such as "animal shelter," "humane society," or "animal control." Public animal care and control agencies are often listed under the city or county health department or police department. You can also call information at 411.
Breed rescue organizations may also help. 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 your local animal shelter go to www.Pets911.com or www.PetFinder.com. You can also call The HSUS at 202-452-1100 (ask for the Companion Animals section), and we can help you find out if there is a breed-rescue group near you.
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.
Finding a quality home for your pet can be a difficult and time-consuming process. Remember: Your local animal shelter has a qualified staff trained to screen and counsel adopters. Relinquishing your pet to your local shelter may be the best option for you and your pet.