Please be VERY careful when rehoming a pet to someone you do not know personally.
Having to rehome a pet, under any circumstances, is never an easy decision, and should NOT be taken lightly; you are your pet’s advocate, and you need to ensure your pet is going to a home where it will be well cared for and have all of it’s needs met (clean living conditions, vetting, diet, exercise, etc.). If you are unable to find a good home on your own, please reach out to a local, reputable shelter or rescue to assist you, or to take your pet into their care to find it a good home. -Trust me, being in a shelter for a few weeks (or months) until the perfect family comes along is far better than your dog being given away for free and ending up chained in someone’s yard, wondering what it did wrong, or being forced to fight to the death or used as bait.
There are people out there who do not have good intentions and/or are not responsible enough to care for a pet.
This is YOUR pet, and you have the right to ask a lot of questions, charge a rehoming fee, see the home the pet will be living in, ask for personal references, perform a vet check to see if they get regular care for their pets (past or present), and have them sign a contract stating they will care for the pet and provide updates, etc. (should you choose to have a contract, you will both need to sign and date, and have a witness). -If someone is not willing to jump through hoops to add your pet to their home, they don’t need your pet, and chances are you saved your pet from a life of misery with them.
There are not only pet-flippers out there (people who get free/cheap dogs & cats and try to sell or “flip” them for a profit), and irresponsible owners (people who get a husky when they live in an apartment and don’t have time to exercise it, or let their dogs run all over town, etc.), but there are also dog fighters (subhumans who get free/cheap dogs – or steal them) and force them to fight, or get dogs/cats/other animals to use as bait to train fighting dogs).
It’s not always easy to spot pet-flippers, irresponsible owners or dog fighters, since they usually present themselves as good, upstanding citizens and family-oriented individuals who have been looking for a little fuzzball, just like Fido you are rehoming (for free)! And of course they have a big fenced in backyard and their pets eat better than they do! They might even send a beautiful mom with a cute little kid to pick up the pet so your worries are instantly diminished.
It’s a sick world we are living in, folks, and if something doesn’t feel right to you, don’t let them have your pet.
BEFORE REHOMING YOUR PET
- Please ensure your pet is spayed/neutered (and up-to-date on vaccinations), or have the new owners sign a contract stating they will get the pet spayed/neutered in X amount of days, and provide you with proof. -You don’t want a backyard breeder getting a hold of your pet and adding to the overpopulation issue. [If you are getting a puppy from someone, PLEASE ensure the puppy has been vaccinated against parvovirus, and ask for proof of vaccinations. If the puppy has not been vaccinated or they cannot provide proof, get your puppy to the vet and get vaccinations and/or booster shots ASAP! It’s cheaper to vaccinate against parvo than it is to save them once they get it.]
- Please do a home inspection and match the address they give you with the address on their license and/or mail. They don’t have to live in a palace to provide your pet with a wonderful life, but if you see an old dilapidated dog house in the back with a chain running from it, or they live next to a busy street and their last 3 dogs got hit by cars, it might be best to keep looking.
- Not every pet owner can afford to take their pet to the vet (again, this does not mean they can’t provide a wonderful life for your pet), so not every potential owner will be able to provide a veterinarian to check with about past care for their pets, but you should/could ask them what they would do should the pet become sick or injured. If they do have a regular veterinarian, perform a vet check; ask for contact info and call their vet’s office to verify they are good pet owners and get vet care for their pets.
- In addition to a vet check, you should also ask for personal references to verify your pet will be going to a good home and will be well cared for. I would opt for non-family references, but a mix of family and non-family references should give you a pretty good idea. -Again, if this seems like overkill in the rehoming-a-pet-department, that’s because THIS is how you weed out responsible people with good intentions from irresponsible people with bad intentions.
- If you feel inclined, you can always write a contract, (even if it’s on a napkin from Wendy’s at the last minute), have them sign and date it, you sign and date it, and have a witness sign and date it, and it will hold up in court, should it ever come to that (any agreement that two parties make can be legally enforced, whether it’s written or verbal; when both parties acknowledge and agree to the contract terms, their signature is proof of their acceptance of the contract.). In the contract, you can have them agree to spay/neuter the pet in X amount of time and provide proof, agree to keep the pet as an indoor pet or provide adequate shelter for outdoor pets, exercise the pet regularly, provide you with updates, contact you before rehoming the pet in the future, etc. -If they don’t want to sign a contract agreeing to care for the pet, perhaps you should keep looking.
- MICROCHIP your pet! Even if you’re not rehoming your pet, microchips are always a good idea! If you are going to get a pet, if you do NOTHING ELSE for them, PLEASE invest in a microchip, register it, and keep it updated! If you are chipping before rehoming the pet, you can always give them the info to register the pet and ask that they keep you on there as a backup (if it’s not in a contract, they don’t have to, but they might agree without a contract).
- Please, DO NOT give pets away for FREE! At least ask a rehoming fee to ensure your pet is going to someone who sees the value of your pet. If it’s someone you know personally or someone who was recommended by someone you know and trust, it’s your call, but “free to good home” pets don’t always end up in good homes.
- Do a social media search to see if the person who wants your pet is frequently commenting, “I’ll take it!” or “Puppy/kitten to a good home for a small fee!” Go to the search bar, type in their name, and follow it with “dog/cat/kitten/puppy/rehoming fee” etc., so it would look like this in your search bar:” John Doe rehoming fee ” – changing out “rehoming fee” for any words you are curious about. You can see if the person is often getting free pets, or if they are rehoming pets frequently, either of which should be red flags.
- If for some reason you have to rehome a pet in a short amount of time, or you can’t find a good home on your own, please contact a local shelter or rescue, and don’t be offended if they ask for a surrender fee to help care for the pet until a good home is found. (I’m not sure if any of the shelters in the SLV are currently asking for a surrender fee due to so many people dumping animals in the middle of nowhere, but if you can, please at least give a donation for them to care for your pet.) Yes, it’s hard to think about your pet being in a shelter, but none of the shelters in the SLV are kill-shelters, and, again, a shelter for a few weeks is better than being chained outside for life or being tortured or killed. Most shelters or rescues will even do a background check on the potential owner or a courtesy post to help you rehome your pet without it having to stay at the shelter (if that’s the case, a small donation to them for helping would be appreciated).
Yes, I know some of the above seems rather unrealistic, but you are the only advocate for your pet, and if you care about the well-being of your pet, this can help prevent something awful from happening to them. If you don’t care about where your pet ends up and you just want the money (rehoming/adoption fee), I truly hope your pet ends up in good, responsible hands or with a reputable shelter or rescue who will ensure your pet is safe.
Never be afraid to speak up if you think someone is abusing or neglecting a pet, or if you think someone has ill-intentions with a pet. We have to use our voices to protect the voiceless.
Thank you for being responsible pet owners!