Several volunteers have contacted people who place "free to good home" ads to warn of the risks of giving pets away and to provide placement advice. They make these efforts because, unfortunately, there are individuals who seek free pets for illicit purposes instead of as companions.
PAW offers guidance to people seeking to rehome pets on its website: www.paw-rescue.org/giveup.html
This page includes advice to help people solve problems so that they can keep their pet, as well as guidance for finding a new home for those who have resolved to give up the animal.
If you have the opportunity to share advice with people giving up their pets, you can refer them to the webpage above, as well as to the article, "FREE TO GOOD HOME?" by Michelle Crean of Animal Aid (www.parrett.net/animalaid/free.html). Here are some tips adapted from that article:
* Don't advertise "Free pet."
* Spay/neuter the animal to avoid attracting backyard breeders or puppy mill operators.
* If the pet was bought from a responsible breeder, the pet owner should contact the breeder, because he/she will take back the pet.
* If the seller is not a responsible breeder, but is of a particular breed, contact the appropriate breed rescue organization.
* If the owner is rehoming the animal himself, advise that he charge at least $25 to discourage resale of pets to labs and others.
* Take the time to interview every prospective owner. Ask for vet and personnel references, and check them, then visit the new home where your pet might be living!
* See other tips on the webpage, www.paw-rescue.org/giveup.html
Other things you can do:
* Write letters to your local newspapers warning of the dangers of Free to Good Home ads.
* Write a letter to your government representatives to support legislation aimed at doing away with Class B dealers, who sell animals obtained from random sources to research facilities.
* Call police, animal control and the health department, if someone in your area seems to be "collecting" cats or dogs, or involved in dog-fighting or other forms of animal abuse.
For more information:
* Can We Help You Keep Your Pet?
Offers alternatives to giving pets away, including tips on solving common behavior problems, moving, house breaking, new baby, allergies, pet health problems, and grooming tips. If there is no other alternative, this site lists things to consider in finding your pet a new home.
* Dog Owners' Guide: Minimizing Owner Surrenders
* The Humane Society of the United States
* Search For Your Elected State and Federal Officials
* Helping Paw Society
Lists of animal shelters and rescues by state; also lists animal abuse laws by state, and pending legislation by state.
* dogs.about.com, catlovers.about.com, and cats.about.com
Lists of rescues and shelters.
For more Dog Tips and other information about pet care, adoption and the work PAW does, visit our website at:
Partnership for Animal Welfare, Inc.
P.O. Box 1074, Greenbelt, MD 20768