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Norwich Bulletin - 4/29/2007

Free to a Good Home?

So something has happened in your life that you feel necessitates finding your beloved dog, cat, ferret, bunny, hamster or snake another home? Perhaps it is because your relative has passed or gone into a nursing home and you don't want to take care of their animal or it hasn't adjusted to your multi animal home.

Perhaps you are moving and forgot that you have pet that needs to go with you, a new husband or wife is allergic or you are going through a divorce and no one has time to think about the family pet. A lot of times we here that the person did not think that an animal was going to take so much time or they can't train their dog, or cannot afford to feed their pet.

Most people think that their reason is valid and are surprised when rescue organizations do not agree to take the animal. So all of a sudden there are a multitude of "FREE TO GOOD HOME" advertisements in the newspapers, on the internet and flyers at the supermarket. The thinking seems to be that by offering a free pet, it will be easier to find someone to offer that pet a good home.

There are no statistics to support this type of thinking. Unfortunately, what we do know that dogs and cats are very much in demand for medical research. The United States Department of Agriculture licenses "collectors" of such pets as Class B Dealers. Class B Dealers can sell these animals for hundreds of dollars each to universities and medical laboratories for experiments.

In some states it is even legal for these dealers to go to a shelter and take dogs and cats that are scheduled for euthanasia! But in the other states, such as Connecticut, the Free to a Good home animal is just what the Class B Dealer is looking for. Of course, you will never know that the nice man with his daughter is really a dealer and that your pet is about to go off to a short, painful life!

Sadly, there is also another group of people who are looking for the FREE pet. Those with illegal fighting dogs. Connecticut does have illegal fighting dog rings and free dogs are wanted as "pit bait" to help train their dogs to be vicious. They also use cats and bunnies for the same purpose. You can find out more about this at www.pet-abuse.com.

Before finding another home for your pet consider other options if you at all can. There are far too many animals and not enough homes so somehow keeping your pet or finding another family member to do so is really the best answer. There are many things one can do to keep an animal if there are allergies in the home, there are websites that help people all of the country find apartments that allow pets.

If you need help training your dog, take it to obedience classes. In other words, put a little time and effort into keeping that pet you brought into your home. After all, you made a commitment to that animal to care for him as long as he lives.

If you absolutely must find a new home for your pet, take a nice photo, make flyers and post them at veterinarian offices, groomers, or other animal related stores. Make sure your flyer says "VET REFERENCES WILL BE CHECKED." Do not say the pet is free and do not name a price. When people call, ask lots of questions about family members, ages, other pets, how they lost their last animal, do they rent, are pets allowed, etc.

You need to know if the home is more stable than yours because you want your pet to only have to move one more time before it has its forever home. ALWAYS CHECK VET REFERENCES. You have the right to do that and it is the best way of being assured this animal that has lived in your home and loved you, will actually be going to a new family. You owe it to your pet.

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