Dangers of “Free to Good Home” ads
You see them everywhere you turn, in the newspapers, on grocery store bulletin boards, and in a cardboard box at stores. Animals that are “Free to a good home”. Often these animals are puppies and kittens from irresponsible owners, cats and dogs that are no longer wanted, and of course the occasional good samaritan that found a lost dog or cat that they are unable to keep.
Placing a “free to good home” ad is down right dangerous. Often people known as “bouchers” (French for butchers) search the newspapers, the Internet, and bulletin boards for free animals, only to turn around and sell them to research laboratories, to illegally train fighting, hunting, and guard dogs, to sacrifice in cult rituals, and other cruel purposes. Yes this is indeed true, and it doesn’t just happen in the big cities. I am extremely offended by anyone who would want to get rid of their own animal, and even more offended by anyone who would allow their own animal to become pregnant. Remember pets are for life, and you permitted your animal to have puppies and kittens by not spaying, and by not keeping them indoors/supervised. However, if you are going to do this, I feel it needs to be done correctly.
If the animal(s) are strays that you have found, be sure you have done everything in your power to find the owner. Here are some tips to help locate the owner of a an animal that you have found.
So you have an animal that needs a good home, and the rescues and shelters are unable to help you? Here are some tips and advice to help you along.
Spay the mother cat or dog immediately! If your own pet has unwanted puppies or kittens, this isn’t the mother’s fault, it is your fault. Spay mom and if possible neuter dad to prevent anymore unwanted litters.
Take the animal(s) to the vet for full check-up, tests, vaccines, and schedule a spay/neuter appointment. The animal(s) should be in the best of health, and you should be able to provide proof to any potential families. If the animal(s) is/are too young to be spayed/neutered, check with your vet regarding a spay/neuter certificate to be presented to the family. You may also want to check local spay/neuter clinics, or animal rescues for a discount spay/neuter. The reason for spaying/neutering is not only for the health benefits, but also to prevent anymore unwanted animals.
Finding the Perfect Home
This can be a difficult task, but with some effort, you will be able to find your animal(s) the best home possible.
- When creating a flyer of the animal(s) be sure to list the animal’s information and qualities, and if possible provide a picture.
- Talk to your local veterinarian. Your vet has numerous people who are looking for a new pet. Ask if you can post the animal on the bulletin board.
- Do place ads in the newspapers, on bulletin boards, etc.. but leave out “FREE TO GOOD HOME”.
- Talk to local animal rescues and ask if you can bring the animal to one of their adoption fairs. Be sure to tell them the situation, that the animal(s) are vet checked, spayed/neutered etc. Let them know that you too will charge the rescue groups adoption fee, and the money will go to them, not you. Rescue groups will also help you along with the screening process.
- Do not place a free to good home ad. Instead have the potential family present to you a voucher in the sum of $25 or more from their primary vet (If the family does not have a vet due to never owning an animal before, give them your vet’s telephone number and address), sort of a good faith down payment on future veterinary care: immunizations, worming, check-up, etc. Have the potential family write a check or money order out ($5 or more) to a local animal rescue, shelter, or other animal organization. If someone claims they cannot do that, or cannot afford this, then they obviously do not have the money to provide life long care for the animal. Deny the adoption.
So now you have put much time, money, effort, and love into the animal(s), and you are going to give him/her to a total stranger? You will have to screen potential families. You can speak to them over the phone, or make a home visit. Remember, you are looking for a PERMANENT and RESPONSIBLE home. Be sure to tell the potential family the money agreement, be sure to tell the family the animal’s condition, and what vet care he/she has already received from you.
If you do not feel comfortable with the potential family, deny the adoption. You do not want to be up late wondering if it was indeed the perfect home. Let the family know you have other families interested and you will get back with them. Also be prepared for questions from the potential family, they will want to know why you no longer want the animal, if the animal is housetrained, been checked for worms, does he/she have fleas or ear mites, how well does he/she get along with other cats/dogs, children etc.
You have found the perfect home for your fostered animal. It is now time to finalize everything.
- Have an EXTRA copy of the animal’s vet record, including rabies certificate to present to the family. Keep a copy for yourself in case the animal is returned.
- Be sure to double check identification
- Make sure the primary caretaker reads and signs an, Adoption Agreement. (something like this) http://www.theanimalspirit.com/sample.html
- After the potential family reads and signs the adoption agreement, VERBALLY go over the agreement with them stressing that if at anytime they are unable to care for the animal, 5 days or 5 years, that the animal is to be given back to you, not given to a friend/family member, not to a rescue or shelters, and not dumped off in the streets. Stress that this is a LEGAL and BINDING agreement. (The primary caretaker that signs the contract must be 18 years or older, or the contract is null and void…make sure the primary caretaker is 21 years or older to be on the responsible side)
- Assure the family that you will make a copy of the adoption agreement and mail it to them within 2 days. Only give them a copy, not the original.
- Be sure to get their telephone number as well.
- Let the family know what type of food you are feeding the animal(s), which litter to use etc.
- After one week or two call the family back, and see how the animal is doing. This will also put your mind at ease, and let the family know you still have the animal’s best interest in mind. Continue making call backs every 2-3 months.
- If the animal was not spayed/neutered upon adoption, be sure to call their veterinarian at the appropriate time to see if the animal was spayed/neutered. If not, be sure to bring this up with the family on your call-back. There might be a problem, money, time etc…offer anything you can to make sure the animal is spayed/neutered. You may want to remind them that in the contract they agreed to spay/neuter the animal(s).