If you are advertising your pet On The Hot Wire, here are some tips and guidelines:
- Advertise through friends, neighbours, and local veterinarians and contact your local RSPCA for advice first; then try The Hot Wire. Your chances of finding a good home are increased when you check references with someone you know.
- Visit the prospective new home in order to get a feel for the environment in which your pet will be living. Explain that the pet is part of your family and that you want to make sure he or she will be properly cared for. Screen potential homes and buyers/adopters very carefully.
- Don’t be fooled. If anyone refuses to allow you to visit their home, do not place your pet with them. Individuals known as “bunchers” routinely answer “free-to-good-home” ads, posing as people who want family pets when, in actual fact, they sell pets to animal dealers. Dogfighters have also been known to obtain domestic animals for baiting through “free-to-good-home” ads. These people are professionals who may even bring children or their mothers with them when picking up pets. Individuals may also try to breed from undesexed ‘free to good home’ animals or they may be animal hoarders.
- Always be mindful of your own safety when you go to interview potential adopters/buyers or if you allow a prospective adopter/buyer to enter your home. Always have a friend or family member with you.
- Carefully consider all the elements of the new home: Will the person be able to meet all of your pet’s needs and give them a good quality of life? Will your pet get along with small children? Will your pet be treated as a pet and loved as part of the family? How will your pet be housed? Will they be able to meet all of your pet’s physical, social and behavioural needs? Does the family have a veterinary reference and a veterinary clinic they go to? Don’t be shy about asking questions. Your pet’s life and happiness depend on it. You want to ensure your pet will be treated as part of the family.
- Ask for a valid form of photo identification including a street address (preferably a driver’s license). Record the number for your records and require the new owner to sign a contract stating the requirements of adoption upon which both parties agree. As part of the contract, require the new owner to contact you if he or she decides at some point that they must give up the pet.
- Have your pet desexed (neutered or spayed) before he or she goes to the new home. This will make the animal more adoptable and help stop irresponsible breeding.
- If your pet is chronically ill or has behavioural problems, it may be difficult to find him a suitable home. A new owner may not be willing or able to deal with these issues, and it may also be difficult for the pet to adjust to a new home. The decision to humanely euthanize such a pet should not be made without thoughtful input from a veterinarian, a behaviourist, and the family, based on ensuring the welfare of the animal at all times.
Finding a quality home for your pet can be a difficult and time-consuming process. Remember: Your local animal shelter has 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.