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To improve the lives of the animals in our care, be timely and compassionate in our responses, educate the public through community outreach and, provide for the health and safety of the citizens and animals of Ventura County.

Re-Homing Tips

Dog and CatIf you’ve arrived at the decision to re-home your pet, there are certain steps you can take without surrendering your pet to an animal shelter.

When needing to re-home your pet, it’s in their best interest for you to find their new home without them ever leaving your side. Doing this allows you to: play a role in placing your pet with a new family, reduce stress of transition for your pet, and frees up resources for other pets at Ventura 
County Animal Service.

First, lets increase your pet's 'Adoptability' to get them re-homed quicker!

     Spay/Neuter: Increase your pet’s adoptability by having him/her already spayed or neutered. Mercy Crusade is a local non-profit organization that offers low-cost Spay and Neuter services.
     Vaccinations: Make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations. VCAS holds monthly Low-Cost Vaccination Clinics.
     AppearancesPets that are bathed and groomed tend to get re-homed quicker.
     Network: The more people who know your pet needs a new home the greater the chances you’ll find one. Tell your friends, family and co-workers that you’re unable to keep your pet. Many times a close acquaintance will give your loved-one a new home. This is no time to be shy!
     Photos: A picture of your pet on the sofa, resting comfortably makes their adoptability factor go through the roof.
     Post Flyers: Create Your Flyer Here. Write a short, honest, biography about your pet. Be clear on what your pets’ needs are. (if you’re untruthful, your pet may end up sick or worse) Flyers should include 1) Animal name, age, breed, species, spay/neuter status, vaccination status, 2) likes and dislikes, 3) food preferences, 4) preferred toys, 5) training/commands, 6) define any limitations: (e.g. not good with cats, small children, other dogs…) 7) Your contact information. Post flyers at work, your family and friend’s workplaces, grocery stores, department store, dog parks, hiking trials, vet offices, pet supply stores, grooming shops, malls, etc. – anywhere you can find a public bulletin board.
     Promote: Now that you have a digital flyer you just made, you can post the flyer just like a photo on your Social Media pages. You can ask shelters and Animal Rescues if they can do a courtesy post for you.
     A Potential Adopter: Great! You’ve found an interested party. When someone responds to your flyer, you have an opportunity to interview him or her. Do an initial interview over the phone before meeting in person. By doing so, you can eliminate unsuitable potential adopters early on.
     In-Person Meeting: Use caution when you consider meeting unknown individuals. Meet in a public place (coffee shops area great) and ask questions to screen potential adopters (oh, and don't bring your pet with you). You may also require an adoption fee to deter unscrupulous individuals. You can donate the adoption fee to a local animal shelter. Use your gut instincts! Ask questions to ensure the they meet the qualifications you seek in a new owner. Doing so will ensure that your pet’s well-being will be met in his/her new home. The following are questions to ask in a conversational style, rather than as a questionnaire.

Interview Questions:640x434
1) Is the pet for you or someone else?
If the pet is for someone else, you should speak directly to that person. A gift of a live animal for another person can be a terrible mistake. If the pet is for a child, tell the person that the pet needs to be seen as a family pet, not exclusively the child's. Parents need to realize that they must be willing to take on the responsibility for the day-to-day care of the animal for the rest of its life. Children can be involved in the animals care, but often their attention span is sporadic.

2) If there is a yard, is it fenced in? 
If they do not have a fenced yard, then there is a possibility that the dog might wander off or end up being chained up outside. We consider this a cruel fate for any dog, and we are sure you will not want yours to end up this way.

Will the dog or cat be an indoor or outdoor pet?
Pets are domestic animals and need to have human contact. Outdoor pets should not be outdoor 100% of the time. They should have shelter, fresh water, food and toys to keep them occupied.

4) Will they be willing to walk the dog on a leash regularly?
This point also applies to apartment dwellers. Many dogs and all cats do very well in apartments but they should know that energy level is directly proportional to how frequent or infrequent the dog is exercised. Just being outdoors does not mean they are getting exercise.

Have you had pets before? If so, what has happened to them? 
Responses to these questions can be very revealing about the person’s level of responsibility. We have found that letting people talk allows them the opportunity to give you information freely. You might start by saying, "Do you have other pets at home? What do you have?" From these answers, you can determine whether the pet you are placing will fit into this household. If you are trying to place a dog who hates cats, and they have cats, this is obviously not a good match. If they do not have pets now, ask if they have ever had them and ask where they are now. You might start to see a pattern. If they say, "Oh, my last three dogs were run over/got out." You are not looking at a responsible owner. One negative incident in the past would not immediately rule that person out. Accidents can happen to even the most caring people. On the other hand, they might tell you of the pets they had until they died at a ripe old age. This will tell you that these people are willing to make the commitment to an animal for its whole life.  You can even ask to see photos of their previous pets. Most animal-lovers have a plethora of pet pics to share!

6) What would you do if the pet got sick?
This is a rather easy question to answer, but this is an important question to ask nonetheless. If you get any answer other than “I’d take him to the veterinarian”, you may need to ask follow-up questions or disqualify them.

Do you have children? If so, what are their ages? 
Children can be either a blessing or a curse to a pet! Small children often do not know how to differentiate between a live animal and a stuffed one. And even the most vigilant parent can't watch the child all the time. This will be your own judgment call with the pet you are placing. An adult cat or dog, which is used to being around small children, makes a wonderful family pet. The adult animal is usually more tolerant of toddlers’ inquiring hands pulling at his/her tail or ears. If the animal you are placing has had any kind of biting or nipping incident around children, it would be irresponsible to place that animal in a home with children. The prospective owner needs to be aware of the history of the animal, as even an adult-only home may receive visits from grandchildren or neighborhood kids. 

How many hours would the animal be alone during the day? 
The number of hours that an animal will be alone during the day needs to be taken into account. Young dogs and cats can get very lonely and destructive! Dogs are pack animals and need a lot of companionship from either the family or another pet. Many adoptions do not work out for this reason. A lonely, bored dog or puppy can chew through the couch, rip up the carpet, and destroy table legs, just for something to do! The need to be aware of this and be encouraged to make provisions for a young dog or cat while the family is away at work or school. Perhaps a neighbor could spend some time with the animal during the day until they are an adult.

Do you own your own home or are you renting? Does your lease allow pets?
If a person is renting, their lease MUST allow for pets. Do not accept, "Oh, our landlord doesn't care, lots of people have pets." Also, you will need to determine if there are any size requirements, i.e. under 20 lbs for dogs. Again, it is not fair to the pet you are placing to put him/her in a situation where he/she is at risk. We have known people who try to sneak a pet by the landlord, only to be found out. So you are back where you started, or the animal ends up at the shelter.

Are you willing to have me come to your home to see where the animal will be living? If they are unwilling then immediately rule them out for adoption. If they are willing, bring 2-3 friends or adult family members with you as you are entering the home of a stranger.

Would you consider declawing a cat? 
Declawing a cat is cruel. Most people just need to be informed about correct height of a scratching post (as tall as the cat when fully extended). Clipping the claws regularly and providing lots of toys for play and stimulation can decrease furniture damage. Most people are unaware of the pain and suffering involved with the declawing procedure. Declawing is inhumane!

Inside or outside cat? 
Cats that go inside and outside don’t live as long as those who are “indoor cats”. All cans should be Indoor Cats! Outdoor cats are vulnerable to disease, traffic accidents, attacks by dogs, accidental or deliberate poisonings... A cat that stays indoors can live up to twenty years.

13) Success
: When you find an individual or family who meets your and your pet’s needs, ask for identification and contact information to follow-up on how your pet is doing in their new home. Don’t forget to transfer ownership at the Animal Shelter. This way, the new family will receive the License Renewal bills, and not you.

Animal Rescue OrganizationsAnimal Rescue Organizations
Local Animal Rescue Organizations ("Rescues) help families re-home pets all the time. Some deal with specific breeds or special needs pets while others have no breed preference. Organized by dedicated individuals who have extensive knowledge, these groups provide a variety of opportunities for your pet. Some "rescues" have actual stores while others are 100% foster-based. Find Animal Rescue groups near you to learn what they have to offer by utilizing Petfinder-Rescue Search. Simply enter your zip code and enter in the species, breed or condition (e.g. senior, blind, etc.).

Please understand that many rescues do NOT have vacancies due to the unfortunate number of pets in the system. Don’t give up! Ask when you can call back. Ask to be put on a list. If your pet is already neutered, vaccinated, bathed and clipped, they are more likely to take your pet. Ask rescue groups if they could do a courtesy post for you. They might even be willing to help screen potential adopters or at least give you a few pointers on what to look out for. But there is more that you can do yourself!

Never abandon your animal. Abandonment is cruel and against the law. If you are still unable to make it work with your pet or not are able to re-home him/her, please contact our Pet Retention Coordinator (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). But remember, surrender is the LAST RESORT, not the first. Some pets will live at a shelter for well over a year so be certain that surrendering your pet is the last resort.

Thank you for being a responsible parent and following these steps to help re-home your four-legged loved one.

Additional Re-Homing Resources: