Although surrendering or re-homing should be the last resort of any pet owner, many owners who can no longer care for their pets are trying the rehome method versus surrendering to an animal shelter. Rehoming is a process where the pet owner advertises and promotes their pet(s) to the general public in hopes of finding their pet a new home without surrendering. The pet owner may place posts on Facebook, Nextdoor, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc., offering their pet for no cost to a new owner or asking for a rehoming fee. Many rehoming websites are available to help find a pet a new loving home.
Some charge a small amount as a rehoming fee to expedite the process, but pet owners will usually pass this expense on to the new owner. In the case where the pet owner has a sought-after breed like a Westie but can no longer keep the dog due to financial, health, or housing reasons, they may ask for a rehoming fee; however, the fee is usually much less than the cost from a breeder. The pet owner will also typically include all the pet accessories, including collars, leashes, bedding, toys, treats, food, etc. Sometimes, these items could be valued at over $500, so asking for a rehoming fee is not unreasonable.
Most pet owners will be diligent in their quest to secure a new pet parent for their dog or cat and will check out the potential adopter to ensure they are a good match for the pet. It’s not like the current parent is just giving the animal to anyone that shows up. They will ask many questions to eliminate any disconcerting feelings or future buyers’ remorse, so the pet is protected. Seeing pet owners who can genuinely no longer care for their pets explore the re-homing option before surrendering to the local animal shelter is very positive.
There are many reasons why people can no longer care for their pets. The number one reason is health issues of the current owner. I adopted my oldest dog Spencer from Halifax Humane Society, but he was surrendered because the owner was combating stage 4 cancer. She could no longer properly care for Spencer and felt it was best to surrender him before she passed. Spencer was already in pretty rough shape when I adopted him, but now, six months later, he has gained weight and grown back hair he lost due to mange. He has lots of energy for a dog his age and is very affectionate. His previous owner died just a few weeks after surrendering Spencer. He will spend whatever time he has left in the company of two other dogs and a mom and dad who love him very much.
Another reason people can no longer care for their pets is the economy. Some pet owners have lost their source of income and/or been forced to change their housing status. Maybe they were renting a home that allowed pets, but the landlord decided to sell the house to take advantage of the positive yield real estate market. Once sold, the new landlord decided to substantially increase the rent or now restrict pets at the property. The pet owners could not find a new home that was affordable and would allow pets, so they surrendering their pets.
Rehoming is different than giving your dog to your parents or friends. Rehoming is a transfer of ownership to a new responsible and liable party accepting the pets as their own. If the dog they received bites anyone, they assume the liability, not the original pet owner. Unfortunately, pets are still considered personal property, so once the property transfers hands, the seller is no longer responsible unless they agree to a post-sale guarantee. Rehoming contracts are available online or from rehoming service websites.
Rehome, don’t release. Adopt, don’t shop.
Barry KuKes is the Community Outreach Director for the Halifax Humane Society in Daytona Beach. He can be reached at 386. 274.4703, ext. 320, or at barryk@hali fax humanesociety.org