Free is a Dangerous Thing...

This article gives the reality of what a pet may endure if given away free and tips on re-homing a pet, if it should become necessary.

When we make the decision to take in a pet we have chosen to be the pet's guardian and that is a commitment. A responsibility that some do not take seriously. Unfortunately, we live in an age of disposable goods… things are acquired for the instant satisfaction and then discarded without a second thought. Animals are not goods and should not be treated as such.

There are times that perhaps re-homing a pet needs to be done but it is something that should not be taken lightly. I agree that there may be people who truly want a pet but cannot afford a fee… this excuse is plausible when it comes to purchasing a pet from a store or breeder but an adoption fee is a minor expense, when you consider that in most cases you get a pet who is spayed or neutered, up-to-date on vaccinations and has had a recent health check.

Shelters were created to assist in housing the lost, abused and neglected… not to take in peoples throw away animals and problems. Yes, the shelter is a better alternative than giving the animal to a lab, have it used as snake food or end up in a fighting ring, BUT this pet is YOUR responsibility and yours only. No one is casting this animal away, but you. If you honestly can not look deep inside to work this out then at least re-home the animal in a responsible manner.

NEVER offer the pet for free… there are many whacked out people who can pose as a good family and take your pet and dismember it, torture it, sell it to a lab, use it as bait for fighting dogs or use it as snake food. Instead ask a small adoption fee, this can be donated to a shelter/rescue. Also have an adoption application and interview. The weirdo's will want to avoid that and it's well worth the time of finding your beloved pet a good home. We all have heard the horrid stories of the abuse of animals and the things they have been used for… not only elsewhere but even in our own locales.

What can happen to a pet that is given free to a casual, uncommitted owner?

*Abandoned to the streets. This is the most likely scenario that occurs when an uncommitted owner tires of a pet. Street animals suffer every day of their short lives. The end always comes painfully, either from lack of food, violent trauma or from lingering disease.

*Handed over to Animal Control and euthanized. People who do not take their responsibilities seriously always take the easy way out!

*Marginally Owned. The pet will not be cared for properly and is often allowed to roam the streets.

*Abused. The owner will not make the effort to properly train the animal. Often this leads to inappropriate responses from the owner and abuse of the pet when it "misbehaves".

Next, be aware that there are dishonest people who routinely obtain animals for profit by fraudulently answering "Free to Good Home" ads. They are usually very persuasive and friendly. They know all the "right" answers to your questions because they do this sort of thing on a regular basis. Some may even bring their kids along to make you think they are a loving family!

The most important thing you can do to discourage this kind of person is to charge an adoption fee! This makes it much more difficult for them to realize a profit so they will usually not bother contacting you.

What can happen to an animal if you let one of these con artists have it?

*Used to "live train" fighting dogs. The animal you expected to be a pet is used to bait a fighting dog and is literally torn to pieces.

*Sold at Flea Markets or Auctions to anybody who happens along. Most of the time, these animals are neglected, kept in cramped, unsanitary conditions and often become sick and diseased.

*Sold to a Class-B Dealer who then resells the animal to a research facility. People who practice the despicable act of rounding up strays to sell them are referred to as "Bunchers". At the research facility, the animal may suffer abuse and most likely will be euthanized after they are finished with it.

*Used for breeding stock in a "Puppy Mill". The living conditions in most of these establishments are deplorable. Female dogs have continuous litters, one after another.

*Used as live food or bait for exotics like snakes or alligators.

*Sacrificed in cult rituals. Some people find this hard to believe, but the FBI has many files documenting this kind of activity in our country.

Tips to help avoid a bad new home:

*Have an adoption application. You can get one from any shelter or rescue or on the net. Have potential adopters complete one, have it in your advertisement for a new home. This will weed out undesirable people. If you have any reservations about someone… go with your instinct and do not adopt to them.

* Ask an adoption fee. This fee can cover shots, spay or neuter. It can be donated to the shelter or even returned upon a year of new ownership.

*Take the pet to the new home… don't let them pick up the new pet. This way you can make sure the home is safe and the adopters are not lying.

*Have the pet spayed or neutered before leaving you to be sure this is actually done.

*Have a contract signed. You can have the new adopters sign a contract stating the pet will be returned to you if they cannot keep the pet or if the pet cannot be properly cared for.

*Enlist the assistance of a shelter or rescue. They will do everything listed above, you just need to be a temporary foster home to your pet while they find it a home. Plus you will need to bring the pet to adoption days. Each shelter/rescue is different please check them.

If you do these things, you'll have greater success in finding a good home. And last, please do not get another pet until the responsibility and the commitment is there.

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