Help for dog owners who find themselves in a situation where they have a dog they have to get rid of and are trying to find a shelter that will take the dog but not kill it. How to get rid of an unwanted dog? Where can I take my dog without worrying that they will kill it? Help for dog owners who cannot keep their dog.
If you have a dog that you can no longer care for and are considering taking it to an animal shelter, you may be in fear that it will be euthanized. Sadly, because more dogs are surrendered to most animal shelters than there are homes for some will likely be put down, and as such dog owners do have several reasons to be concerned about their dog.
First of all it is important to note that giving dog away to a stranger can be even more risky than taking it to an animal shelter. Although some people answering “Free to Good Home” ads will turn out to be good owners, some are not. People looking for bait animals to use when training their fighting dog to kill will often take free pets, as will those looking for dogs to sell to research labs. Never give your dog away for free to a person you do not know. At least either charge a nominal fee or ask to do a “home check” before approval. Always get their name, address, and phone number and check to make sure these are legitimate if you are giving a dog away for free.
Note that some dogs, when given to an animal shelter, have a very high rate of getting adopted. In most areas this includes small, non-shedding dogs, particularly if they are younger. In most areas large, mixed breed, older dogs, have the most difficult time getting adopted.
Some animal shelters have a waiting list of people who are looking to adopt a particular type of dog, so you can try calling them to ask about your dog’s chances or if they allow you to contact people on their waiting list rather than bringing the dog to them to surrender it.
Another thing you can do before surrendering your dog to the animal shelters is contact the person you got it from. If your dog is a purebred, and came from a reputable breeder, the breeder might take it back. Most good dog breeders will actually state this in their sale contract.
If your dog is a purebred, but the breeder will not take it back, you can try contacting a breed rescue for your breed of dog.
Finally try to look for a no-kill, or low-kill animal shelter. You can phone the local animal shelter (SPCA, or Humane Society) in your area and ask if they are “no-kill”. If so, ask if they have room for your dog, if not, ask if they know of a no-kill shelter in your area. Many no-kill shelters are so full that they have waiting lists of people with pets to surrender and will sometimes turn away certain breeds of dogs if they already have several of that breed, consider them less adoptable, or if the dog is simply not a type they generally deal with.
In some cases there may not be a no-kill shelter in your area and you may have to search for one outside your area. You can look on websites such as petfinder.com were animal shelters often list their adoptable pets and try to find a shelter that way.
Be aware of people who are really pet hoarders but will offer to take your dog. Sometimes these people call themselves a no-kill shelter but they often take on a burden of more dogs than they can handle and these dogs often end up suffering in the long run. A hoarder will generally keep the dogs without really trying to find them new homes.
Do note that a spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated, healthy, and well mannered, dog will have an easier time of being adopted than a dog who does not have these qualities.
Do be aware that if your dog is unsafe, or very old, the kindest thing may be for you to take it to a vet for euthanasia rather than having it sit, afraid, in a no-kill shelter.