Tips for groups that allow pet posts

Goal: To place pets in the best possible homes and avoid sending them to the animal shelter.

If your group decides to allow pet posts, keep in mind that owners who are giving up their pets are usually going through a hard enough time and will shy away from someone who comes on too strong. Your role is to be available, helpful and supportive.

Approaching posters offering pets

Always respond to any post concerning pets. Most of the time, the poster will be delighted to hear from you. If they don't respond, don't worry. You've let them know you're available to help in any way you can.

Offering help to Posters so they can keep their Pets

Many times someone will want to place their pets because of behavior problems with their pets. Be familiar with local clubs, groups and businesses that offer obedience training. Sometimes that's all it takes for a "wild child" to stay with their family.

There are also many apartment complexes, and condo associations that have placed limits on the size, breed, or kind of pets their tenants can have. Many times the managers can be "brought around" to allowing the pet to be kept if the owner is willing to abide by simple rules such as scooping up after them, crate training so that the pet doesn't potty on the carpet when no one is home or chew the place to shreds, or even just being willing to leave a stereo on so the dog doesn't think they've been abandoned.

Also find out if it's a financial issue. There are groups out there who are willing to help someone keep their pet by supplying food on a case-by-case basis. It's better to help the pets stay in their homes than house them and find new families for them.

Helping posters find a new family for a pet

Encourage folks offering pets to ask questions about a potential adopter's family! How many people are there in the family? How many children and their ages? Who will actually be responsible for the day-to-day care of the pet? If it's for a child, will the parents double check to make sure they're caring for their new friend? Have they had pets before? Where will the pet be living? Do they plan to keep the dog outside in a pen all the time? What kind of food do they plan to feed? Are there other pets in the home? Do they have personal or vet references? Are they willing to make a personal visit to the animal's new home is recommended before the pet is transferred? If it's an exotic pet do they have experience with them or are they willing to learn how to care for them properly?

Suggest that once they've narrowed the list of possible new families, they go visit the home before placing their pet. There are all kinds of things they can see that will tell them if this is the right family for their fur kid. How do the kids behave at home? Did they say the dog would be an inside dog but there's a pen out back? If they have other pets they'll be able to see how those pets are being cared for. The poster will also be able to see any hazards that may cause harm to the dog.

From there, suggest the poster invite the possible new family over to meet the dog. Not just Mom & Dad, but the children as well. If the dog falls in love with the new family, it's the right ones! Animals are smart…they know who's best for them. Watch their responses to the new folks! When it's right, you, your dog and the adopters will know it.

Rescue groups

For dogs

Get familiar with the American Kennel Club. They have a list of purebred breed clubs whose members are dedicated to helping protect their breed of dog. Each breed club also runs a rescue group. These rescue folks are FANTASTIC! They go out of their way to ensure that any dog placed with them goes to the best family for that dog. They also make sure the dogs are healthy, up to date on their shots and spayed or neutered before being placed. It is usually free to place a dog in their rescue program.

For other animals

Do a search for national animal clubs like the American Rabbit Breeders Association. Once you find one, check for local chapters or affiliated groups. There should be a rescue organization or people who can help you place an animal with them.

Petfinder also has a searchable list of rescue groups in each state with good details on the group's page about what animals they take.


There are many wonderful shelters across the country. To find some in your area, check out Once you've found them, check them out. Are they a "No Kill" Shelter? What's their placement rate? Do they foster pets or do the pets live in pens at the shelter? Don't hesitate to call or visit. You'll be able to recommend a shelter if the poster can't find the right home or is in immediate need.

Establish a good relationship with the shelters in your area. If they know you, and you know them, when you recommend them, they are more likely to accept someone's pet faster, especially if there's a space shortage.



Local laws regarding fighting and "dangerous breeds" of dogs

Get to know your local laws! If you have someone who offers a dog that is considered a "dangerous breed" or one that is commonly fought this dog requires special attention. Make certain you let the poster know about the laws! Do it in a kind and compassionate way, but please…. make sure they have the information!

In North Carolina, dog fighting is considered a felony offense. Even worse is that if the police discover who "provided" the dog for fighting, they can arrest the original owner as well as the person actually fighting the dog. The charges can be harsh and the fines are steep.

Dangerous breed laws are also a problem. In some areas of the country entire breeds are being banned from towns, cities and counties. They include Dobermans, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, German Shepherds, Boxers, American Staffordshire Terriers (which look a whole lot like what most people call a Pitt Bull) and Pitt Bulls. There are many others that are also considered dangerous. Check your local laws to be sure what breeds are included. Insurance companies can also demand extra coverage or cancel someone's policy if they own one of the "dangerous breeds".

Is this type of pet legal to own in your area?

Take the time to learn what animals can be legally owned in your area. The best place to find out what animals are illegal to own is your local Animal Control Office, either on the web or by calling.

For example:

Quaker Parrots are illegal in TN

Many species of snakes are illegal to own, especially poisonous ones.

Only a federally licensed sanctuary can keep Wolves and Wolf Dogs in most states.

If someone posts an offer or wanted for an illegal animal, tell him or her that it is illegal to own that particular animal. They may not know. Then refuse the post. You don't want to get involved in any problems farther down the line.

Suggested Pet Post Guidelines

These are the guidelines that we established after many long discussions. Feel free to adopt them for your own group.

  1. No wanteds or offers for animals to be used as feeder food. (MANDATORY)
  2. No wanted or offers for animals to be used for breeding purposes. (MANDATORY)
  3. No Wanted posts for illegal animals. (MANDATORY)
  4. No wanted posts for any exotic animal that requires special knowledge or care to keep them healthy unless it's from someone who has extensive experience with them.
  5. Keep an eye out for possible "Pet Collectors" or members seeking to "unload" a large number of pets. We've all seen them on TV: the person who has more pets than they can provide quality care for. One way to identify a "pet collector" is that it's someone who is always posting wanted for animals. Especially the ones who say things like "I'll be happy to take any animal".
  6. Finally, it is highly recommended that you visit the home of the adopter before consenting to the adoption.

As you can see, these are very common sense rules. Use your head, your heart, and your common sense and folks will be delighted to work with you.

Click here for sample responses for pet posts

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