Anyone who has been to an open-intake county or municipal shelter has been witness to the heartbreaking scene of watching people come in and abandon their pet. It’s true that many times cats and dogs end up at the shelter due to cruel, careless and irresponsible owners.
But the reasons and the stories behind having to give up the family pet can be varied and complicated and may include such challenges as the inability to pay for veterinary care , lack of access to resources, relocation, people whose health has failed or who have been given fatal diagnoses or quite possibly the death of the original pet owner. Some have lost their jobs and have to put their children’s and their needs ahead of their pet.
Miami-Dade County Animal Service’s Pet Surrender Prevention Program works to help people avoid having to give up their furry companion for reasons which vary from economic hardship to behavioral and emergency medical needs. Helping prevent owners from surrendering their precious pets is a win-win solution as it also helps ease the stray population and frees up space at the shelter.
The pets are photographed and the owner is asked to describe the pets’ behavior and habits. This information is then sent to rescue groups in hopes that they can take the pets in and find suitable homes for them. Owners are also advised on ways they themselves can try to find a good home for the pet, for example by putting the word out and asking family and friends, posting ads, through social media or even putting up flyers at vet offices around their neighborhood.
Those facing financial hardship may be offered help to find a rescue organization that can provide necessary health care for the pet or temporary assistance with pet food. The goal is to avoid having the pet enter the shelter in the first place.
Pet owners interested in learning more about the program can email firstname.lastname@example.org. In the email, please include the following information:
Pet owner’s name
Pet owner’s phone number
Pet owner’s email
Pet name, dog or cat, and age
For more information visit the Miami-Dade Animal Services website.