Dallas Animal Services has launched a partnership with Home To Home, an online platform that allows residents to proactively rehome their pets when keeping them is no longer an option.
According to Dallas Animal Services, this free tool also helps prevent shelter overcrowding by transitioning pets directly from their old home to their new one, without ever entering the shelter.
The tool is now available for use through the DAS website.
"Though often necessary, surrendering a pet is painful for people and stressful for pets," DAS Director Ed Jamison said. "At DAS, we emphasize enrichment and quality of life for all the animals in our care, but a home environment is still the best place for a pet. This is why Home To Home™ is so revolutionary - pets go straight from one home to another, which means less anxiety for the pet and more peace of mind for their family."
Research conducted in 2018 by Pet Health, Inc. indicates that only 28% of dog owners and 27% of cat owners get their pets from animal shelters or rescues, while 31% of dogs and 25% cats were acquired through friends, Dallas Animal Services said.
Dallas Animal Services said the organization hopes to help owners leverage their social media networks to find a good home for their pet through a credible online rehoming option.
"Over the years, classified advertising websites have given pet rehoming a bad name," Jamison said. "While DAS will always accept owner surrenders from Dallas residents, we wanted to provide owners with a safe, responsible way to take matters into their own hands. Home To Home™ walks them through an adoption process similar to the one we use, facilitating meaningful conversations and helping them to find an adopter that is the right fit for their pet."
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With the Home To Home website, those needing to rehome pets fill out a brief form, upload a picture, click submit, and wait for potential adopters to reach out. The pet's profile can also be uploaded on social media, Dallas Animal Services said.
Dallas Animal Services said those looking to adopt a pet can use Home To Home's search feature, and they can easily communicate with the animals' current owners.
According to Dallas Animal Services, once a match is made, the owner and adopter can determine a safe way to transfer ownership using COVID-19 safety protocols.
Home To Home pet adoptions are free, and no money exchanging is required, Dallas Animal Services said.
"National industry research consistently proves that adoption fees don't lead to better outcomes for pets, it's quality conversations that really matter," Jamison said. "Our own data has demonstrated the same thing, which is why we often waive adoption fees for animals in our care. Instead of placing financial barriers between good adopters and deserving pets, we rely on our staff to have discussions that make good matches and set potential adopters up for success. Home To Home helps residents do the same thing."
Dallas Animal Services said staff will monitor the website to ensure that Home To Home's policies are being followed and that effective communication occurs between potential adopters and owners.
According to Dallas Animal Services, Home To Home will alleviate the need for some pets to be surrendered to a shelter, but it will not be suitable for all re-homing situations, such as those involving pets with special medical or behavioral needs.
Dallas Animal Services said it encourages those seeking to rehome a pet to first call 311 to speak with a representative from the Pet Support Call Center to identify local resources that could help the owner keep their pet, determine if Home To Home is the right fit, or make an owner surrender appointment at Dallas Animal Services.
"By helping owners rehome their healthy, social pets themselves, we will free up resources for pets with no other options," Jamison said.