In an effort to keep adopted pets from returning to the shelter, the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control has launched a free online resource center to help pet owners who can no longer keep their pets.
While pet adoptions surged during the initial pandemic response as people in lockdown sought companionship, Animal Care & Control has since reported seeing a sharp rise recently in the number of dogs surrendered to shelters as pandemic lockdowns ease and more return to work.
“Surrendering pets to an animal care center can be a distressing experience for pet parents and stressful for their animals,” Director Marcia Mayeda said in a prepared statement. “By using Home to Home, pet parents can work directly with potential new adopters, communicate more thoroughly about their pet’s needs, and find a great new home for their pet.”
The interactive tool gives owners the opportunity to find their pets new forever homes, without the animals having to be turned in at a shelter.
Owners who need to rehome their pet can fill out a brief online form, upload a picture and submit it to the website, allowing those interested in adopting to find and connect with pets in need of a home, with built-in adoption guidelines to promote good communications and practices for rehoming animals.
Postings are then set to also be promoted on the Animal Care & Control website and through social media to get the word out to the community.
The Home to Home website is part of a program used among animal shelters and rescue organizations across the U.S. and joins other programs recently adopted by Animal Care & Control called “managed intake” that are now being used by the county’s shelters.
Of the recent changes is a policy under which owners must make an appointment at the shelter to surrender their pet, rather than just walking in.
Prior to appointments, staff have conversations with pet owners regarding potential resources to keep their pets in the home.
In some cases, Animal Care & Control may be able to provide those resources, such as veterinary care, supplies or temporary boarding to keep the pet in the home.
“Ultimately, we want to help pet owners make the best decision for their pet and their family, by providing resources, information and a helping hand,” Mayeda added in the statement.
Since managed intake was implemented, owner surrenders have decreased by 58% for dogs and 68% for cats, according to an Animal Care & Control report submitted to the county Board of Supervisors.