Thinking of Giving Up Your Pet?

If you believe you must find a new home for your companion animal or the stray you found, then you must be prepared to spend time and effort to do right by your friend. You once made a commitment to care for this living, breathing, feeling animal. It is worth every hour you spend to find him or her a decent home. You will sleep better at night.


For Military Personnel who have been deployed to active duty, there are programs that can help you keep your pets!

Is There Any Way To Keep Him/Her?

Below are many of the reasons that people choose to give up their pet. Many of these do have solutions and we encourage you to do everything possible to accommodate your pet or the stray into your household. If you need advice from us, please call us before you are to the point of total frustration.

Rental problems

Find a situation that allows pets. There are plenty of landlords who do allow pets. Take the time to find them. And if you're worried about a pet deposit, just think of this: what's worth more to you, a few fast-food meals or the life of a loyal friend?


Visit your doctor to find out if your allergies can be controlled through medication and/or diet. If medications do not help you entirely, then try these solutions: Allerpet/D, available in many pet stores and by mail order. Apply to pet's fur using washcloth once a week. It neutralizes the dander. Nature's Miracle works in a similar manner. Cats can be bathed in distilled water to remove their allergens. Talk with your veterinarian about these and other solutions to the allergy problem.

Unruly behavior

In most cases, the problems are quite solvable if you make a little effort. An animal is like a child. Set no boundaries, ignore him, give her nothing to do, teach him nothing...the child will not be well-adjusted and will not learn to behave. It is up to you to teach your animal kindly and consistently what is expected of him or her. Take obedience classes (contact local adult education centers and recreation centers, ask neighbors). Read a book. Practice frequently, with kindness and consistency. Most animals know how to act, we humans need to be trained in how to interact with our animals. Do not leave your items where your animal can eat them - it isn't the cat's/dog's fault if he/she can't distinguish between the blanket you have let him chew on in his crate and your favorite clothing. Consistency is the key. Positive reinforcement works faster than negative reinforcement.

Destructive behavior/house soiling/barking

Does your dog destroy things when you leave? Does your dog pee/poop in the house? Use a crate when you leave the dog alone. Crates have been proven over and over to be effective. A crate is worth every penny. Some people believe them to be cruel, but it is a naturally tendency for your dog to have a small sleeping area, a den. It is kinder than sending your dog away. If your dog is barking excessively, you need obedience instruction. Consider a trip to the vet. A medical problem can result in sudden behavior changes.

Shows aggression

You need obedience training and assistance. Remember: cats and dogs, like children, learn what they are taught. What caused the behavior? Does someone in your home rough-house with the animal? Play tug-of-war? Yell at the animal? Yell at other people or act violent? Does a child poke, tease or torment the animal? Or do you basically ignore the animal unless you're scolding or punishing him? Try to think about how your animal learned aggressive behavior, and find out proper techniques for eradicating it. If your pet is playing rough, you must stop the play and walk away. Spend quality time playing with the pet with appropriate toys. Consider a trip to the vet. But remember, this aggression did not appear overnight, so the solution will not fix the problem immediately. You must give your friend time to relearn appropriate behavior. A medical problem can result in sudden behavior changes

Litterbox accidents

How often do you clean out the box? Is the box in a high traffic area? Have you added additional cats without adding additional boxes? Have you changed brands of litter? All of these might cause litterbox accidents. If there have been no household changes to trigger this behavior, a trip to the vet is in order. Your cat may have feline lower urinary tract disease (cystitis) and needs treatment immediately - do not delay - your cat could die if he or she has this disease and is not treated.

Claws furniture

Have you provided your cat with appropriate surfaces (cardboard, sisal or carpeted cat scratching boards, trees)? Do you trim your cat's claws on a regular basis? The key is to make the scratching post more interesting than furniture - invest in good quality posts and treat the post with catnip. Cover furniture with throws to protect them during the training period. Use double-faced tape on edges of things kitty climbs on or scratches. Use furniture corner covers which can be bought at pet stores. Is your furniture really worth more than the life of a living, breathing, sentient being?

You Have Decided You Cannot Keep Him/Her

Do not expect someone else to take responsibility for finding a solution--you have to do it. Live up to the role of concerned caregiver. Do the right thing by the animal. If that means finding him/her a new home, do so carefully

Contact the group/person from whom you obtained pet. If you signed an adoption contract, you may be bound to return the animal to that group/person. If your animal is a purebred, check telephone book or contact local animal control agency for phone numbers of breed rescue groups in your area.

How Can HART Help?

The HART Owner Assistance Program (HOAP) can assist in finding a new home for your cat or dog.

What If HART Cannot Help?

If you resort to giving your dog/cat up to a Humane Society, or other shelter, put your name down on the adoption waiting list, to give your cat/dog an extra chance and so at least you will be called before he or she is euthanized. While some animals are lucky enough to be adopted from shelters, don't delude yourself: many are killed within days because there are too few adopters for the thousands of worthy animals hoping for a good home. And too many people are willing to give up a loyal friend.

Your Decision

Before you make your decision -- and it is your decision; your animal has no say -- think one last time what you can do to maintain your friend, companion animal in your home.