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    Pet adoption


    • Pet adoption is the process of taking responsibility for a pet that a previous owner has abandoned or released to a shelter or rescue organization. Common sources for adoptable pets are animal shelters and rescue groups. Some organizations give adopters ownership of the pet, while others use a guardianship model wherein the organization retains some control over the animal's future use or care.

      Also available is online pet adoption. These sites have databases of pets being housed by thousands of animal shelters and rescue groups, and are searchable by the public. They include Petfinder.org, Let's Adopt and Adopt-a-Pet.com.

      Pets are taken to animal shelters for many reasons.

      People deal with their unwanted pets in many ways. Some people have the pet euthanized (also known as putting it down or putting it to sleep), although many veterinarians do not consider this to be an ethical use of their resources for young and healthy animals, while others argue that euthanasia is a more humane option than leaving a pet in a cage for very long periods of time. Other people simply release the pet into the wild or otherwise abandon it, with the expectation that it will be able to take care of itself or that it will be found and adopted. More often, these pets succumb to hunger, weather, traffic, or common and treatable health problems. Some people euthanize pets because of terminal illnesses or injuries, while others even do it for common health problems that they cannot, or will not, pay for treating. More responsible owners will take the pet to a shelter, or call a rescue organization, where it will be cared for properly until a home can be found. Homes cannot always be found, however, and euthanasia is often used for the excess animals to make room for newer pets, unless the place has a no-kill policy. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 3-4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the US because of a lack of homes. Animal protection advocates campaign for adoption instead of buying animals in order to reduce the number of animals who have to be euthanized. Many shelters and animal rescues encourage the education of spaying or neutering a pet in order to reduce the number of animals euthanized in shelters and to help control the pet population.



      • Pets found loose or stray without identification, and which are unclaimed by any owner
      • Advertisements placed by individuals trying to find a new home for their pet
      • Pets that have been abused or neglected and have been confiscated from the offending owner
      • Excessive and/or insufficiently selective breeding: Backyard breeders are a leading cause of overpopulation because they usually produce more dogs than they can sell and often produce animals that do not meet prescribed breed standards.
      • Death: Owner dies and no one in the family wants to (or can) keep the pet.
      • Changed circumstances: Financial or living arrangements change drastically and people feel they can no longer provide an appropriate home for the pet. This might also include someone having to move to a new living situation where pets are not allowed.
      • Second thoughts: A pet purchased on the spur of the moment or as a gift for another person (frequently for Christmas). Often the owner discovers that caring for the pet is much more work than expected, or requires more space or exercise than they are prepared to give.
      • Lost pet: Pet leaves home or cannot find its way back, and carries no identification tags or microchip. The owner does not succeed in finding it (or makes no attempt to do so). See also Lost pet services.
      • Health: The owner experiences severe health problems that make it impossible to care for the pet. Or the pet itself is diagnosed with a medical condition the owner is not prepared or willing to address.
      • Practice babies: Shelters use this term for animals that have been adopted by couples and which are then abandoned when the couple separates, or when a human baby comes along and the owners no longer have the time or inclination to care for their pet.
      • Moving across borders: People leave the country; quarantine laws in some countries can be traumatic to pets and owners, so to avoid the stress, the pet is surrendered to an animal shelter (and subjected to the stresses of shelter life). A perverse effect of the interaction between some regions' vaccination laws and others' laws governing animal importation is that some jurisdictions require that animals of one or more species be vaccinated against disease including rabies while others prohibit the importation of animals of that same species who have already received vaccinations against one or more of those diseases.
      • Allergies: Many owners claim that they or their children were allergic to their pets without knowing that fact before acquiring them or have developed allergies to their pets since acquiring them.
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