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New Pet Rehoming Website Aims To Keep Animals Out Of Local Shelters, Without Judgement

screen shot of rehoming website with images of dogs and cats in a grid with names and ages
Home To Home
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Cincinnati Animal CARE Humane Society

Tri-State animal shelters continue to deal with an influx of cats, dogs and other pets in search of new homes. Cincinnati Animal CARE Humane Society says demand is so high it has a waiting list for people wishing to surrender their animals.

To stem the flow of animals into shelters, it's debuting Home To Home, a website that allows pet owners to list their animals for rehoming so they can find new owners without ever going into a shelter.

"This really makes things a lot easier for the person looking to rehome," says Ray Anderson, media and community relations manager. "They can go on our rehoming website, they can upload photos of the pet, they can upload the bio, and the website does the work. People can go on there and look for pets if they're looking to adopt and they can also go on there to rehome their pet."

Anderson says requests for owner surrenders has been growing steadily and the current waitlist to surrender is several months out. The group's Northside shelter is "critically over capacity" and has been for three months, he says, pointing to the pandemic and economic issues.

"A lot of people are just seeing economic hard times," according to Anderson. "The most common thing that we see is housing changes. They have to sell their house and move to an apartment, or their landlord changed the lease agreement and they can't keep their pet anymore. Housing is the most common reason we see (for) pets needing to be surrendered."

He adds the website aims to take the judgment out of rehoming. The agency isn't posting why a pet is being rehomed unless it's related to the animal's behavior.

"We don't think that 'rehoming' should be a dirty word. Things happen, life happens. Things happen that are out of people's control. I think the last 18 months has shown that anybody's life can change in an instant."

The website is free, both to list an animal and to adopt one. The humane society points to research and nationwide best practices that show rehoming fees don't lead to better outcomes for pets. Shelter staff monitor the site, however, to make sure people are following the rules. They'll provide help to people listing animals and help vet potential adopters. The agency says the site creates a centralized place for people to find new homes for their pets rather than listing them on Craigslist or Facebook or other places where the pet's safety could be in question.

"We want people to know that if you need help, please reach out to us rather than doing something drastic like just letting an animal loose on the streets."

Home To Home is part of a national program already in use by shelters and rescues nationwide.