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Along with toilet paper and home improvement products, puppies and other pets are in great demand during this whole Covid-19 nightmare we’ve been living for the past nine months. Ever since the initial lockdowns back in March, there has been an unprecedented demand for family pets. Here at our shelter, small dogs and non-bully breed dogs are flying out of here within hours of becoming available. At one-point last month we had a small breed puppy that was viewed on our site 14,000 times in less than eight hours and for which we received more than 800 online applications.

The down side of this hunger for pets is the tremendous opportunity it has created for scammers and illegitimate rescues. Just like any other commodity that suddenly becomes hot on the market, the supply of pets, especially puppies and small breed dogs, has become prone to exploitation. The abuses are too involved to cover in this column but one of the most problematic issues is that of so called rescues claiming they are saving dogs by bringing them up from “kill shelters” down south, when in fact, they are actually purchasing them at auctions.

Now that the holidays are here, there are even more folks looking to bring a new pet home, so let’s discuss how to pursue that properly. Everybody’s shopping online these days and there are plethora of websites out there selling or adopting out pets.

First, go to shelter websites within your preferred driving distance, you may be surprised to find just what you’re looking for. If you’re unsuccessful there, check out reputable breeders and rescues.

There are a few key elements to identifying “reputable” entities; don’t hesitate to ask questions and ask for references. Applying for a pet should not be a one-way interrogation.

Get a veterinary reference for the breeder or rescue. If the vet’s office doesn’t want to give out information, ask the rescue or breeder to give the office permission to provide a reference. Ask what the return policy is; they should always want their animals returned if for any reason it doesn’t work out.

She was told the dog was spayed. It was not. She was told the hair loss on the dog’s back was from rubbing against the crate. It turned out to be a contagious fungal infection. The dog has severe separation anxiety. The dog was shipped up from Texas in a truck, arrived on Friday and adopted out the following day. It’s bad enough that the rescue didn’t verify the spaying and hair loss issue, but they also took no time to evaluate the animal’s disposition to insure a good fit with the adopter.

I know from experience that potential adopters that do their research are much more likely to adopt an animal that best fits their lifestyle and keep them for their entire lifespan.

Finally, no matter who or where you get a new pet from, take it to your own veterinarian for a thorough heath check immediately.

Shelter needs: Canned dog and cat food (pate’ style), hot dogs, real cheese singles, plain yogurt, cream cheese, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and gift cards for grocery and pet supply outlets.

Source: South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter: Planning to adopt? Do your research!

Posted in 2020, SJRAS Articles