For any number of reasons, a pet owner may need to find a new home for their animal. And that reality can be as traumatic for the owner as the pet, especially if it means the animal has to relocate to the shelter while they await their new forever home.
To help "give pet owners who can no longer keep their pets the opportunity to find new, loving homes without having to surrender them to the shelter," Cincinnati Animal CARE Humane Society — Hamilton County's animal welfare group — has launched the website Home To Home.
Home To Home is a rehoming site for dogs, cats and other animals where owners can fill out an online form with the animal's information and a photo, and those searching for a new pet can browse bios. There are no rehoming fees, and current owners can directly communicate with potential new pet parents to find a best fit.
“There has been a steady increase in owner surrenders over the past year. We see the immense stress people are under when they need to surrender their dogs or cats to us. And as much as we like to think our shelter is a happy place, it isn’t a home and can be stressful for the animals," says Meaghan Colville, Director of Lifesaving Operations at Cincinnati Animal CARE, in a release.
Colville says the No. 1 reason that owners leave their pets with the shelter is an "unavoidable change in living situations." And if owners need to find a new family for their animal due to a move or relocation, they can try this service first before surrendering the pet.
Cincinnati Animal CARE moderates the site and helps promote available pets on its Facebook page.
In addition to providing a potentially less stressful situation, Home To Home also frees up space in Cincinnati Animal CARE's Northside shelter for animals who need to go there, such as "strays and those suffering from neglect or abuse," says the organization in a release.
Ray Anderson, Cincinnati Animal CARE's media and community relations manager, says there are currently nine animals posted on Home To Home. And the shelter itself is at "code red" — and has been since June.
Cincinnati Animal CARE is committed to being no-kill and, for the welfare of the animals, aims to house only one dog per kennel. It considers the shelter at "code red" when there are 10 empty kennels or fewer.
"The code red level is the worst it's ever been. As of yesterday, the count was -26 open kennels, with every emergency kennel being used, every office being used, and pop-up crates being used throughout the facility wherever there is air conditioning," Anderson tells CityBeat. "We've taken in 209 animals in the last 10 days, which is essentially our entire in-shelter capacity for dogs and cats."
Cincinnati Animal CARE is open noon-6 p.m. daily for no-appointment adoptions. Officials are also actively seeking fosters for animals in the shelter.
And, regardless of "code" status, Cincinnati Animal CARE says if an animal needs to be surrendered to the shelter, call Community Support staff at 513-541-7387.
Home To Home is a national network and Cincinnati Animal CARE's site is funded by a Maddie's Fund Grant.
Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get the latest on the news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.