About APNM
APNM Foundation
Current Initiatives
Contact Staff
Disaster Planning
Dissection Choice
Equine Protection
Events Calendar
Job Opportunities
Local Ordinances
Milagro Awards
Planned Giving
Shelter Savvy
Shopping Catalog
Supporting APNM-

Join Mailing List

Send your
animal photos


How to Place a Companion Animal in a Good Home

Guide Index:

The Animal Overpopulation Problem

How to Advertise for a Good Home for the Animal
How to write a DOG Ad
How to write a CAT Ad
Screening People Calling for Cats or Dogs

The Animal Overpopulation Problem

Thank you for caring about animals and wanting them to have the best homes possible! By asking for this information, you have already shown that you are a very kind and compassionate person. We are grateful that you realize that just "getting rid" of an animal and passing that animal onto someone else without careful investigation can condemn the animal to an uncertain and sometimes brutal future. We hope that this information helps you properly place your companion animal or a stray animal.

How to Advertise for a Good Home for the Animal

If you live in the Albuquerque area, both the Albuquerque Journal and the Albuquerque Tribune offer what's called a "4-6-8 ad", and this is a good method to use to find a good home for an animal. The ad is four lines of text (with 30 characters per line), it runs for six days and evenings, and costs $8.46 (hence the name "4-6-8"). The best days to have the ad run are Thursday through Tuesday so that the ad is printed in the weekend papers. If you cannot hold the animal for very long, place the ad immediately (call before 10:00 a.m. and the ad will run the next day). Call 823-4444, and you can be billed directly.

If you live outside the Albuquerque area, check with your local newspapers to see if they offer a low-cost advertising rate.

Once you place the ad, it is very important to make sure that you are available to answer telephone calls that you will get, or that you have an answering machine to take messages. If a person calls about your ad and gets no answer, they will likely continue to call other people who are advertising other animals.

How to write a DOG Ad

Try to include the following:

* Breed (if you know what the animal is crossed with, start out with the breed you think will market the best, ex. Collie/Shepherd cross)
* Sex (include spayed/neutered, if applicable)
* Approximate age and weight
* Say whether or not the animal is good with kids
* Say whether or not the animal is good with other animals
* Say whether or not the animal is housebroken
* Say whether or not the animal's shots are current
* Give special personality traits
* Give the animal's colors
Example: Shepherd X, male, 1 1/2 yrs., approx. 45 lbs.,hsbrkn, good w/kids, affectionate & loving. Shots current. Needs 5 ft. fence. $30. 888-8888.

How to write a CAT Ad
Try to include the following:
* Breed (if known)
* Sex (include spayed/neutered, if applicable)
* Special personality traits
* Whether or not shots are current
* Colors and length of hair
* Whether or not the cat is litter box trained
* Whether the cat is an indoor or outdoor cat

Example: Cat, 2 yrs. white & grey, neutered male. Affectionate, good w/cats & dogs, all shots. Strictly inside. $30. Call 888-8888. Lv. msg.
"Thanks for finding us good homes!"
ALWAYS charge money for your companion animal. This usually ensures a better home for the animal, because it indicates that the new owner is willing to take future financial responsibility for the animal. Also, charging for an animal will most likely "weed out" Class B dealers (people who round up free animals and sell them to laboratories for cruel and wasteful vivisection experiments) or those who use free animals to train fighting dogs how to kill.
Dogs should sell for $30-$50 depending on age & breed.
Cats should sell for $25-$30 depending on age & breed.
Screening People Calling for Cats or Dogs
First question to ask: Why are you interested in this particular cat /dog?
This encourages conversation and you will probably get more information than you expected. If you don't get a good response, then this is a warning to go no further with this caller. AVOID people who want to get an animal as a gift for someone else, because this seldom works out. People prefer to pick out their own companion animal since it is a very personal decision and a big responsibility involving many years of commitment to that animal.
Do they have other companion animals?
If they do, find out how their other animals would relate to the new animal. Are their other animals spayed or neutered, shots current, living inside or outside?
Have they ever had a cat /dog before?
If yes, what kind of experience did they have? AVOID people who lost their previous animals due to neglect. If they have not had a cat/dog, why do they want one now? Do they know how to take care of a cat/dog? Do they plan to take the cat/dog to the veterinarian for shots annually?
Do they plan to have the animal spayed/neutered?
Of course, if you have already had the animal spayed/neutered, then you do not need to ask this question. But if you have been unable to get this done, make sure that the new owner definitely wants to have the animal spayed/neutered. Otherwise they will soon be faced with having to find homes for their own unwanted animals. Unfortunately, some animals are not even given a humane death and end up abandoned to starve or get run over by automobiles. Also be aware that some people think that they do not have to have male animals neutered because males don't actually have the babies. But they fail to realize that a male animal can impregnate a different female every night of the week and end up contributing much more to the overpopulation problem than an unspayed female.
What will they feed the cat/dog?
Look for someone who will feed the animal a healthy food that is recommended by veterinarians (for example, Science Diet foods, Iams, etc.).
How much attention will the cat/dog receive?
AVOID those who look upon companion animals as toys, ornaments, guards, alarm systems or rodent control instead of as living creatures needing care and attention. Both cats and dogs need and often crave human love and affection.
How will the person have their cat/dog cared for if and when they are out of town?
Often people do not think about how they will care for their companion animals if and when they have to be away from home. Look for someone who is willing to pay a housesitter/animal sitter while they are away. This is the best situation for the animal because the animal does not have to leave the safety and familiarity of the home. It is often extremely traumatic for animals if they are placed in kennels for extended periods of time.
Are there children in the household?
If there are children in the household, ask if they have been taught to respect and be kind to animals. Do not place an animal in a household where children are allowed to torment and taunt animals.
What is the family's schedule like?
If the entire family is away all day, most of the evening, and away many weekends, it is unlikely that the animal is going to get much attention, love and exercise.
Additional Screening Questions Specific to Dogs
What type of yard do they have?
It is best to adopt the animal to someone who has a fenced or walled-in yard. This will allow the animal some freedom and will reduce their boredom. Do not adopt the animal to someone who will allow the dog to roam free (it is dangerous for the animal, and illegal) or someone who will chain the dog.
How high is the fence or wall?
A medium to large dog needs a fence five feet high or more. A small dog (under 20 lbs.) probably only needs a fence four feet high. If it is a walled-in yard, ask if there are any low spots in the wall.
Is there adequate shade and a doghouse?
Make sure that both adequate shade AND a doghouse will be provided. In the summer, a doghouse can be just like an oven, so the dog should have a shaded area that is cooled by a breeze. Doghouses must be weather-proof, structurally sound and dry, and preferably insulated from the heat and cold. Make sure that if the dog cannot go in the owner's house during the day in the winter, that the dog has an insulated doghouse to be in during the day, with straw bedding, not cloth which gets wet and freezes and provides no comfort for the dog.
Where will the dog sleep at night?
Do not adopt the dog to someone who will not let the dog sleep inside at night if the dog wants to. Although some dogs may prefer to sleep outside, the dog should have a choice. Since dogs are den animals, mostly they prefer to be in the house "den" with their humans.
Additional Screening Questions Specific to Cats
Can they accommodate the needs of an indoor or outdoor cat?
In general, cats will be healthier if they are kept indoors exclusively, and you should not adopt a cat to someone who will leave the cat outdoors exclusively. New Mexico's climate is simply too harsh for animals to be outside all the time.
Do they plan to declaw the cat?
If not already declawed, AVOID those who want to declaw the cat, especially if the cat is already mature. Declawing is not only physically painful, but emotionally traumatic, affecting a cat's natural, graceful balance and ability to jump, run and climb. If someone wants a cat without claws, perhaps they can look for one that is already declawed and needing a home. Also, if they do not plan to have the cat declawed, make sure they will accommodate the cat's natural desire to scratch (by providing a scratch post, for instance).
Delivery & Follow-up Visits
Once you feel comfortable that you have found a good potential home for the animal you are trying to place, insist on scheduling a few follow-up visits with the new owners. ALWAYS deliver the animal to the new home yourself instead of letting the new owner just pick up the animal from you. That way you get to actually see and confirm the living conditions that have been described to you over the telephone. You may be surprised to see that the living situation for the animal is not as good as it sounded over the telephone. If the home is as you expected, schedule an immediate follow-up visit as early as within one to two days of the adoption. Then schedule other follow-up visits within a week of the first visit and then within a month of that visit. If there are any significant issues regarding the adoption, they will probably be obvious within the first week. Therefore, make sure that you make yourself available to the new owners in case they need to contact you about the animal. Also be sure to give the new owners any of the animal's veterinary records that they might need. Upon delivery of the animal, you can ask for payment as agreed previously.
To help the owners understand that adopting the animal is a long-term responsibility, it may be helpful to have them agree to fill out an adoption contract, an example of which is given on the following page.

Animal Protection of New Mexico, Inc. (APNM) is a statewide animal protection organization dedicated to promoting the humane treatment of animals and furthering the cause of animal rights since 1979. We are a non-profit , 501 (c)(3) organization supported by donations, volunteers and grants. We strongly believe that working for animal rights is directly in concert with working for the rights of all those who inhabit the planet. APNM focuses its efforts on institutionalized and societal exploitation of animals. We encourage people to work for the animals and the planet on a daily basis, by choosing a lifestyle that does not depend on the killing of animals or the destruction of our fragile environment. For instance, we promote vegetarianism, the use of household and personal care products that do not contain animal ingredients and are not tested on animals, and encourage people to always consider the animal's point of view where animals are concerned, especially since they have no voice in our society.
Improving conditions for animals often means that we must become personally involved, and we encourage people to be active for animals. Please become a member of our organization by sending in your membership dues.
To join, simply send in a membership due (min $20 year) to: APNM, P.O. Box 11395, Albuquerque, NM 87192. Your membership includes two issues of our Activities Update printed on kenaf tree-free paper, action alerts on important animal issues, and electronic alerts with access to email.
Thank you for caring about animals!
Voice: (505) 265-2322     FAX: (505) 265-2488

Home :: About APNM :: Core Programs :: Get Involved
Animal Protection of New Mexico, Inc. (APNM)

P.O. Box 11395, Albuquerque, NM 87192
(505) 265-2322 | (505) 265-2488 (fax) | email APNM
© APNM, Inc. | Notify problems with site to: webmaster | Follow APNM: Facebook Twitter