Welcome to the Edge

We are a local, subscriber-supported news organization.
Feel free to learn more about us, browse our free content,
or become a subscriber for as low as $1.75 a week.

Full story

Small critters also need a home

Non tradition pets wind up in shelters too, and need forever homes.

Non tra­di­tion pets wind up in shel­ters too, and need for­ever homes.

By Phil Sny­der, Exec­u­tive Director,

 Sun­coast Humane Society

ENGLEWOOD Fla. – When peo­ple think of ani­mals han­dled by humane soci­eties and ani­mal shel­ters, they think mostly of dogs and cats that are sur­ren­dered and adopted out. In actu­al­ity, shel­ters han­dle a wide range of ani­mals that go far beyond the more pop­u­lar house­hold pets.

As exam­ples, depend­ing upon poli­cies and land loca­tions some shel­ters receive lost or stray­ing live­stock, such as horses, cows, goats, pigs, chick­ens, ducks, geese and turkeys, and even pea­cocks. Many receive native wildlife, includ­ing, birds, squir­rels, rac­coons, rab­bits tur­tles, and snakes. Often these are orphaned or injured wild ani­mals that are trans­ferred to part­ner­ing wildlife rehab centers.

Some humane societies/animal con­trol agen­cies that I have been with even han­dled var­i­ous types of exotic ani­mals. There has been Emu, Ostridge, pot-bellied pigs, wolf hybrid, con­fis­cated lions and tigers, and mon­keys, includ­ing gib­bon and chim­panzees, to name a few. If you ever try to cap­ture an Ostridge or Emu, or safely con­tain a chim­panzee, you are in for a rare expe­ri­ence, not to men­tion an extreme dan­ger. Ani­mal con­trol offi­cers that have responded to these types of calls can attest to that. Once cap­tured, these ani­mals are, hope­fully, safely relo­cated to appro­pri­ate sur­round­ings. And, that can be a chal­lenge in itself.

More prac­ti­cal, yet still lesser known species that are brought to shel­ters include rab­bits, fer­rets, guinea pigs, ham­sters, ger­bils, pet rats, and caged birds. para­keets, canaries, finches, love birds and even an occa­sional par­rot are rou­tinely sur­ren­dered to shel­ters. Often, these small pets are pur­chased as nov­el­ties with­out much thought for their long term care. Sadly they become dis­pos­able and end up at a shelter.

Even though peo­ple think to drop these small crit­ters off at an ani­mal shel­ter when they no longer want them, many other peo­ple do not think of their local humane soci­ety or ani­mal shel­ter when they want to obtain these crit­ters. They are drawn to the adver­tis­ing of large chain pet centers.

Cur­rently Sun­coast Humane Soci­ety has 20 of these small pets avail­able for adop­tion. This includes 6 guinea pigs, 6 rab­bits, 3 ger­bils, 3 ham­sters, and 2 para­keets. I am sure other shel­ters also have their share. It seems when one is adopted out, two more are sur­ren­dered in. There are many homes that are unable to have a dog or cat and these lit­tle crit­ters can be very reward­ing as pets. If they are han­dled and cared for prop­erly, they can be a joy to live with.

If you or any­one you know is con­sid­er­ing giv­ing a home to one of these small crit­ters, please think of your local humane soci­ety or ani­mal shel­ter first. Come, take a look. You may just fall in love and also will be giv­ing one of these lit­tle guys a sec­ond chance.

You can comment on this story below.

If you want to link to this post from your site, use this trackback link.

Leave a reply:

You must be logged in to post a comment.