Free to Good Home Program
Learn more about our Free to Good Home Program, and if you want to donate specifically towards helping us support this program, make sure you mention that in the comment section of Paypal's donation page.
What is the problem?
In the age of the internet and social media, we as a society have made many advances. However, a new trend towards posting animals online via Craigslist, Facebook, and local buy/sell/trade phone apps as "free to good home" has led to some true tragedies. The people who post these animals often have the best intentions. They want to find a great home for their pet as quickly as possible, and think if they list them as free it will be easier to accomplish this goal. Many people think they can tell a person has evil intentions just by meeting them, and in addition to listing the animals as being free, they neglect to perform any reference checks, vet checks, or home checks before giving their beloved animal away to a complete stranger, just because they seem nice.
Unfortunately it is becoming very common for dog fighters, backyard breeders, or animal abusers to scan these websites and apps searching for free animals they can acquire easily. There are many heartbreaking stories of animals who have ended up in the wrong hands as a result of being given away as "free to good home" online.
What is our solution?
Wayward Ranch has always been committed to the underdog and these animals that are being given away for free definitely fit that definition. Often these are animals that are posted online after their owners are turned away from overcrowded shelters or rescue groups and feel as though they have no other option to find a new home for their pet. Many times the owners will not have even tried reaching out to shelters or rescues in their area, assuming that may be a death sentence for their animal and believing that their animal will be safest if they find them a new home themselves.
Our first priority when we come across these postings is the safety of the animals involved. The first thing we do is reach out to the owner as our rescue. We seek to educate about the potential dangers of finding a home this way and we offer to help the owner by either taking the animal into our rescue ourselves or by helping them find a responsible and loving home for the animal while it stays in their care. We offer veterinary care to get the animals spayed/neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and therefore much less appealing to animal abusers. We also offer to thoroughly vet any potential families through reference checks, veterinary checks, landlord checks, and home visits. We counsel the owner on what a reasonable price is to sell their animal that will not chase away potentially great homes, but will deter people who may be looking for a cheap animal to abuse. All of this is offered at no cost to the current owner, yet still many will not accept the help, ignoring the effort to help simply because of the stigma associated with shelter and rescues "killing" animals.
When all else fails a volunteer from our rescue may pose as an individual interested in taking the animal. They will meet with the current owner, gather as much information about the medical and behavioral history of the animal as possible, and then secure the safety of the animal by bringing them to Wayward Ranch.
What animals are helped by this program?
The following types of animals are most at risk when posted online as "free to good home" and they are the ones we seek out to help find safe and loving homes where they will not be abused.
Small Animals (Guinea Pigs, Rabbits, Ferrets, Hamsters). These animals make wonderful pets but also are often impulse purchases and later discarded by the family when they realize how much work goes in to caring for them. These owners often do not realize there are rescues out there designed specifically to help small animals find safe and loving homes, and instead they post them online for free. The biggest risk to these animals with these posts is for them to end up as snake food. Large snakes can survive off of these small animals for quite some time, and by getting them for free their owners are able to feed their snakes for free.
Kittens and Cats. With the feral cat population in our country being out of control, many people will take in feral kittens and post them online as being "free to good home," thinking they are doing a good deed. Unfortunately it is becoming a known technique of dog fighters to find these free cats and kittens and use them as bait, or practice, when training their dogs for the fight. It has even been seen that some dog fighters will dye the kittens different colors and take bets for which kitten will be killed first when thrown to the fighting dogs. Depending on the size of the kittens, some are also at risk of becoming snake food.
Pit Bulls of any age. We are always on the lookout for pit bulls that are at risk. Unfortunately we live in an area that is known for dog fighting and it is a reality we have to be aware of. A pit bull at any age that is listed online as being "free to good home" is at risk of attracting dog fighters. Even if they would not make good fighting dogs, they may then be used for backyard breeding or as bait for another dog.
How do donations help us to continue this program?
Your donations to this program will go towards providing veterinary care in the form of spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations and microchips to animals looking for homes in our community. This basic veterinary care makes the animals less desirable for dog fighting or breeding.
Donations also help us to provide daily care in the form of food, enrichment, and basic veterinary care to the animals that we rescue from being given away as "free to good home."