Humane Society of Central Illinois

423 Kays Drive, Normal, IL 61761  •  (309) 451-1000  •  Viewing Hours

Frequently Asked Questions  -  (and Answers)

I have a pet that needs another home

If your pet was adopted from HSCI, we will accept the pet back. If you did not get your pet from HSCI, the following suggestions may be helpful to you. Please use your very best judgment in re-homing your pet so it gets the life it deserves.


The need to find a new home for your pet can be heartbreaking, but sometimes necessary. Before seeking a new owner for your pet, make sure she is up-to-date on vaccinations, is in good health, well-groomed and is spayed or neutered. This will make her more attractive to potential adopters.

Some shelters and some adopters are willing to work with pets with medical issues. Be honest about what they are so the pet can receive the medical care it needs, and both shelters and adopters can assess whether they are indeed able to care for the pet.

Take good photographs that show what the pet looks like, not just up-close of that cute face, that the whole package. Showcase what he does best, whether it's catching a Frisbee or being a couch potato.

Write a "résumé" for your pet. Include basic details (age, breed, gender, habits, etc), as well as veterinary records and photos. Be sure and include your contact information. Writing a story from the pet's perspective can also be quite effective.

Help the new owner by including information about what foods he will or won't eat, normal feeding times and any peculiar habits such as a preference for a particular food or water bowl. Provide as much detail as possible so the new owner can ease the pet's transition with a familiar routine.

Be honest. If there are medical or behavior problems, be up-front about that information. Some problems can be prevented or at least addressed. It isn't fair to the new owner to discover your dog's disdain for cats after the adoption has taken place. Biting histories and behavior with children is especially important. If the pet has a biting history, that needs disclosed as there are liability issues. Owners can try training and limit uncomfortable situations for the pet. This is especially important for a pet that may be toward the end of its life or have problems that will require extra understanding.

Promote your pet

Post your pet's information in trustworthy places:

Charging a nominal fee is encouraged - unless placing a pet with a trusted friend or family - to discourage anyone who may want the pet for the wrong reason. A free pet often attracts the wrong type of adopter - one who is isn't committed or willing to spend money on proper food or vet car, or who wants to sell the pet for research or fighting purposes.

We also encourage checking references, so include a notation that references are required.

If there are special requirements, it is best to state them in a positive way, as in "Children over 10" instead of "No kids under 10".

Meeting prospective adopters

We always recommend you meet the potential adopter/s before making a decision. First conduct a phone interview (see our adoption applications for questions to consider asking), and then if you are comfortable with what you hear, arrange a meeting. It may be ideal to go to their house so you can meet other pets, meet all those in the household and see the living conditions the pet would experience. Confirm their landlord allows pets if they are renters. Observe the condition of current pets. Ask for a vet reference. Inquire as to their knowledge, experience with pets.

If you have a dog, it is best for dogs to meet at a neutral spot so there are no territorial issues. You might want to consider a park.

Choosing a home

Trust your instincts and wait for the right person to come along. When you've found the right home, be sure to send your pet's food, bedding, treats, and toys to make the transition easier.

More options

In addition to a privately arranged adoption, there are more options to try.

Original Source:  Did you obtain the pet from a shelter or breeder? It is common for both to expect pets to be returned to them for any reason. In fact, this may be stated in your adoption contract. HSCI always accepts its adopted pets back.

Other shelters:  To find other shelters near you, try Keep in mind that shelters can vary drastically in their standard of care, living environments, medical treatment, and human contact with pets. We strongly encourage you to visit a shelter first without the pet. See the pets currently available and the living conditions. Ask questions and ask to see the medical records for a specific pet. They should be willing to share this information.

Rescue Groups:  If your pet is a purebred or a mix of a particular breed, a breed-specific rescue group may be available. This can be a good avenue to pursue since the volunteers and adopters are often more prepared to deal with medical and behavioral issues unique to the breed. To find a breed-specific rescue group, conduct an internet search using name of the breed, your state, and the word "rescue".

If Your Pet is Dying

Lastly, realize that if your pet is very ill or dying, finding a shelter or another owner will be difficult and not in her best interest. The change to living in a group environment or a new home can be extremely stressful to any pet - even more so for an ill pet. And few strangers are willing to take on these responsibilities. Your veterinarian, our staff, or a rescue group might be able to provide advice on how to manage the issue so the pet can remain at home.

The final days of your pet should be in a home with people it knows. We realize how hard it is to experience a pet's death. Euthanasia is a difficult decision but can be a very humane, compassionate act. Many veterinarians will come to your house if you prefer.

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