Ways to check potential homes out and how to identify- and prevent- problem placements. Getting your puppy the best start in life is an excellent way to avoid having to bail them out of a bad situation later.
Require personal references and veterinary reference on applications- check with references to see if info given on application matches what potential family stated ie: ever owned a dog before? example answer- “yes, we had a GSD but she died last year”. A personal reference who they have known for at least two years would have known about the dog, whether they had one, how it died. So will their vet.
Vet references- ask how long they have been treating the person’s animals, how many they have on file there, up to date on shots and recommended services, in good health, etc. don’t be afraid to ask, “Would YOU sell this person a dog?”
Run all phone numbers- potentials and their references, through a source like www.whitepages.com. Use the reverse directory to confirm who you are speaking with. Make no placements without a land line, whether it be home or a verifiable business/employer. Anyone on a cell only will be in the wind if you need to take action at a later date to recover your dog.
Use reverse directories to check out addresses listed on application- use Zillow or similar sites to determine home status (ie: one well known problem buyer I’m aware of sent photos of a home he used to live in to show what a lovely house and yard he had for dogs- it had been sold and he’d moved to a very inappropriate environment). if it’s listed for sale, it may be a fake address. Last sale date will also tell you how long they have lived there and help confirm rent vs. own. This goes to the honesty of application. County tax assessors offices will often list their records online; search for the county + tax assessor + property records. You want to know exactly where your dog is.
Google is your friend. search name and city of potential buyers, then their email address. This will often return online groups they belong to, civic organizations, interests that can help you make a stronger placement.
Spokeo the name. Facebook it. You may be surprised what kind of chat groups, message boards and other locations your potential home shows up on.
Use the city and state to determine county, then google county name + state +clerk of court. Many cities and counties have online searchable databases of criminal and civil cases, searchable by name. Use them. Confirm with local animal control officers that any pets currently owned are licensed and that there is no record of citations at the address. This may also turn up criminal records for abuse, neglect, sex offender registries and more that would influence your decision.
Ask on your application if they are speaking with any other kennels. If you turn up questionable info SHARE IT with the other kennels, call and give a heads up that something isn’t checking out, and to be cautious, to look further and determine whether or not the placement should be made. If you come across something serious, post it publicly with a heads up notice. Stick to facts you can prove from personal experience or publicly available records- it’s perfectly legal to do and serves a lawful purpose (preventing potential harm to the animals). Buyers frequently talk to the closest kennels to them geographically. Makes some calls, see if your buyer has talked to anyone in their area first and compare notes. There’s no logical reason for them not to tell you about making other kennel contacts. And it may turn out that the best match for this particular person or family is going to be from someone else.
Refusal of a home check or balking at conditions set forth in the contract for care standards. and spay and neuter if a pet home, are a big red flag. Opposing these terms is a warning that they are looking for ways out of those requirements at a later date. be fair though- read your contracts from a buyer’s point of view and be sure that they are not shouldering every responsibility on their own. A one sided agreement isn’t going to benefit you, either.
Always independently verify information. Never give anyone your home address without confirming their identity for your safety and the safety of your dogs. These methods take a bit of time and some leg work but the payoff is knowing your dogs are in capable hands.