When Looking for a New Pet, Don’t Overlook Local Shelters

The kids have been wearing you down for months until you finally give in—you agree to get a family pet. Rather than spend a fortune at a breeder for a puppy, with no way to guarantee how it will turn out, why not simply go to your local shelter and find a forever friend? There are a lot of great animals that have, for various reasons, ended up in a shelter, and all of them need a good home—for example, Moxie and Ginger, two six-year-old mixed breed (mostly cocker spaniel) sisters who were recently adopted by the Riley family. The thoughtfulness of the Rileys’ approach will likely help ensure that the family not only finds a pet that meshes well with their family, but is not likely to exhibit behavior resulting in a dog bite lawsuit.

The family made the rounds at several shelters in the area and looked thoroughly and made a careful decision. They spent a long time visiting with the dogs to get a good understanding of their personality. They checked with the shelters to discuss whether the pets had been given a temperament test, to see if the animals’ disposition was always warm, friendly and loving, and determine whether there were any issues (such as aggression at feeding time or around young children). Moxie and Ginger passed their tests with flying colors—and the family was even more impressed when they discovered soon afterward that the animals were already perfectly housebroken (something you won’t get with a puppy)!

When you set off to search for the newest member of your family, consider a pet at the local shelter. You’ll see that from purebreds to mixed breeds, puppies to seniors, shelters often have a wide variety of animals that are waiting to join your household. And when you choose carefully based on personality as much as the “cute factor,” you lessen the chances that your pet’s behavior will one day result in a dog bite lawsuit. Talk to a professional insurance agent about coverage for such liability, though, because it’s of course better to be safe than sorry.