New ‘Home to Home’ program in Rochester aims to help surrendered pets avoid shelters


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The City of Rochester’s Animal Services Division added a new program called “Home to Home” that will aim to help families who can no longer keep their pets find new loving homes without having to surrender them to an animal shelter.

Mayor Lovely Warren announced the new program Thursday, saying the online tool provides an opportunity for pets to go from one home right into another, resulting in “less stress for animals and humans alike and allows potential new owners to communicate directly with current owners.”

“The surrender of companion animals continues to be a significant source of intake at our animal shelter,” said Mayor Warren in a Thursday press release. “We see the stress that people are under when they have to surrender their dogs or cats to us and as much as we like to think our shelter is a happy place, it is no substitute for a home. The Home To Home™ tool is ideal for those who find out that a relocation is necessary.”

City officials say Home To Home™ is a re-homing website for owners who need to surrender their pets, which can include dogs, cats and other animals. Those needing to re-home pets fill out a brief form and upload a picture. The website also has a search feature for those seeking to adopt a pet.

“Our goal is to support people and pets staying together and to keep pets out of the shelter,” said Chris Fitzgerald, Director of Rochester Animal Services. “The pets are more comfortable, healthier and better off remaining in homes with people who love them and who can ensure that their beloved companions go directly into new homes. Our participation in Home To Home™ is due to the generous support from a Maddie’s Fund Grant, #ThankstoMaddie,” said Chris Fitzgerald, Director, Rochester Animal Services. “Our share of the Maddie’s Fund Grant covers the cost of our own Home To Home™ branded website.”

Fitzgerald also said the website allows owners to communicate the animal’s needs to its potential new owners.

“A pet owner can really convey those things to a prospective adoptive home and be involved in the process instead of involving us as a third party that really has limited knowledge of the dog who may very well present differently in a shelter setting than it does in a home environment.”

Home to Home

Home To Home™ pet postings are promoted on the Rochester Animal Services and Verona Street Animal Society Facebook page to help generate additional interest and staff can intervene as necessary to provide assistance or offer advice. The tool makes transitions into new homes easier for pets while leaving more shelter resources available to animals with no other options, such as lost pets and those abandoned or left behind. Although re-homing pets through Home To Home™ will alleviate the need for some pets to be surrendered to the shelter, it won’t be suitable for all re-homing needs and as always, animals can be surrendered directly to the shelter by calling to schedule an appointment.

Home To Home™ is a national program that is used among shelters and rescues across the United States. To visit the Home To Home™ network’s master page go to or to learn more about Rochester Animal Services visit this website, or this Facebook page.

Click here to visit Rochester Animal Services’ Home To Home™.

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