Surrendering a Ferret to the PFCS
If you need to surrender your ferret(s) and would like to place them with us, please use our Request to Surrender form. We recommend that you read the information below – especially the Procedure for Surrendering Ferrets, before submitting your request.
The primary reason the PFCS exists is to provide a safe place for ferrets to be surrendered when their owners can no longer adequately care for them, and where new homes can be found for them. In a perfect world, all ferrets would be in the perfect home, but we understand that sometimes circumstances occur that place an owner in a situation where they can no longer provide that perfect home.
The PFCS is not judgmental to these situations. We applaud owners for coming to us for help, rather than turning to irresponsible decisions such as euthanasia or turning a ferret loose. (Ferrets cannot survive out of human captivity. Never release a ferret outdoors if you cannot keep it!) Even giving your ferret to an acquaintance or putting an ad in a newspaper is not necessarily going to provide a suitable home for your ferret(s). By turning your ferret over to the PFCS, we will do everything in our power to place your ferret into the very best home. We are experienced in screening adoption applicants and we have the means to provide the best of care while your ferrets are awaiting their forever home.
Is Surrender the RIGHT Thing to Do?
People surrender ferrets to ferret shelters for many different reasons. Sometimes, an owner’s lifestyle has changed and they feel that they are no longer able to provide the best home for their ferret. Other times extenuating circumstances happen making an owner unable to keep his or her ferrets. Another common reason for surrender is that the owner wasn’t fully aware of the needs of a ferret prior to acquiring it, and isn’t able to provide the best environment. No matter the cause, the underlying reason we hear from an owner who is surrendering is “I cannot provide the best home for this ferret anymore.”
However, this is not necessarily always the case. Years of experience has shown us that sometimes what an owner feels is “not the best home” is really the only home that their ferret can thrive in. We ask that you please consider the following prior to contacting us regarding ferret placement.
Many ferrets turned over to a ferret shelter suffer what we call “shelter shock.” Regardless of the age or physical condition of the ferret, some level of shelter shock is to be expected. Symptoms of shelter shock range from mild diarrhea, tummy upset, and vomiting, to more serious symptoms as lethargy, refusal to eat or drink, and severe depression.
In younger, stronger ferrets, even the more severe symptoms can be combated and overcome quickly, and the ferret can go on to be placed in a wonderful new home. However, in older ferrets, shelter shock can be fatal. Shelter shock can trigger underlying health problems that have been kept ‘in check’ in their normal home with their normal routines. The stress of being moved to a new home, a new cage, with new smells and new routines can be very hard on an older ferret, or even a younger ferret with a compromised health situation.
If you have had your ferret for several years, and he or she is an older ferret (especially age 5 and older), it is in the best interest of your ferret to consider the reasons why you are thinking of surrendering him or her. If the reason is that you’re too busy to let the ferret out for hours a day for runtime, the chances are, your ferret doesn’t need that anymore. An elderly ferret may only need an hour or two per day outside of his or her cage rather than the six or eight you once gave. Perhaps there is a room in your home to which you could confine your ferret, and give her more runtime by herself while not requiring that you attend to her every moment she is out?
Perhaps you travel, and you do not wish to leave your ferret at home alone while you are away? The PFCS provides boarding services, both short- and long-term. That may possibly help alleviate some of the reason why you feel that you need to surrender. There are literally dozens of scenarios that we could cover here where an alternative that you have not considered may become a responsible, acceptable solution. The bottom line is that we may be able to help you find a way that you can keep your ferret in his or her familiar environment, while not inconveniencing you, and quite possibly saving your ferret’s life.
Understand that the last thing that we want is for an owner who is unable to provide a good home for their ferret to keep it — but, if there is a way to make the situation work for both you and your ferret, why not give us the chance to help?
For more information about shelter shock and alternatives to surrender, please contact us and we will help determine what the best solution is all around. It may turn out that surrender is indeed the way to go, but we can try to help.
Procedure for Surrendering Ferrets to the PFCS
If surrender is the best option for your ferret(s), we are here to help. As long as space in our shelter is available, we will take in any ferret in need. Our goal is to never have to turn a needy ferret away from our doors.
To surrender a ferret, simply fill out our Request to Surrender Form. When filling out this form, please provide complete information, including the name(s) and age(s) of the ferret(s) you need to turn over to us. Age is VERY important, so please try to provide as accurate an age as you are able to to us. We also need to know if your ferret(s) lived in a cage or were free-run; if they lived with other pets; if they have ANY medical issues; and very important is the exact brand of food that they were used to eating.
We do have some requirements for owners wishing to surrender their ferret(s) to us. We ask that you please remember that we are a shelter, we are not a business, and we rely on volunteers to run our shelter and donations to keep our doors open so that we can provide a place for ferrets like yours to come to. We are going to treat your ferret(s) as if they were our very own pets and we will provide everything from food and bedding to medical care if need be. We feel that the little that we ask in return from you is fair.
- All ferrets MUST be tested for Aleutian’s Disease (ADV) prior to entering our shelter. ADV is a potentially communicable (and potentially fatal) disease that could affect all ferrets in our shelter if brought in. Your ferret could have ADV and you would never have known it. There are a few options an owner has for testing a ferret prior to surrender. You can:
- Have the test done yourself. This requires sending away for a test kit, and once you receive it, send either a saliva or blood sample to a testing lab. Once done, the testing lab will return a document to you stating that your ferret has been tested and the results of the test. We will require the original copy from the lab of these results upon surrender. This will cost you a maximum of $15 per ferret plus the cost of shipping the sample (a couple of dollars).
- You can have your veterinarian arrange testing in the same manner. Understandably, this will cost you a little more, but you will not have to collect the saliva or blood sample yourself. If your ferret is not up-to-date on rabies and distemper vaccinations, you can have the vaccinations done at the same time you have your ADV sample drawn.
- We can test your ferret upon surrender, but we do charge $35 per ferret for this test to be done. The reason we charge more than it would cost for you to do it yourself is this: we have “instant” test kits on hand at the shelter that we can use on the spot to test for ADV. However, these are not official tests from the lab, and we must do a full test and we provide the results of the lab test to our adopters upon adoption. This means that we must test each ferret twice – once, at the door with the instant test, and then again, sending a sample to the lab. We do not profit from this testing fee. Many owners prefer us to test as it is easier than the alternatives and we do not mind doing this.
- We ask that upon surrender you provide copies of any veterinary records, including vaccination history, that you have. You can contact your veterinarian who should be happy to make copies of your ferret’s veterinary history. This information is very helpful to us and to the new owner, and in some cases can be life-saving if anything in the medical history ever becomes significant. Your vaccination records can also prevent us from over-vaccinating your ferret; we vaccinate all ferrets that come to the shelter unless proof of current vaccination is provided.
- We ask that you please bring the following along to the shelter when surrendering a ferret:
- At least one full week’s worth of the food that your ferret is used to eating. It is VERY important that we have the exact kind of food and that we do not change your ferret’s diet too suddenly.
- At least one piece of your ferret’s bedding (hammock, blanket, etc.) and DO NOT wash it for at least one week prior to surrender. Your ferret’s scent on this piece of bedding will be very comforting to him or her and can dramatically decrease the risk of shelter shock.
- Any favorite toys, bedding, dishes, etc. that are familiar to your ferret should be sent along as well. We are trying to keep as much ‘normal’ as possible for your ferret while he or she gets used to the new surroundings.
- Please complete a copy of our Ferret Information Sheet for each ferret that you are surrendering. This will provide us very important information that we need to know to make sure that your ferret adjusts well to the shelter, as well as help us find the ideal home for your ferret(s).
- Donations are not required to the PFCS upon surrender. However, we do ask that you consider all that we will do for your ferret while he or she resides with us. We will be taking your ferret to the vet at least twice for a checkup and to receive rabies and distemper vaccinations, if needed. If your ferret has any medical problems, we will bear the expense to make your ferret well. We will feed, shelter, and provide necessities for your ferret for as long as it takes to find him or her the very best home possible. And we will take the time to care for and love your ferret as if he were one of our own. Our organization runs entirely on the work of volunteers and through donations and fundraising efforts of our club members. While your donation is not required, it is greatly appreciated.
If you are willing to adhere to these policies and would like for us to take in and care for your ferret(s), please submit the Surrender Request Form, and we will contact you to arrange a time and date for you to bring your ferret(s) to us.