As the overpopulation of companion animals becomes an ever increasing problem for the nation, we are seeing a growth in the number of pet adoption websites.
It is not so much that websites are appearing without having a shelter behind them, it is more that the pet adoption websites are there to help publicize the shelter, their aims, beliefs and pets that they have available for adoption. The world wide web has become a great help for charitable organizations such as shelters for unwanted animals as it helps to broaden their scope for finding suitable homes. If a family is looking for a certain breed of dog or cat, they no longer have to visit the shelters to have a look around.
The pet adoption websites that are the window for established pet shelters are also able to give a large amount of information regarding the organization itself. They will be able to give details about how and when the shelter was established, the mission statement and their codes of practice. Also, they will obviously be able to show pictures of the pets that they are currently trying to re-home.
The world wide web, however, does create the possibility for some people to advertise and publicize organizations that are not all that they seem to be. There are some pet adoption websites available which do not seem to be a shop window for a registered shelter, but more an agency that charges to find you a suitable pet to adopt. They will then scour the various pet shelters until they find an animal that will suit you and put you in contact with the shelter for a fee. It is important that you check the details regarding the website to ensure that you are dealing with a bona fide shelter and not just a middle man.
Having said that, there are some pet adoption websites that are not animal shelters, but are a portal for a number of different shelters that are genuine and are merely a way of introducing you to all the establishments in the area. This is not a fee charging service and the website is purely a directory. They will direct you, via links, to shelters which they believe to be well run and have a good code of conduct. Many of these websites will also give information about what to do if you should find a homeless animal and information about many other aspects of pet care and re-homing.
If you are considering adopting a pet, be it a cat, dog, rabbit or a more unusual animal, make sure that you are using a genuine organization. Do some research and visit the shelter. Do not just stay at home and rely on the pet adoption website to bring the perfect pet to you or you may never get to know where you new pet has come from.