June 30, 2020

Audience: Executive Leadership, Foster Caregivers, Public, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers, Veterinary Team

Organization: Panhandle Animal Shelter
Investigator(s): Mandy Evans
Grant Amount: $50,000.00
Project Type: Phase 4
Project Status: Research Complete

Project Summary

This Panhandle Animal Shelter study aims to expand the usage of their Home to Home web-based program, managed by each shelter and providing community members with the tools, communication, and trust to rehome their pets without surrendering them into a shelter. The platform also allows shelters to remain engaged with their community in the rehoming process. The program was implemented at 40 shelters, with another 13 expected to be onboarded. The percentage of animals surrendered to the shelters, after they were posted on Home to Home, steadily declined over three years, with the average rate of reduction of 26% for owner surrender.


The objective of the project was: to meet the growing need for organizations to provide positive alternatives to shelter surrender by adding 50 organizations to the Home to Home online network, in partnership with the Million Cat Challenge.


Through a partnership with the Million Cat Challenge, shelters were identified to implement the Home to Home program. A total of 40 shelters were onboarded, with another 13 expected to be onboarded. The program has no fee for the community to use the site, promotes community engagement and participation and a "no-barrier" approach by providing shelters with a platform for communication to discuss everything from spaying and neutering to the utilization of shelter services.


  • Without contractual obligations during the first 6 months, 9 shelters did not complete their commitment to participate in the program
  • 40 shelters were onboarded, with another 13 expected to be onboarded
  • Percentage of animals successfully rehomed was 66% in 2018; 53% in 2019 and 48% in 2020 (data includes active available animals posted to Home to Home, which can skew the success rate)
  • Animals surrendered to the shelters after being posted on Home to Home was 13% in 2018; 11% in 2019 and 5% in 2020
  • 100% of respondents from organizations stated Home to Home helped them be more engaged with their community
  • Average owner surrender reduction of 26%
  • 93% of respondents support the statement that owners make good decisions when rehoming their pets, while 7% were unsure


The Home to Home program shows positive implications for preventing shelter intake, building trust and developing partnerships between shelters and their communities. Overall, results support the use of the web-based program as a tool to prevent owner surrender to shelters.