Anthony Armentano, Global Animal

Hannah the Pet Society has generated a hefty bit of attention in the Greater Portland area. However, many critics of the company are taking issue with Hannah’s unorthodox pet placement method, which places animals and humans together through a computer program designed to ensure optimum compatibility.

Not unlike eHarmony, Hannah’s patented Lifetime Matching Program measures the compatibility between animals and hopeful pet parents through a number of criteria, including personalities, lifestyle, pet experience, and disposable funds. At first glance, the system seems like a great idea; ensuring pets are placed in homes that can properly care for them. The truth is, even though Hannah looks promising on the outside, it loses its luster upon closer inspection.

Animal lovers can visit a Hannah placement center and find a pet of optimum compatibility, but may be surprised they are only renting the pet. Photo Credit: Hannah the Pet Society
Animal lovers can visit a Hannah placement center and find a pet of optimum compatibility, but may be surprised to find they are only renting the pet. Photo Credit: Hannah the Pet Society

Hopeful pet lovers can visit one of the two placement centers Hannah operates in Oregon to begin the placement process. Once parents are matched with their compatible companions, Hannah requires them to pay a monthly fee ranging up to $200, which includes everything from routine veterinary care at Hannah facilities to pet food deliveries, and everything in between. 

Hannah’s monthly payment contracts and matching practices are hardly the most intriguing aspects of their company. Once a family takes a pet home, they may care for the animal and think he/she is now a member of the family, but that’s not necessarily the case as Hannah retains ownership of the animals even while they’re in the care of other families.

Hannah’s system has been described as a rent-a-pet operation, where monthly payments serve to keep the animal under the families’ care. If a family at anytime wishes to cease their contractual agreement with Hannah, they may find difficulty holding onto their new furry companion. 

“It wasn’t really clear initially that you were renting the dog…all the decisions would be made by Hannah the Pet Society. You would be consulted but other than that, everything is their decision,” admits customer Diane Tate, who eventually broke her contract with Hannah, but not without a struggle.

Additionally, a handful of customers have filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), although all complaints have since been resolved. According to one complaint, a customer was promised a Labrador mix puppy, and when he inquired about the mix breed, Hannah claimed they couldn’t tell the customer until placement. After continued questioning, the customer claims he was told the breed was a Labrador-Chihuahua mix, but received an Akita-pug. Although Hannah has not filed with the BBB, the company has maintained a B- rating.

Nevertheless, Hannah’s CEO and veterinarian, Will Novak, stands by his company.

“[Hannah’s] cost is about 50 percent less than if you paid for it on your own,” he says.

Additionally, the company takes pride in its refusal to deal with animal breeders.

However, animal lovers believe Hannah may exaggerate its commitment to rescue pets. For instance, when PAWS animal shelter in West Linn presented the company with a rescue kitten, Hannah did not accept the animal. A PAWS representative believes Hannah refused the kitten in favor of only accepting attractive animals, claiming Hannah puts money before the pets’ interests.

Hannah’s idea of bringing compatible humans and animals together is essentially a good one, but overall, many feel their unorthodox practices and rent-a-pet philosophy seem to devalue companion animals, treating them as commodities instead of future family members.

Remember, it’s always best to opt to adopt! Visit your local shelter or rescue organization and give a lucky dog a loving home.

Read more about pet adoption:

Celebrate ‘No Pet Store Puppies Day’ Everyday! (VIDEO)

Strut Your Mutt To Save Homeless Pets (VIDEO)

Paws For Celebration: Congress Goes To The Dogs

Why Puppies Don’t Make The Perfect Gift

October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month