I'm a devoted pet owner who shares her home with four happy animals.
There are a lot of websites that let people post ads for pets they're trying to re-home. For whatever reason, these people are no longer able to care for their pets or are no longer willing to keep them and must find them new homes. Spend some time browsing these ads and you'll see that most people will ask for an adoption fee—and that just doesn't sit right for some of the prospective new families!
However, offering a pet "free to a good home," even with good intentions, is not the right thing to do when rehoming a pet. And for people looking to adopt a new pet, there are many reasons why a rehoming fee should be charged for the best interests of the pet.
Arguments Against an Adoption Fee
"If you're just going to put your pet down or bring it to the shelter, why would you charge someone a fee to take it home? You'd rather see your pet die than give it away free?"
This comment, or some variation of it, is often seen on forums that allow pet ads. The reasoning is that the pet is no longer wanted, so why not give it to someone who does want it and would give it a good home?
Many people feel that it's unethical to charge an adoption fee for an animal that's homeless (or soon to be homeless). The fee implies that the person is "in it for the money", rather than being concerned that his pet goes to the best possible home.
"That's not an adoption fee, you're selling your pet!"
Another common concern is a "high" adoption fee. Some people believe that a small fee of $20 or $50 is more acceptable than one that's $200, for example. The higher the fee, the more likely readers are to believe that the person re-homing the pet is trying to make a profit—something that is often frowned upon, especially when it appears to be at the expense of the animal's true well-being.
Reasons in Favor of Charging an Adoption Fee
Most people are decent people. The sad reality though, is that some people are not—and charging an adoption fee helps to protect animals who need re-homing.
Here's an example. It's no secret that labs experiment on animals. It's also no secret that dog fighting rings still exist today, and use animals as "bait" to train their fighting dogs. Giving away a free animal makes them easy targets for this type of situation, where the animal's life has no monetary value. If you charge an adoption fee, it's less likely that someone will be able to turn around and sell the dog to a lab or as bait. It's less likely that it will be profitable for them, so they just won't bother.
Pet ownership is a privilege and requires a committed owner.
"Free to a good home" ads encourage casual pet owners who don't take it seriously. Free pets can also end up abandoned, turned into animal shelters, neglected and ignored, re-sold to anyone who happens to walk by with a few bucks, or used for breeding if it hasn't already been spayed or neutered. There are many people who don't value what they get for free.
Sometimes you'll hear outcry that adoption fees discriminate against poor families who don't necessarily have the money to pay the adoption fee, but who will do whatever is necessary to make sure their new pet is happy and healthy - including bringing the pet in for medical care whenever it's needed. It's true, families from all economic backgrounds are completely devoted to their pets and will care for them properly and with love.
Unfortunately, a free pet is often considered a disposable pet.
It is a devastating experience to have to give up a pet. In a perfect world, pets would have permanent homes. And of course, the goal is to try to make sure pets have loving and permanent homes! But sometimes life circumstances mean that a family can no longer care for its pets. Think of a family who is dealing with a severe or even terminal illness, and no longer has the time to give a pet the attention it deserves. That is only one example.
For families that are in this unfortunate situation, a meeting with a prospective new home and a couple of conversations helps to ease their minds that their pets are going to a good home—but they'll probably still worry. Having a pet is a very big financial responsibility. Beyond the usual food, grooming, and other day-to-day expenses, there are also regular vet check-ups and vaccines . . . and the significantly more costly vet visits for emergencies or illness. Remember, the pet owner doesn't know the potential new family—and a new family's willingness to pay an adoption fee helps to demonstrate that they're financially able and willing to provide proper care for the pet.
What Could Adoption Fees Be Used For?
Shelters and rescue organizations always charge an adoption fee. Most people don't seem to mind, in fact, they expect it. They know that rescues need to cover operating expenses, pet care, medical bills, and so forth.
Individual pet owners who charge a rehoming fee don't necessarily use it for anything—but they might also have expenses to cover, too. For example, they might include a kennel, food dishes, toys, bedding, and other pet accessories when you adopt their pet. Or maybe they want to use the fee to help cover a spay/neuter surgery before they let their pet go to a new home. Maybe the pet owner sprung an animal from the shelter because it was going to be euthanized, but they knew they couldn't keep it—so they pass on the adoption fee to the new owner once they find the pet a good, permanent home.
A Possible Compromise
One suggestion I've heard is to ask the potential adopter to make a donation to a local humane society or pet rescue organization. Ask the potential adopter to bring the receipt when he comes to pick up the pet. This way, the rescue benefits; the pet owner can feel more secure about who his pet's new home; and the new owner has done a good deed.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
barb on July 23, 2020:
free pets are often considered disposable. yeah ok, it already is in the eyes of the person selling it though. what complete bs. i had to send
pics of my fence, our doghouse, gave my vet info so she could call him, microchip, and make an appt to get my dog up to date on shots. there’s no way i coulda paid 250 or more to line someones pocket after they couldn’t keep their pet. how money equates to a home being good for a dog is beyond me.
Krista on January 29, 2020:
What a load of crap! I got a kitten maybe 6 weeks old- obviously the runt and funny looking- girl claimed she was allergic to him- I paid the 60.00 rehoming fee because I fell in love with him - but in she brings it with a sad little ribbon asking for cash and literally tossed him at me to get rid of him as fast as she could. Today he is a beautiful tuxedo and has grown into his little body and huge feet- he’s part of a forever family along with his older sister who’s 20 and my service dog who is one.
Justin on November 16, 2019:
Every animal I have had lived with me until the end of their time here on earth. Having a pet assumes you will have to feed it among other obvious things but I have never even considered that to be an recoverable expense in the unlikely event that I had to re-home what I consider to be a member of my family. Personally, I have never had to pay for a dog because there are so many that are not wanted, so eventually someone who I either know personally or one of their friends/family members need to find a home for their dog and that's that. I believe in freedom and that people should be able to do what they want, but myself, I would not buy or sell a dog regardless of the circumstances and I really do not agree with breeding animals and/or selling them for profit. There is no reason to be encouraging people to bring new dogs into the world when there are so many already that have nobody to care for them and if you put a price tag on them especially the high prices people are selling these animals for then you are giving an economic incentive for people to continue doing it.
People will continue acquiring dogs for the purpose of dog fighting or medical testing whether they are free or not and this is something especially concerning when you are dealing with strangers. Money doesn't solve everything though and the problem is most people would rather justify their own laziness by rationalizing it as protecting the animal with the added benefit of some extra cash in their pockets. The only way to really be sure that your dog is going to a good home is to do the leg work and doing some research on this person talking to people they know, neighbours, meeting with them a few times and asking questions to really get a glimpse of what kind of person they are. Visit them at their home with the dog and see if they get along with the other household members. Follow up periodically to make sure that they still have the dog and to say hello. Make a contract that allows you to monetary recourse in the event the animal suddenly disappears. Or maybe come up with a method of escrow or deposit or collateral that can be held somehow and then returned or after a probationary period
period. Go with them to the pet food store, they are going to need food, pet health insurance would certainly be beneficial compared to a donation so be there and watch them purchase the food and open the bag so it cant be returned set up the pet insurance with them perhaps if it was prepaid a few months in advance that would be acceptable way to satisfy you that they will give the dog a good home (make sure its not refundable lol). Maybe before you hand them over you may want to see if they could watch the dog or babysit for a few hours or for the night meanwhile you might just happen to be sitting at the coffee shop across the street in the window having a frap and observing for any red flags. All just ideas to get you thinking, so take some time sit down think about it be creative come up with something that makes sense to you benefits the animal you and the new owner build a rapport with them continue the relationship but most of all actually care about the home they are going to and make sure they know that you do. I think the chances of finding someone with nefarious intentions who is going to be willing and able to pretend to be a decent person who actually wants to give a dog a home to love and be apart of their family is pretty unlikely especially without raising some red flags at some point. If you are thorough and show that you care about the fate of your dog enough that it will be not only difficult to trick you but also would ultimately be way more trouble than its worth for any dog fighter especially because they will not doubt for a second the day you both decide its going to be a good fit and come to a mutual agreement will not be the last time they'll see you so if anything nefarious is planned or ends up happening to that dog you will find out and if they aren't afraid of what the consequences should anything like that happen then somewhere along the line you took a wrong turn and did not take enough time to really think about what is going to work for and benefit everyone most importantly your pet. If you have a bad feeling, listen to it. Anyone who actually cares about animals would be able to appreciate your position, in fact they would respect that you are willing to go the extra mile and make damn sure your dog goes to a good home. They will be happy to help come up with a way to put your mind at ease and prove to you beyond a resonable doubt that they are invested into this dog in a meaningful way for the right reasons.
Louise Christensen on December 10, 2018:
Hi Angela, thanks for a good article. Some observations: 1.) A lot of people seem to have an emotional ideological bent against selling animals, against money, against people being fairly compensated for their costs of raising an animal. I was asked by the USDA to estmate the invested costs of a one year old barn cat. I was greatly surprised to come up with a figure of about 500 dollars--this without a fee for the actual cat, in other words, a free cat. Some people are making a mere mechanical means of exchanging value a major moral problem and apparently want to force others to march lock step to their ideas about money matters. If you feel selling animals is morally wrong, don't do it. But kindly without self-righteous moral indignation do allow others the freedom to get fairly compensated for their work and investment.
2.) Many are the reasons people need to surrender/sell/place/re-adopt out their animals. Whether or not others understand, it is none of anyone's business but the people involved. Our story: A cat rescue woman-neighbor, in the cat business herself, called the city on us with a bogus tale of us running a cat business. The city, a stickler for their illogical ordinances, asked us to evict 5 of our old, fat, well-cared-for, beloved neutered cats. Despite my best efforts of careful placements with friends, aquaintances, and ads, over half of those cats were torn apart by wild animals within four months. A shelter volunteer was right--better to peacefully euthanize them at home than to send them out to be burned, even by the well-meaning after the trauma of being evicted from the only home they knew.
3.) My experiences with shelters and cat rescue places was eye-opening and jaw-dropping. People need to understand shelters and rescue ooerations are subsidized businesses but businesses they are, most with the ideological bent that the animals are more important than the humans. One place I got a lecture from a hostile representative. Another never got back to me. Another required reams of detailed personal information from me. Yet another representative was not able to coherently answer my simple questions about surrendering animals. All of the shelters were full, most had some sort of waiting lists for taking in animals, and yes, the volunteer who told me it would be better to euthanize my cats because old, unmarketable animals would be put on their burn list. She, at least was honest and straightforward with me. Unfortunately, my private placements didn't work out all that much better.
Nere on November 25, 2018:
JD totally agree with you. I'm trying to adopt a dog rather than buy it, but sometimes seems that is easier and cheaper buy a dog than adopt it. I'm totally against to support a market for pets, so I ended to do not have any pet. The argument of that the foster spent a lot of money is valid, but then fosters may be clear and ask for the maintenance cost rather than an adoption fee.
JD on September 28, 2018:
Sorry, re-homing fees are absolute rubbish any way you slice it.
I know the argument is that they help weed out irresponsible people who just want a "free dog" they would consider disposable because nothing was paid. That's just a rationalization for greed, thinking you deserve to be compensated for what you've already spent on the animal (you don't), and not having the right priorities as a seller.
I would never part with my pup because she's family, but hypothetically, if I couldn't keep her anymore, I wouldn't DREAM of charging a penny for her. All of my efforts would be focused on vetting the person, which isn't done by charging fees, but by speaking to them at length on several occasions, askign questions, visiting their home, seeing what they're like with the dog, and so on. This can be done kindly and politely, without seeming like inspector Javert, and casting a wide net to get as many candidates as possible so you can make a wise choice. If I get one whiff of flakiness, weird behavior, or other issues, then it's no deal. Receiving money is neither an effective nor logical part of this process - my SOLE interest would be in finding my darling girl a marvelous home. Asking to be paid would feel icky and wrong; besides, why would I want them to pay me $300 or whatever, when that money could be best spent on my doggie?
And you know what? All the money you invest in an animal is on you because you chose to adopt it, full stop. And the investment is made for the dog's sake, which is its own reward. It's entitled and repulsive to expect the new owner to give you money to partially compensate you for the heavy expense of this or that - sorry, that's what it means to own a dog. You either give unselfishly for the animal's benefit, or you shouldn't have one.
Few things enrage me more than misguided, greedy humans asking for a "re-homing fee" for the 5 year old dog they've raised but can't keep anymore because (fill in the blank: they want kids, are moving, got sick, etc). Don't turn the dog's misfortune into a profit center for yourself, and don't pretend that your fee is synonymous with proper vetting because it's not.
Amanda on September 05, 2018:
I've been fostering to Little Chihuahua girls for a very long time and I finally found a good home for them. They've cost me over $5,000 in vet visits. I didn't Foster them to recoup my expenses. And I finally found what I believe is to be a great home for them. What's a reasonable adoption fee?
Another Not Emily on August 25, 2018:
I disagree. Instead of receiving a rehoming "fee," I would much rather a person show proof they have donated time or money to a good cause. Anyone can pay money for a pet and still mistreat them. I'm much more likely to believe the animal is going to a good home if the receiver donates money or time to actual shelters. I'd rather proof of that than even fifty bucks in someone's pocket for "rehoming" their responsibility.
Fred on August 22, 2018:
I don't like money grubbers trying to get at my money. If I rescue a cat, dog, or any other critter. It will be out of love and will get the critter to a good loving home. Just playing devils advocate here: If I were to some bad acts to a critter or even have dog fights. I would just charge admission and pass my fees onto the next person and recoop MY charges. We live in a wicked world unfortunately. Animal cruelty and abuse will continue same with human cruelty and abuses.
Critter guy on August 22, 2018:
I have been looking on creigslist for a kitten and have seen crazy high prices for "rehoming fees" like 100 and up for kittens that havent even been to the vet yet!!!
I will glady pay the previous owner for the kitten to offset the cost of the bills and what not but i cant bring myself to spend 120bucks on a barn cats kitten.Its not that i dont value the kitten but i do undestand what it is actually worth.And the implication that if you dont want to pay 100+ bucks for a kitten or cant afford 100 bucks that makes you an unfit pet owner is crazy.
I have a dog i got for free and a pure bread that i paid heaps for and i spoil and love the crap out of them and would empty my account to save either one if need be.
To me it looks like a bunch of people just want 500 bucks every time their cat has kittens.
Looks like greed to me and not concern.
Evil people can have cash and poor people can be great pet owners.
Stop being greedy.
Michael on August 21, 2018:
Go to hell Emily. You don't care about the animal, you care about the money. If it is such a financial burden, find something else to do. I just dropped thousands of dollars trying to save my cat that I got for free. I would gladly rescue a cat, but if the choice is paying you a fee or getting one of the many free to a good home options online, than you will have a lot of cats on your hands for a long time.
Not Emily on August 16, 2018:
No one is saying fees are bad, just too high!
When the "fee" is as high if not higher than a pet store (business) then something is wrong.
Emily on July 28, 2018:
If you don't like re-homing fees, get over it. I rescued feral kittens from my back yard, went through all the trouble of capturing them, housing them separate from my other cats, potty training them, socializing them, and bringing both of them to the vet for deworming, shots, testing for diseases etc.
All that costs money. I'm entitled to getting a little of my money back and peace of mind that after all the time and effort, they're not going to be tortured or abused.
Anyone who doesn't understand the need of the fee is frankly a retard.
melissa on July 13, 2018:
In the age of technology and Facebook and other background check websites would it really be that difficult to determine from just some simple information whether or not that person should be given an animal to care for.
Krissy on July 07, 2018:
Paying a adoption fee is a must you're pet comes spay or neutered, UTD on shots, heartworm checked and medicated and well as flea treatment, micro chipped and usually not always dental exam. They offer senior citizens discounts all the time. They run specials for low income all the time. They do got donations but it's for the animals no so someone can get a hand out. If you can't pay $300 how are you gonna pay a emergency vet bill??? How will you be able to afford monthly heartworm/flea/tick treatments and food??? If you can't save that small of an amount perhaps you're unable to provide for the animal. Why do you feel you're entitled a free companion that you're getting because you want one. It's not like your doing it to help out it's because you want one.
Lori on June 24, 2018:
I don't agree with rehoming fees at all. Animal shelters get a lot of donations. I think it removes a lot of people who love pets and need them. People like the disabled and elderly who can be with the animals all the time, and provide a better home than someone gone working all the time.
Joanne on June 11, 2018:
I agree with paying something to pay the foster parent for care but some are so high like$ 200 and higher.
Dana on June 03, 2018:
Just because someone hands you money for an animal doesn't mean it will be taken care of or live a long happy life. Rehoming fees are bullshit it is a way around selling your animal online that is all there is to it. I get adoption fees from a shelter to keep such facilities running, but someone online asking $600 for a mix breed dog is just looking to make a buck. Don't get me wrong I love mutts, but this is all bullshit.
Me on June 01, 2018:
A rehoming fee of $50 is adequate enough to prevent a sale to animal labs. Any amount more is a sale of a pet. And 300 or more is nothing more than selling a pet. So the term “rehoming” is used because Craigslist does not allow selling of animals!
Nicole on April 16, 2018:
How about asking the new owner to pay a "deposit" to a vet, which could be used toward the care of the pet? Basically like buying a gift card to the vet. Do any veterinarians do that?
matt on April 04, 2018:
why are people on craigslist allowed to charge money for animals that were an accident? i.e. my pitbull got pregnant and now we have 7 pit/husky puppers that need good homes. 250 to make sure they go to a good home?? you walk a way with 1750 dollars because you are an irresponsible pet owner! shelters have overhead to cover, this particular lady is just making money..it upsets me, i can jump thru the hoops and get a dog form the norfolk or va beach SPCA for 50 dollars and some time & interviews and meetings with my dogs (3), but the moral is most people on craigslist are scum, trying to make money or recoup what they paid since they didn't know what they were getting into..i can't take my dog with me, my new apartment doesn't allow dogs, SO FIND ANOTHER HOUSING SOLUTION.
Ebony on March 18, 2018:
I have a 1 yrs old male pit bull who is amazing with kids and i need to find him a good home due to I'm moving around a lot for work its not a good look for me to have a dog that needs more attention then i have right now so if you are looking for a loving dog u can email me at email@example.com thank you look forward to here from you.
Lulu on February 18, 2018:
What website are there the find your did a good home?
autumn on February 04, 2018:
Re homing fees are needed. Sadly, If I fail to put a high enough price on a puppy or a dog ( No one here wants to deal with their own animals so I usually get suckered into finding homes for puppies, unwanted dogs and kittens ) I will have flippers calling from as far away as Chicago asking for multiple !! NO, NO and NO........ I find homes for as many as possible and do my best to make sure they go to great homes !! My sister failed to put a high enough price on her litter of puppies and now we are seeing "lost puppy" posts with two of these babies.... Its winter here, they most likely froze to death due to bad people not watching them
Ryan on January 09, 2018:
If it's not about profit or cutting losses why would the previous owners take the money? Why not require documented donation is Animal charity?
Rick on January 04, 2018:
I dont think we should be giving people who cant take of their pets money to get rid of it. But I understand why you cant just give it free to someone that maybe cant take care of it. I think the two parties should donate money to their local animal shelter as a way to compromise.
rachel on November 09, 2017:
What is the dogs names like can I have him like if I can will u bring him to me
J. Smith on November 04, 2017:
Don't you love the responsible pet owners who own a cat for one year. Then they claim a $100.00 rehoming fee will ensure the cat is going to a nice, loving home. When u ask if they have a cat carrier: most say no - why is that? Beca use these caring cat owners never had them dewormed, vaccinated nor spayed or neutered. So, please tell me how much they loved that animal when they never offered the cat healthcare. Would they treat their children like that, I would say no!!!!!!
Can we keep it real, people!!!! !!!
nathan rekenthaler on October 21, 2017:
i love pets and in some shelters if know body wants them some people will kill the pets and i dont want that to happen tothe whole population of pets
Melky on October 06, 2017:
yea? doesnt change my mind at all and Im for sure not the only one. I would adopt a kitty I already have cats I love them they have a great life in my house and garden and from now and then Im thinking about adopting a new kitty but those CEREMONIES AND FEES just make me close the adoption webpage and not go through that hassle. maybe not in america and uk where I live now, but in my country of origin - slovakia pet houses are full and when somebody comes and takes the poor animal home theyre just happy and give it to the person without any ceremonies. you leave there some ID information or contact I guess but unless youre looking like maniacal mass murderer they just give the pet so it can have a home. So what I want to say is - HUUUUGE number of animals in shelters didnt get owner because when they read that they have to come two times and pay a fee to get the pet they just decide not to go. If you like a good comedy watch Modern family episode Bringing up a Baby - theyre making fun of cat adoption exactly how I see it and how it is here in UK looks like US the same. sry for my Tarzan english and have a nice day.
Missy on August 15, 2017:
Need to regime 9 week old kitten cat had.Asking only. 50. Need to get home to someone keeps in house not outside.tigerstriped.male
Skippy on March 03, 2017:
The only pets I would consider adopting are pet birds and I have never heard of a companion bird being spayed or neutered. I can understand a fee for having a vet treat them but that's it.
Steven T on February 26, 2017:
"Unfortunately, a free pet is often considered a disposable pet."
Is money the only and sure way to screen out potential bad people? How do you call something 'free' and collect a fee for it? Doesn't matter what justification you have, it's not free.
Here's the correct ad:
Hi, I'm selling my lovely cat for $50.
Pat Morgan on February 05, 2017:
I have never heard such hogwash in my life. If you don't sell the dog to rehome it at a large fee it will end up in dangerous situation like labs experiment on them, lie there are laws against that now and frankly its a scare tactic. Also they end up dumped on the street or back in a pound. Scare tactics. I have rehomed a number of animals at a reasonable price and they were with me for many years and those others rehomed had the same experience. I am thinking seriously of trying to get laws passed over you people demanding high money and stopping good animals from being rehomed because the person might night be worthy if they can't pay enough. You should be ashamed. If someone can afford a reasonable fee for vet testing and shots and being altered they will but they cannot if you gouge them for a big buy fee. These are Mutts, and I say that lovingly I have and used to own many of them $400 to $600 for them is theft. Get a heart.
gepeTooRs on July 26, 2016:
Excellent activity, cheers
CharlesSamton on January 12, 2015:
Actually, it's really a great article and I love the comments. I do understand why some people opposed a high rehoming fee, and after all, you let go of something that you're attached. So, emotion is playing a great role and you just want to find a good & forever home for your pet. My suggestion, rehome fee is a must, but should be between $50-$200 depending on your location and breed/age/health of the dogs, and the most important is a home-visit. I know there is a few people out there that don't want strangers to visit their home, or showing their ID's, but you can get it done in proper manner way, such as set up a date & time that you will have more people in your house for a home visit, like your brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors, etc.. And if the owners want to see ID's or some types of document, you should have the right to see their too.
Flybyeme17 on March 19, 2014:
Never looked at it this way, thx!
guest on November 29, 2013:
I realize that this post is somewhat old. But I was looking for opinions on the practice of individual pet-owners charging re-homing fee--especially for parakeets and cockatiels (fully legal birds). This article is biased towards putting the entire onus on the potential new owner. He/she has to prove--mostly through putting the money where the mouth is—that he/she is suitable for taking on the new pet. First of all, while it is true that dogs or cats can be sold to labs and racers, I am not sure that there is a market for reselling small birds.
In any case, when the fee is too large, it reeks of capitalism run amuck at the grassroots level and canny profit-making. If it is too small, it does not stop the new owner from re-selling for a profit, even if it will be just a small one.
The justification that the current owner needs to recover the money he/she spent providing his/her pet's shelter and care, all expected basics, is laughable. After all the fact is, the owner made a bad choice (whatever the reasons) in taking a pet into his/her life, and is now getting the pet off his/her shoulders. People inform themselves and are careful about acquiring a spouse or a family; and in this day and age, they can do the same before bringing a pet into their lives.
I think a more fair solution would be to require that the person re-homing a pet match the potential new-owner’s contribution to the shelters. Both parties should show proof of contribution before the pet is moved.
Angela (author) on November 11, 2013:
@Steve I've heard this a lot, how some organizations have standards that are much too 'black-and-white' and end up turning away a good home (whether that's because they reject the family, or the family gets upset and goes elsewhere). They have a tough job - they don't know the applicant and are trying to find the animal a permanent, loving, and appropriate home. The process isn't perfect since we're all human, but they are trying to do what they believe is best for the animal. Part of their job is educating people on the responsibilities of pet ownership... but most places are focused on household pets like cats and dogs. If you have the opportunity to offer some friendly education of your own, please do so - it could help them in the future!
Angela (author) on November 11, 2013:
@Selma High adoption fees are definitely a deterrent for many people. The idea of doing home inspections is good, and some rescues do them, but the reality is that most organizations are far too strapped for resources to do that type of thing. That's why reputable shelters and rescues will do an adoption interview to try to make sure an animal and a prospective home are a good match for each other. As for the adoption fee, it's important to know what the fee includes - the section in the hub called, "What Could Adoption Fees Be Used For?" covers a few scenarios. Thanks for commenting!
Steve on November 07, 2013:
I lost my husky over a year ago now. In my attempts to adopt a new one I have been really put off by the adoption process. In filling out the forms we had to put in our other animals. And in both cases these so called *animal people* asked me if our quarter horse STALLION was fixed. I know that horses and dogs are not the same. But the lack of knowledge really turned me off to these people. How can you be looking out for animals by screening people if you don't know what the applicants are talking about? The fees I get for the most part. I know the cost of taking care of an injured or sick dog, my husky had epilepsy.
However some agencies ask you to jump through so many hoops with the intention of *finding the best people* but in my case it really just sent me looking in other places.
Selma on October 16, 2013:
To the brainiac who though a high adoption fee would ensure the pet a good home IS SUCH A CROCK! Shelters are over crowded. Many pets GRANTED have undergone medical care but the adoptor will also continue to take on those expenses. So WHY THE EXPENSIVE COST TO ADOPT because it will not ensure the pet gets a good home. Look at Mike Vic. He ELECTROCUTED DOGS that didn't perform in his dog fights. THE GUY HAD/HAS TONS OF MONEY! The only gurantee that a pet gets a good home is HOME INSPECTIONS. THAT'S IT. Lower the adoption fee to something manageable like maybe $100 and maybe a few surprise home inspections. Seriously, I saw a dog that I was interested in. 15 years old, almost completely blind, no teeth and takes meds twice a day. The adoption fee is $325.00. REALLY???
Andrea on September 25, 2013:
Thank you so much for this post on rehoming fees. My mother was given a yorkie/shitzu puppy a year ago - to replace her dog that died - and despite my attempts to talk her out of a puppy...she got herr anyway. Now the puppy is a year old and too much for my mother to handle. I love this dog and would take her but live out of the country and travel too much. We would be more comfotable giving her to a family we know, but so far no luck, so we placed an ad on Craig's list looking for a loving family. The responses were incredible, and many asked about a rehoming fee, which we never heard of...hence finding your site. I really like the idea of a donation to a shelter vs a fee. Why are these dogs so popular? While I am familiar with the horrendous practice of using dogs to fight, I have never heard of "bait" dogs and now I am nervous. Can you tell me if this type of dog is used for nefarious purposes? She is spaded, so that removes the breeding factor. We can only interview and check out potential people to a limit, so any advice is appreciated. Thank you!
BethDW on April 24, 2012:
Great article, you raised a lot of really important points. I have two adopted dogs (a beagle mix and a lab mix). Both dogs came to me directly from families in need, but only one of the families (from whom I adopted the beagle mix) charged me an adoption fee (of around $150). The family that charged the adoption fee clearly cared very deeply for their dog, and wanted it to be placed in the best home possible. The family that did not charge me a fee just wanted to get rid of the dog as quickly as possible, and quite obviously did not care about her wellbeing (to provide some contrast, the family that charged me the adoption fee sent loads of toys and supplies with their puppy, and were very visibly upset to see her go...while the family that didn't charge me a fee did not even own a leash for their dog.) I view an adoption fee not as a sign of profit motivation, but as a sign that the family actually values their pet, and wants to make sure that it goes to a new family that will value that pet as well. Again, excellent hub, voted up and shared! :)
Angela (author) on February 24, 2012:
Hi TFP, like I mentioned above, I totally agree that interviewing for the best home for the dog is what should be done. This article wasn't meant to address the best things you can do to get your dog adopted, only to offer reasons why an adoption fee could be a better idea than giving away a pet for free. ABSOLUTELY in an ideal world, everyone would conscientiously interview potential new owners to find the right home for their pets.
As for leaving pets with rescues or shelters - that is not always an option, as rescues and shelters are perpetually full. And finding a responsible and ethical rescue or shelter requires time and thought too.
TFP on February 21, 2012:
I would NEVER pay someone for abandoning their pet, because I think that sort of thing encourages irresponsible pet ownership. I've met a few serial Craigslist pet-abandoners who probably would not have bought their second, third, fourth pets if it wasn't so easy to "get rid" of their first. Plus, let’s face it, many of the “rehoming fees” on Craigslist are just being used by owners to recoup the costs of pets they bought but decided they didn’t want, or to sell pets period.
If you want to encourage safe adoptions, you shouldn’t be advocating rehoming fees (which are nothing more than false security and basically a way for the owners to feel better about themselves for abandoning their pets). You should be encouraging people to do interviews, home visits, and make pet contracts allowing a follow up visit(s), return of the pet if it is incompatible, and serious fines if the pet is abused. Far more effective than asking someone to cough up $75, and less likely to encourage people to buy another pet they might abandon. Or, they should just leave their pets with a no kill shelter or rescue agency who IS willing to take the time to find their pets a good home.
Angela (author) on February 17, 2012:
nligtenup: Thanks for the comment. You are absolutely right - having someone carefully and conscientiously find the right home for their pet is undoubtedly what everyone *should* do... but it doesn't often happen. Some people can't be bothered, some only have limited amounts of time to screen a potential adopter, some people are inexperienced with what to look for, etc. But I agree - ideally, every pet that is re-homed would go to a loving home that has been screened and determined to be "right", just for him.
Also wanted to say that it's wonderful that Lenny found such a great new home!
nlightenup on February 04, 2012:
The dog I just lost to old age was 12 1/2, and her predecessor was 14 1/3 years old. The 14-year-old came from a shelter and the fee was $35. Fourteen years later, the next magnificent creature came from the same shelter with a $50 fee. Having recently lost her, I went to the same shelter's website, and was flabbergasted to see that their lowest fee, for a dog 9 yrs. old or older, is $200. Most dogs are $300.
There's no way I can be considered to offer anything other than a responsible, loving home for a dog. I'm also in financial straits--older, lost my job early in the recession, and scrambling to make ends meet via start-up self-employment. An option that worked for me is one I didn't see in the discussion above: careful screening of the prospective new adopter by the current dog-parent(s), and vice-versa.
Lenny is a 9-yr-old pit bull mix who was rescued at 1-yr-old after having been used as a bait dog. The couple who have had him for 8 years are expecting a baby, and they're anxious about managing Lenny's anxiety around all the new people that will be coming into their home after the baby is born. They checked me out, coming to visit and seeing the house, as well as seeing how I was with Lenny, and I was able to get Lenny's medical info and a detailed history, as well as the opportunity to see how he interacts with people. (He's not so anxious around people who aren't anxious.) He went to the vet the week before he came to me, got all his updates, prescriptions, and a clean bill of health.
I wasn't charged an adoption fee, and couldn't have afforded much of one. But by taking the time to find out who I was and what his new home would be like, Lenny's dog-parents found a really good home for him, with more assurances about his new home than simply an adoption fee could have provided. Someone who will spend the time can be a much better prospect than someone who just spends the money.
Nicky on January 25, 2012:
I think the money used for adoption fees could be put to better use such as food and future vet bills. The cost to start caring for a dog is high enough with all the food, beds, collars, leashes, tick control, etc. It would definitely put a lot of potential loving owners off.
Joni Spumoni on October 15, 2011:
The cost of adopting dogs or puppies appears to be $100 in county shelters. This includes the initial vaccinations, a microchip including national registration, spaying and neutering costs, a 7-day exchange and a free veterinary medical examination at a participating veterinary office. This fee does not include the dog-licensing fee, which is $20 to $25 (spayed or neutered dog rate) for dogs residing in areas serviced by the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care & Control.
Cats and kittens are about $90. This includes the initial vaccinations, a microchip including national registration, spaying and neutering costs, a 7-day exchange and a free veterinary medical examination at a participating veterinary office. This fee does not include the cat-licensing fee, which is $5 (spayed or neutered cat rate) for cats residing in all county unincorporated areas and several cities serviced by the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care & Control. All cats deserve the protection a license tag provides.
I completely understand the reason for reasonable adoption fees. If a person gets a pet for free, this pet may not have any tangible value. However, some rescue groups charged $395 to $600 or more. They cherry pick from shelters, animal control and the like. When you consider everything the shelter does before an animal is relinquished to a rescue group at NO charge, the claim of “all our animals are up-to-date with routine shots,” is misleading. In addition, rescue groups are dodgy about whether they’ve had fecal exams and heartworm test done. If they have not, your lovely pooch or kitten may have giardia, coccidia or other nasty parasites. Who pays for this? The person adopting the dog pays. The cost of a fecal test varies, but it’s about $75 at my vet’s office. These parasites are contagious and you had better be careful because some of these parasites can be transferred to the humans in the house. Moreover, if you already have a dog, you’ll have to keep it separate from your current dog, to make sure your current dog doesn’t pick up parasites, or you’ll need to treat your dog as well. Who pays for the fecal exam or the medication to treat your rescued animal? Again, you do.
If for some reason say… the dog you adopt isn’t a good match and you return the pooch (the rescues want their dogs back), the group, from whom you adopted your dog, will not refund the adoption fee.
I agree with “anonymous,” in that rescue groups quickly snap up the easiest dogs to adopt before the public has any chance to see the dog. I spoke to one rescue representative today, about a specific dog and she told me this dog would be at their regular adoption event – and she further informed me that they picked up the dog last night! Unless the dog was in a foster situation, they know very little about the dog’s disposition, and if it hasn’t been in quarantine for at least ten days, it could easily be carrying something contagious like kennel cough or several other upper respiratory infection. These rescue groups do not guarantee a dog’s health or temperament and you have to sign a waiver agreeing to hold harmless, should the dog become ill or snappish. Breeders generally give you a one-year health guarantee. It isn’t worth a darn thing really, but I feel a rescue group should offer some sort of guarantee of health. Allow me to transition to another issue – these rescue groups get their dogs from shelters and such, so are you rescuing a dog someone cared about, but couldn’t care for it (lousy excuse), OR are you adopting a shelter dog whose owner used for breeding? Are you adopting a puppy mill dog? Are you adopting a pet with genetic issues that are not a problem YET?
In addition, many of these groups require you to bring your dog to the event and while this seems like a good idea, some dogs are likely to be overwhelmed and they cannot put their best paw forward at a crowded event. Some want to see the dogs in your home. Some places require a home invasion before they adopt out their dog. I get that people have been awful to animals and I understand a rescue group’s concerns; however being put immediately on the defensive is off-putting. I've been approved by several rescues, so my comments are not just sour grapes.
dubv on October 02, 2011:
High re-homing fees, equivalent to or higher than the cost of an unpaper puppy, give the rescue community a bad name, and rightfully so. People become tax free and then are actually making money. I know, rescue people hate to think this of their own just like many fundies can't bring themselves to doubt the healing powers of benny hinn, but it is true. Particularly nasty are those who rehome dogs that most would deem dangerous in order to make the money. I'm surprised that no one has been sued yet because of this.
dogs4ever on October 01, 2011:
I love the discussions and I am all for the pet adoption fees. This is the only way I would have a pet. I am willing to pay the fee to show that I am a responsible pet owner and will care for the pet's needs until death do us part.
Abby on September 06, 2011:
I rescued a cat off of the highway with intentions of finding a good home, the cat was pregnant so I ended up letting her stay, now my question is, is it okay to ask for a rehoming fee for the kittens?
anonymous on September 05, 2011:
I disagree somewhat.. a high adoption fee also can turn away a good home. And that is why breeders are still able to keep afloat...why pay 300 for a rescue dog when someone can go get apuppy for 150..i mean seriously..its become a money racket for some rescues..and there are some that are not for the money but some that are. I was told by a rescue they only take in young, healthy adoptable dogs..that tells me out ofr the money not saving the dogs.....high cost rescues are why many people are still breeding and the thing that ticks me off is that some rescues will fight adopters to get a dog from a shetler so thy can make a quick buck on them..and half the dogs get donations for the vet bills, pull fees etc..so then why do they need my extra money...
Pets and the Sity from Atlanta on June 07, 2011:
I am a huge advocate for adopting and totally understand the fees. My boyfriend and I are always fostering and finding forever homesto these amazing animals. Thank you for sharing this great and much needed info!
camdjohnston12 on May 23, 2011:
Great lens, I really appreciate this article.
Mal on April 06, 2011:
That is all fine and well. Although sometimes these fees are outrageous, and then have to turn around and spend more money on taking care of the dog. A shelter in my neighborhood has a $49.00 adoption fee. I think that is great! I am willing to pay that. I saw some cute puppies on craigslist and they were asking a re- homing fee of $700.00 you read it right $700.00!!! That is outrageous!! A lot of pets will sit in shelters because they want a $300.00 adoption fee, for that I could go to a breeder and get a brand new puppy.
Serena Zehlius from Hanover, PA on March 14, 2011:
Excellent topic! Important information for people out there that need to re-home their pets.
jessejvickers on March 13, 2011:
I really love dogs...Thanks for sharing.
Crystal on February 14, 2011:
I strongly believe in a re-homing fee. The face is that there are people or families out there that want a pet but cannot afford them or do now have the proper knowledge to care for them. If someone cares about their pet and wants them to be well taken care of, there is nothing wrong with charging a fee.
There are a lot of good people out there with good intentions, however it does not mean that they are capable of doing what is necessary to ensure the health and happiness of their pet. I have 5 puppies that are going to need homes in a few weeks and yes i will charge a fee for people to take them home. I want to know that they will be taken care of and that i didn't just give them away to someone who doesn't know what they are getting into.
Owning a pet is a very big responsibility and it is not to be taken lightly. As cute as a puppy is, it will be a lot of work as it gets older and many people do not consider that. My female became pregnant just before i had my male nuetered, so it is my responsibility to make sure that her babies find good homes. I would not be comfortable just giving them away to people and not knowing if they can actually take care of them.
Preston on February 13, 2011:
Hey we get it, its cool. Nothing better than a few bucks to ease the pain of selling your pet, right?
Angela (author) on February 02, 2011:
cmoore46 - Absolutely, there are people from all walks of life and all economic situations who take wonderful care of their pets. Unfortunately it's also a reality that there are some people (again, from all walks of life and all economic situations) that will not bother to give their pets the care they need to live happy and healthy lives. An adoption fee is only one way to help drive home the point that having pets cost money, and to help 'screen' a potential family as to whether or not they would be willing to invest in a pet. It also helps to deter people who would use the pets for other purposes.
Obviously charging adoption fees isn't ideal - it would be great if homeless animals could be given away freely to loving homes - but we live in an imperfect world and can only do our best.
cmoore46 on February 01, 2011:
Fees may be good in some cases, but there are a lot of very good and caring people that love pets and care concidered as part of the family and make very good pet owners. But due go pet fees and adoption fees the people have a very hard time find a pet or finding a replacement pet for one that passed away after being part of the family for 10+ years like mine that pet died from cancer.
My wife and I are in our 60's and live on a limited income in. I have a very good vet that took care of my dog when he would become ill. He works with people and since we could not pay at times he would hold a check until be were able to pay. His moto is that he is there for the pet and the money will come. I don't know of any other vet that would be so much for animals first and money second.
You can not judge a people just because they are unable to pay a rehoming fee or a very high adoption fee.
Jessie on January 31, 2011:
I happened to come across this blog/board while looking up rehoming fees. There is not wrong or right answer there is just what you feel is best and what suit’s the situation at the time. My husband and I trap, fix and release a lot of cats and when we come across kittens, we trap, fix and rehabilitate them. Over the years, we have placed over 50 cats and all free to a loving home. I ask questions, find out about them through talking, I find out where they work, how many other pets they have, who their vet is and so much more. Everyone has a kind of sense that gives little signs to tell you who is good and who is bad. There are many times I go to the persons some, bringing the cat with me so I can see for myself how the family and cat interact with one another and then as I have always done the cat and I say good bye to the family and tell them to come and pick the cat up tomorrow. I chip all my cats and keep their chip name under my name so if the pet gets lost I am contacted so I can later find out what happened and then if the situation calls for it call all the shelters in their area and mind to tell them to not let their adopt again. If people just take their time, learn about the people I am sure they will find out everything they need to know. In some cases, I agree higher adopting fee is needed but do not make that dogs adoption fee so high that the dog loses its chances at finding a forever home. I am not made of money but I have offered my animals a very loving home and there is only so much I can pay for a pet. People need to keep that in mind because this is all really just about the animals. Would you deny that dog or cat a good loving home all because the people that want him/her can’t pay the high fee? If so, that is very sad and greedy. I say get to know the person first and if you can’t figure out who is good and who is not then you should not be adopting pets out or hand the job over to a more experienced adoption agent. If the person does not fit well in your mind then you charge that price but DO NOT take away a pets potential family just because you want more money. That pet has a right just as much as we do and a cage is not their best choice at a home. All I am saying is get to know the people you are finding homes to the pets and everything will work itself out. Thank you for listening.
Mari on January 28, 2011:
I agree with the last statement im in the navy and i have never had a dog but my husband has and he stays home with my kids. i have always wanted a dog and did the research too but was denied. after a few months i quit applying and bought my st bernard puppy from a private dealer. that was three years ago and i have been soo happy to have done it he is the perfect pet for my family.
Ms.Miller on January 25, 2011:
I agree with many here who have posted frustration regarding adoption policies and rehoming fees vs adoption fees. I'm a military wife. Once I got married me and my husband went back and forth about getting a pet for three years. In the mean-time, I had already purchased toys, supplies, and books and watched Animal planet and Natural Geographic whenever any dog related show popped up. I studied breed after breed from site after site and took quiz after quiz to see which breed would fit my family the best.
Now the time comes for me to welcome a puppy or small breed adult into my family and I'm met with road block after road block from shelters and rescues. Even though I stay at home, I get disqualified for having a husband in the military or having a young child. I've submitted just general adoption applications online, before speaking to anyone or even seeing a single pet and have been denied superficially. To me that's wrong.
If you are more worried about the 1/8 that is returned over the %50 who never get a chance, can you really say you're acting in the dog's best interest? Apparently even under the BEST of circumstances pets may be returned. What you've done is turn away %50 of the people who cared enough not to start with a breeder or pet store and asked them to go to a breeder anyway. That completely defeats the purpose. If someone is going to pay breeder prices for a pet that could have issues or has an uncertain medical future what's truly the incentive? All you've done is prevented more animals from being adopted and therefore more space that could've been given to animals that are at risk in kill shelters.
I don't agree with the private party rehoming fees that exceed animal control adoption fees. What's the difference between selling a dog for $350 and rehoming the same dog for $350? Yes supplies may be included, but personally I feel like the owner can keep the supplies, I already have my own. The reason they are included is because most of the time the previous owner has no need for those items anymore. Don't charge me because you kept your pet’s shots utd. I have to pay for those shots for the next five to fifteen years you neglected to provide a home for your pet.
ThePepperDen from Australia on January 20, 2011:
This is a fantastic hub- I've linked to it twice in one of my hubs. More people should be made aware that selling your dog for a modest fee is a GOOD thing. ^_^
tonysam on November 25, 2010:
People should ask themselves why these "concerned" pet owners demand an adoption fee when they aren't responsible enough to keep their pets. Didn't these people even think about a pet being a lifelong commitment? Just call it what it is, and that's selling your pet; it isn't an "adoption" fee.
Judy on November 09, 2010:
I understand the adoption fee and don't have a problem but we need to understand there are alot of people that pay good money and still fight dogs and use for labs because money is not an object for them because they are making money...... dogs are stolen everyday for this cause, so do we stay away from breeds that are what they are looking for ???????
Richard on September 08, 2010:
The last paragraph is a reasonable way to request a "rehoming fee." Having the new owner pay for a vet checkup and current vaccinations is another good way since you will want to make sure the animal is in good health before you introduce it to other animals and to your family. ANY other request for a "re-homing fee" is a scam and should be treated as such.
If you are the original owner of a dog who paid money for the care and health of that animal, you have done so because you were a good owner. There is NO reason the new owner should compensate you for expenses you had during your companionship with the animal.
Scott on August 30, 2010:
@Allan - While I agree with what you say about CL, the rest of your statement is silly. You want me to show you my ID? Not a chance. You want three addresses? What for? This does nothing to ensure proper placement of a pet. It's just a control thing. As the new pet owner, maybe I should ask for the previous owner's ID. For that matter, maybe I should speak with the neighbors to see if they ever saw the old owner abuse their pet. Or maybe I should run a credit check. Because we all know what a risk someone is if they have poor credit. You see how ridiculous all of this is? Use common sense, that's what's important.
Scott on August 30, 2010:
Sorry, the second part of my post was a reply to @Sailin Cat, not @tonyhubb.
Scott on August 30, 2010:
Paying a fee to a rescue or a shelter, I'm fine with that. They have to maintain the animal while it is awaiting a new home. Private parties are a completely different situation. They've had the pet and decided, for what ever reason, they can no longer maintain it. I'm doing them a favor by giving the animal a new home.
@tonyhubb - That's a bunch of nonsense. There is no way in this world that I would fill-out an application to adopt a pet from you, or anyone else. I surely wouldn't let you come in to my home. I don't know you, or what ulterior motives you may have. I will gladly get my pet from someone who minds their own business. I know you think what you're doing is productive and helpful for the animals, but it's not. Your actions cause more animals to be euthanized than is necessary. Your process slows down the placement of animals, which in turn, causes more of them to be put down. Your time would be much better spent helping pet owners better understand the responsibilities of pet ownership. But, I guess there's no money in that now is there?
Talia R. on July 14, 2010:
I got my cat for free and i still love and care for her. Im sooooo glad too because she is my soulmate kitty :)
HJK on March 05, 2010:
I was looking to adopt a rescued Cavalier King Charles puppy from a shelter that rescues from puppy mills. When I asked about the adoption fees they told me that they charge $625.00 for these dogs??! I believe that a re-homing/adoption fee up to around $300 may be necessary but I feel that the amount that this shelter wanted was over the top.
Angela (author) on February 26, 2010:
Hi Marietta. I agree that it doesn't matter how much you pay for a pet, there will always be people who mistreat or neglect their pets. However, I believe that fees help to encourage people to think about the true costs of keeping a pet healthy and happy, and also helps to weed out people who just looking for something for free. "Free", too often, can become "disposable".
More importantly, adoption fees help animal shelters and humane societies continue to do the work that they do. Health care, food, spay/neuter, and other expenses all add up. Some animals need extensive rehabilitation before they can be adopted too. The adoption fee helps to offset these costs.
Thanks for chipping in.
TeeFree on February 26, 2010:
A recent study about cat adoptions suggested that adoption fee is not necessary for cats to find good homes. It may enhance adoption rates, when the people that would otherwise get a "free to a good home" cat adopt a shelter cat instead. They are also more likely get information about good pet keeping this way.
I did pay for my adopted cat (actually her neutering and vaccination), and I was happy to do it.
Marietta on February 22, 2010:
I have never paid a dime for any pet I have ever had, and I'm a responsible pet owner. You cannot punish all potential pet owners for the actions of a few. I've seen purebred dogs that the owners paid a small fortune for languishing on chains in backyards because the novelty wore off. Charging fees to adopt means fewer homes available. I'm totally against fees.
escape777 on February 16, 2010:
I disagree with a large rehoming fee. We have had 6 dogs during our 40 years of marriage and never had a problem with any of our dogs. They were part of our family! They all died of old age and we all cried when our family member passed away. I agree that there are nuts out there, but I think there are more good families then bad that love their pets.We have always purchased them as puppys and from good families. People really need to know that getting a pet means a commitment!
balvarez143 from New York City on February 15, 2010:
I have 5 adopted pets, 2 dogs and 3 birds. The fee is necessary for the reasons you stated. My dog Duke was used as bait for dog fights. He was missing a small chunk from his ear and had numerous scars on his paws and even had part of his tail chewed off. A fee is to prevent people from collecting pets for inhumane and cruel acts.I have spent over $1000 in adoption fees and I would do it all over again. Thanks for writing this.
Angela (author) on January 11, 2010:
Hi Allan. Thanks for commenting. I won't comment specifically about Craigslist, but I would like to comment that people who are planning to do something nefarious with a pet aren't likely to show you valid ID or address. Also, dogs aren't necessarily being used as "fighting dogs", but as "bait" for the fighting dogs.
As for the adoption fee, everyone has a limit on how much they think is reasonable. Like mentioned in the hub, perhaps a good compromise would be to ask the adopter to make the donation to an animal rescue and bring the receipt instead.
Allan on January 10, 2010:
There is one reason people charge an adoption fee on places like craiglist, to make money and get around the rule that you are prohibited from selling animals. All you have to do to make sure your animal isn't going to a lab or such is require people to show ID, and give you there address. Most dogs are not suitable for dogfights. A small 25-50 dollar donation is not a bad idea but most people on craigslist won't do it because what they want is money for their animal. thanks
Angela (author) on December 27, 2009:
Hi Peter. I can see where you're coming from, but I've seen it from "the other side" of working at a shelter. While "high" adoption fees may discourage a few people from adopting from a rescue or a shelter, it is not an issue with many others. Shelters and rescues are non-profit organizations and they subsidize the cost of caring for the animal. Depending on the organization, adoption fees can include a health check upon arrival; vaccines and/or deworming and/or other medications, as needed; rehabilitating sick or ill animals; socializing timid or shy animals to give them a better chance of adoption; providing spay/neuter surgery (which some owners may not do if left to their own devices); microchip and/or tattoo and/or license; information on caring for the pet, including help after the adoption; subsidized or low-cost training/obedience classes; and goodness knows what other extras. The adoption fee is often far less than the actual cost of all of this stuff.
Puppies are super cute of course, but there are lots of people who prefer adult dogs. Adult dogs are often "what you see is what you get"... you know how big they're going to get, you can get a good feel for their temperament (especially if the shelter staff has gotten to know them), you know what they look like and how long their fur is, etc (which might seem trivial but is not, when you consider how much grooming, for example, might be required). Puppies are a LOT of work, time and expense. Far too often, once a cute little puppy grows up, it is surrendered to a shelter because it matured into something the adopter wasn't expecting or couldn't handle.
Thanks for adding your comments.
Peter on December 24, 2009:
I am a strong believer that high adoption fees cause a majority of folks NOT to adopt a pet, but rather buy from a breeder. I have wanted a new family for a while since our last boston terrier past away. However, a breeder will charge me between $100-$500, depending on the market if selling or not. But an adoption, I am getting an older family member but no less than $250-500. Let's face it majority of normal folks would pay less for a puppy then can train than spend twice as much for an older pet that temperament is unknown. So, I totally disagree with rescue organizations that charge over $100. I refuse to adopt from Boston Terrier Rescue, they charge no less than $350. Yes, there is the costs of surgeries, healing, etc. But that should be donations, not a "donated adoption fee of $350 or so." I am also in the military and have traveled all through Europe and the US with our four legged family members. So, charging a high adoption fee, I truly believe backfires on adopting versus paying breeders.
Angela (author) on December 14, 2009:
Hi Gil... there's a very good reason for the adoption processes. Yes, I think they can sometimes get too "paranoid" (for lack of a better word) but in general they are there to ensure that the pet gets a home that actually wants the animal and is capable of caring for the animal.
For example, lots of people want cute little puppies or kittens without knowing how much work is actually involved. Once those babies grow up and end up needing training and WORK, many of them end up back at the shelter. Or how about the people who try to sneak pets into "no pet" housing? Then the landlord finds out and they have to get rid of the pet. Or the person who likes the "look" of a certain dog but doesn't know much about the breed. Or the person who gives a pet as a gift to friend or family member who doesn't actually want a pet...
Those are just a few reasons why there are processes in place during an adoption. It would be nice to believe that everyone is going to think things through and give the pet a proper home, but evidence shows that's not true. Too many animals are turned into shelters and rescues because they became too much trouble, an inconvenience, they grew up and weren't as cute anymore, or someone in the family didn't want the pet to begin with.
gil on December 12, 2009:
i think the adoption process is a little over done. i wanted a kitten to i thought i get one from the shelter. it wasn't the 150 dollar adoption fee that turned me off, it was this whole process. interviews, check you house, references, the whole nine yards, like you were adopting a human baby. Look at Sailin Cat procedure for adoption.
i went on craigs and paid the rehoming fee and that was it.
Sailin Cat on December 04, 2009:
Why a Rigorous Adoption Procedure (Including Fee) is Necessary for Pet Adoptions
I've been active in organized pet rescue, foster, and adoptions for several years. All the 501(c)(3) groups I work with have very similar adoption procedures and requirements.
After a person or family express interest in adopting a particular animal, they then go through:
* An informal interview.
* Complete and sign a two-page adoption application questionnaire. (I then have their written responses reviewed for red flags by multiple experienced foster folks.)
* A follow up interview to discuss questionnaire responses.
* Optional interview with their Vet & landlord.
* Optional pre-adoption in home evaluation visit.
* Complete and sign a one-page terms of adoption agreement.
* Pay a significant standardized adoption fee.
* At least two follow up contacts (by phone, email, or in person) to verify adoption is going well.
I reject about 50% of applicants by the time they've completed the application and interviews.
Sound harsh, excessive, and paranoid? Even after all that, I have about 25% failed adoptions. That is, animals returned within a year. There are a lot more people who want pets than are prepared to take good care of them.
-- Sailin Cat
tonyhubb on November 07, 2009:
Very good hub, thanks for sharing!
Petsit Lady from Spring, Texas on August 30, 2009:
"Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative". M. Siegal
PRBJ on August 02, 2009:
Thank you for writing this article. We just posted a video entitled, "What You Should Know Before You Post Your Pet Free To Good Home" It was inspired by and features Shader, a little pit bull we rescued, who was obviously used as a bait dog. It is a sad truth that there are bad people out there looking for free animals for nefarious purposes. Please be wary. ~ Pet Rescue By Judy, Sanford, Florida
clueless on July 22, 2009:
I recently had to put my pet up for adoption. It turned out to be the worst possible scenario for several reasons. Bottom line is that the adoption went through a third party. I was not given all the facts nor was I allowed to meet the new owners prior to my dog being sent away. The trainer told me she never takes money and I should trust her to find the right home. I had a very difficut time with having to give away my baby and insisted several times to be allowed to speak with the new owner. We finally met because they needed me to sign his akc paper so she could show him in agilitiy. it didn't go well and the woman and I exchanged some unpleasant emails. in the meantime i found out about this rehoming fee which is usually charged and the owner admitted she paid it to the trainer for fees I supposedly owed her. I have to let this go but I have some thoughts to share. Owning a pet is a lifetime commitment, consider resue and adoption first, when circumstances come up that force you to find a new home for your dog try and do it yourself if possible. This way you will know where your pet is going and be comfortabe with their new home and have a say. GOD Bless everyone involved in the pet world.
Jennifer on June 13, 2009:
I love the last paragraph. That's a great idea!!!
shawnam from Springfield OR on January 20, 2009:
thanks for posting both sides of the argument. i have honestly gotten every single one of my dogs off of craigslista and love them to death. I have paid the fees but realize how much money goes into the investment of a lifelong companion.
Angela (author) on February 09, 2008:
Hi Whitney05, thanks for the comment. That's definitely a tough one, shelters charging different fees for different animals. I once talked to someone who worked at a shelter who did just that. Here's the way she explained it to me: some pets are more adoptable than others. There are some that will probably get homes no matter what (popular purebreds, for example), and then there are some that are overlooked for various reasons (older dogs, dogs that look "ugly" because they're just undergone surgery or are recovering from some physical condition). So what they do is charge more for the more adoptable dogs, and less for the dogs that are going to have more trouble finding homes. What they're trying to do is make it more appealing for someone to adopt dogs that are overlooked, or at least make people STOP and look at the "cheaper" dogs! Then hopefully the popular dogs still get homes, the less popular dogs have a better chance, and they still raise enough money to help cover their operating and medical expenses.
I have no idea if this variable-fee structure works but I like to think they have the dogs' best interests in mind.
Anyway, glad the dog in your story found a great home in the end! Thanks for chipping in.
Whitney from Georgia on February 09, 2008:
I think adoption fees work well. If the perspecitive pet parent is willing to bring this new life into theyir home, they should be so willing as to pay the fee. The ng I have a problem with is when there's a shelter that varies their adoption fee.
Example- there's a shelter in my area that has one fee for small dogs, one fee for average mix breeds, one fee for pretty mixbreeds, one fee for older dogs, and an unbelievably high feed for purebred dogs. Much less, if they purebred has papers. I've seen them charge over $300 for a dog. One time, they even made up papers for a schnauzer. The schnauzer had previously been adopted without papers, but when they tried to readopt her, she all of a sudden had papers. The lady I was volunteering for at the time adopted her bc they were stressing her out (she was blind and had her in the middle of the petsmart adoption area). Anyway, they told her they wouldn't let her have the dog unless when she readopted it out they got half the fee she charged. She told them that was fine as long as they paid half the medical bills she was going to put forth. They opted not to, and just adopted her the dog.
Anyway, the dog found a great home. The reason this lady put up a fight was because she volunteered when the dog was brought in and adopted the first time. But, since had created her own shelter.