Are free animal shelter adoptions a good or bad idea?

Overridingly, one would normally assume that free animal shelter adoptions are a good idea because a lot of people respond to this sort of incentive and adopt a cat or dog from a shelter when they would otherwise have put it off.

It seems that a lot of people are very sensitive to the cost of pet adoption from shelters even when the cost is fairly modest. There is quite a lot of discussion on the Internet about how to reduce the number of animals at animal shelters and one outstanding way is to make it easier to adopt by which it is meant that the checks on potential adopters are less restrictive and sometimes the cost of adoption is reduced or on occasions eliminated.

A recent story from Farmington, N.M., USA highlights this. An animal shelter in Farmington offered free adoptions (“priceless pets”) for the week of July 17-23 which resulted in the shelter being all but emptied of dogs and cats.

The shelter holds around 250 animals but after the promotion just a handful of dogs and a few dozen cats remained. The rest had gone to new homes. It had been a major success, on the face of it.

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However, you will read on the Internet that one reason for setting a price for shelter adoptions is to effectively test the adopter. It is a way of weeding out adopters who do not have sufficient funds to look after a cat or dog adequately. It is a way of ensuring that adopted cats and dogs go to proper homes where the pet owner is aware of the cost of looking after a companion animal and prepared to meet those costs.

It could be argued, therefore, that free adoptions encourage the wrong sort of person to come forward to adopt a cat or dog and that sometimes these adoptions will be failures resulting in the re-surrender of the animal.

For my part, I think that on balance, facilitating cat and dog adoptions by reducing the fee is a good idea despite the slight increase in risk that the adopter will be unsuitable. What do you think?

Source of Farmington story:

2 thoughts on “Are free animal shelter adoptions a good or bad idea?”

  1. Ideally, free adoptions would be fantastic, BUT what better way to find bait for training fighting dogs? Even though dog fighting is supposed to be illegal, rings are being broken up all the time and people go to jail and dogs are being destroyed.

    I hope that the shelter is taking appreciate measures and the free animals are going to loving homes.


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