Is it a good idea to reduce the adoption fee of a shelter cat or dog by 50% three days before their original due out/review for euthanasia date, or does it devalue the cat or dog?
I’ll simplify that question. Should the cost of adopting a cat or dog from a shelter be heavily reduced when the cat or dog is nearer the time when he will be euthanised? The intention of offering the discounted price is obviously to encourage people to adopt the cat or dog thereby avoiding euthanising him or her.
This sounds like a very laudable and good idea because the intention is to save lives and there is a desperate need in many shelters to save the lives of cats and dogs because even today there are far too many that end their days at the shelter having never found a new home.
I repeat, the reason for the idea is very genuine and good. However, I think you may be able to read into the title to this article, the weakness of the idea for me.
To reduce the adoption fee of a cat that is nearing the time when he will be euthanised mirrors very accurately the way supermarkets reduce the price of their products as the sell-by date approaches.
What I don’t like about the idea is that it reflects the sad situation at some animal shelters, which is that there is a tendency due to the nature of the business and the pressure under which they operate, to treat the animals for which they are responsible as objects rather than sentient, living and feeling creatures which need nurturing, looking after with great care and never killing – i.e. genuinely sheltered.
This idea would never occur to the manager of a genuine no-kill shelter because there would be no date at which a cat would be euthanised. Therefore, the idea is a product of the failure within cat ownership and the shelter system.
It is a sticking plaster, which for me, does not really work. The better solution is to reassess the entire process of cat and dog ownership but that is far too big a task for anyone to contemplate.
Another aspect of this laudable idea that informs me that it will probably not work is that a reduction of an adoption fee from $40 to $20 is not going to make a difference. The saving is $20. The adoption of a cat is for the lifetime of a cat which may amount to around $10,000 worth of expenses. So the “product” that a person is buying at the shelter is actually costing $10,000 and therefore a discount of $20 will have little or no impact.
This is my personal view and I expect many people to disagree with me. Final thought: the discounted adoption fee idea is arguably very practical and pragmatic. I think supporters of the idea will state that. I agree. It is a practical way forward but it may actually backfire because it subtly encourages people to devalue shelter animals.
P.S. I wanted to add another final thought. If reducing the adoption fee by $20 encourages a person to adopt a cat from a shelter, do you think the person is suitable as a cat caretaker for the lifetime of the cat? Can they afford to be an excellent cat caretaker?
Note: My thanks to Dee for telling me about this.