Think twice about waiving adoption fees

By Kristina Walden | Published Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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Waiving adoption fees creates a profound issue for all municipal shelters or rescue agencies.

All agencies want to see animals adopted, not killed; however, not charging a fee means any animal adopted has zero value. A dog or cat with zero value means that potentially the first time that animal requires medical attention or a pet deposit, or is not spayed or neutered and produces an unwanted litter, that dog or cat is discarded.

Nearly all North Texas shelters, including no-kill and rescue agencies, are full and overflowing with dogs, cats, puppies and kittens. Most municipal shelters are space-based, which means they must kill animals not adopted within a time frame to make room for new animals coming in.

Everyone hopes that anyone adopting a dog or cat seeks a family companion in a home environment and the pet will be loved and well taken care of. People seeking a pet for those reasons will pay a fee. Those fees help cover the cost of caring for unwanted, lost or abandoned dogs and cats.

Free adoptions, even though sponsored by others, mean no income, and no income means less care.

The only exception I see would be waiving an adoption fee for a special needs or older dog or cat or for placement in a senior’s home. Free, or just hand-them-over adoptions help no one and create unnecessary stress for all adoption agencies competing for a home for every dog or cat.

These “free” animals tend to be abandoned or returned to a shelter when a family moves or goes on vacation or lifestyle changes put a strain on feeding them. Sometimes puppies and kittens are adopted and once grown do not “fit” into a particular lifestyle and are discarded as adults and a new puppy or kitten is then adopted. Why not? They didn’t cost anything in the first place! This creates more strain on the shelter.

Zero value also opens the door for an “adopted” dog, cat, puppy or kitten to be used as bait for dog fighting. There are cases of reptile owners and breeders seeking unspayed cats or small dogs with newborn or young kittens or puppies for use as a food source for their large reptiles. These people can fool anyone into thinking the dogs and cats are going to a loving home. Why pay a fee when so many “free” animals are available?

Yes, Wise County needs to “clear out the shelter” – but at what risk to the dog or cat adopted for nothing?

Yes, that dog or cat has a chance of life if adopted, versus no chance when its time is up in a kill shelter. But which is better – death by dog fighting, as a food source, starvation, disease or cruelty versus a shelter environment with food, water, a dry bed and, if not adopted, death by humane injection?

Please think about your pet dog or cat. Oppose “free” adoptions to just anyone. Give every shelter and rescue agency a chance to care for and properly place that pet by charging a fee.

Kristina Walden

One Response to “Think twice about waiving adoption fees”

  1. Walt Partin says:

    Ms. Walden I think you are way off base here. The adoption fees that shelters charge are so minimal they will have little or no effect on the value an adoption home places on a pet. The folks that did adopt during the no fee period went though the same requirements that everyone that adopts does. Many pet’s lives were spared because of the attention this program received, especially channel 5, not the free adoption fee.


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