Discounted Adoption Fees - Who’s Doing It and Why?

Discounted Adoption Fees - Who’s Doing It and Why?

Variable and discount adoption fees are becoming pretty widespread.  A quick search to find out what people are doing around the country comes up with a good assortment of ideas.  Here’s a few and if you haven’t read the Animal Sheltering Magazine article, you’ll find some more ideas there:

During the busiest time of the year, when shelters are overwhelmed with animals discounted adoption rates can help keep euthanasia rates from skyrocketing as in San Diego’s three month period of free adoptions for selected animals.  While puppies and kittens tend to draw most of the attention, this additional incentive is offered for those who would consider an older pet:

San Diego County, California, May 30, 2008

Due to a seasonal influx of animals in the County’s three animal shelters, the Department of Animal Services will waive all adoption fees, beginning this Saturday, May 31 through Aug. 30, for cats 6 months and older, and all dogs 5 years and over, County Animal Services Director Dawn Danielson announced today.

In addition, the adoption fee for any cat or dog that has been at the shelter for 30 days will also be waived.

For some of the most difficult animals to adopt, whether for age or in this case color, discount incentives (and bonus - free gifts) can help get those hard to move animals in motion:

Idaho Humane Society, Idaho, November 12, 2008

The Idaho Humane Society has reduced adoption fees for black dogs through the end of next week in the hopes of finding homes for dogs that are often overlooked. Those who adopt the first 25 dogs will receive a free Boise State University collar and leash.

The shelter always has a large number of black dogs, which don’t attract the same kind of attention as brown or spotted dogs, according to Dee Fugit, adoption service director at the Idaho Humane Society.

Starting today, dogs that are at least 80 percent black can be adopted for a reduced fee of $40. The fee that includes first vaccinations, spaying or neutering, microchipping. The promotion will run through Sunday, Nov. 2.

Color, age, length of stay, but what about size?  When a shelter is facing a problem that is bigger than usual, reduced adoption fees based on weight might be the ticket to empty kennels and less shelter deaths:

Loiusville, Kentucky, October, 2007

In honor of Adopt-a-Dog Month, Metro Animal Services is offering discounts to people interested in providing a good home for bigger pooches.

From Saturday through Nov. 3, dogs 40 pounds and over will be available for adoption for a fee of $40. The regular adoption fee is $135.

In an emergency, reduced fees can help open up space to help new animals or just move others through when adoptions have slowed as in this case at the Helen Woodward Animal Center:

Helen Woodward Animal Center, Rancho Santa Fe, California, October, 2007

The Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe is reducing pet adoption fees by 50 percent today through Monday.

The center was evacuated for four days due to the Witch Creek fire, causing a 70 percent drop in cat and dog adoptions last week, spokesman John Van Zante said.

In an emergency crowding situation a Louisiana shelter waived fees entirely:

St. Bernard Parrish, LA, October, 2008

Hoping to put a dent in the growing animal population at the St. Bernard Parish Animal Shelter, the parish will waive adoption fees through the weekend.

Now even if you don’t have any of the above mentioned challenges, how about this curve ball?  When the Animal Protective League started to see an increase in the SIZE rather than just the number of cats they waived the fees for Chubby Kitties:

Animal Protective League, Illinois, January 2008

Adoption Fee Waived for Chubby Kitties

We all have a tendency to put on a few extra pounds during the holidays and some of the kitties at Animal Protective League (APL) are no exception. The shelter is waiving the adoption fee for the month of January for approximately 20 cats who are a little rounder around the middle than some of their counterparts.

An animal shelter in New York has decided to waive cat adoption fees for the remainder of 2008:

Animalkind, New York, October, 2008

Animalkind, the non-profit animal rescue organization across from Seventh Street Park on Warren Street, offers free cat adoptions for the remainder of 2008, beginning Friday, October 17. 

When we think about a holistic approach to animal sheltering, we want to think about the animals in terms of our entire community.  In what is probably my favorite program to waive fees, the City of Bloomington will waive an adoption fee for any family that has lost a pet in a fire:

Bloomington, Indiana, January 2008

Mayor Mark Kruzan announced today a collaboration between the City of Bloomington’s Fire Department and Animal Care and Control Division to waive the adoption fee for families who have lost a pet in a fire.

Now that’s creativity!

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3 Responses to “Discounted Adoption Fees - Who’s Doing It and Why?”

  1. Lynn Orbison says:

    This is GREAT! Lots of options, lots of choices and reasons. Lots of hope and thinking outside the box.

    I’m sharing the URL…is there any way we can all share more?!

  2. One consequence of low adoption fees I’ve not seen here: They let those of us who pull at-risk dogs from shelters do much, much more.

    I live four hours from a large metropolitan pound (Hartford, CT) that participates in CT’s BRILLIANT municipal adoption subsidy plan. Out-of-state adoptions are just $5.

    I’m a show breeder, and as part of being a good breeder I’m as involved in rescue as my family life and pocketbook can handle. Because I have the facilities (ability to separate dogs, fenced yard), the experience, the grooming tools, and a heck of a lot of chicken backs in the freezer, I can pull at-risk dogs and rehab them, then screen adopters and place them with my own contract and support.

    Because Hartford is so inexpensive, I can run down there and grab dogs before they’re euthanized–I’ve done three this year and will certainly do more. If the fee was in the hundreds of dollars I’d be watching those dogs go to the needle.

    The ACO in Hartford maintains a 90% adoption rate out of a out-of-the-way (and, frankly, ugly) facility in the basement of a barn/boarding kennel. She does it because rates are cheap, CT residents get a free sterilization, and so many out-of-staters come down. Countless hundreds of dogs have those low adoption rates to thank for their lives.

  3. Joanna,

    That’s wonderful - an example of an ACO that goes beyond the default paradigm of killing. In my mind, rescuers wiling to pull dogs are actually contributing labor. It is ridiculous to say, essentially, “No, you can’t shelter dogs on a totally volunteer basis; we must kill them instead unless you cough up hundreds of dollars.”

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