Best Friends Blog
 

High-volume adoption model controversy

Note from editor: High-volume adoption strategies should in no way change screening processes that help rescuers ensure that an animal is being adopted into a good home — not just any home.

One of the most effective strategies in moving a community to no-kill is high-volume adoption of shelter animals, either directly from the local animal control agency or through rescue groups and humane organizations that partner with the shelter.

The strategy is simple — move as many animals as possible into adoptive homes as quickly as possible — but the implications fly in the face of the habits and practices of many rescue groups.

Here’s why:

Maximizing adoptions for the primary shelter means better customer service, more and better shelter marketing and public relations activities, flexibility with shelter hours of operation to better match the public’s time availability, shelter staff commitment to adoptions, and pricing promotions that encourage increased shelter traffic.

See anything controversial here? I don’t, although a recent “9 Lives for $9” cat adoption promotion at Los Angeles–area shelters, including Best Friends Animal Society Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center, that was sponsored by Found Animal Foundation drew fire from some rescuers and armchair activists because they felt that the lifesaving benefit of getting cats out of the shelters where they die in disproportionate numbers is not worth the supposed risk of low-cost adoption fees.

Supposed risks include the notion that adopters love their new pets in direct proportion to how much they pay for them and that low prices will attract all manner of sickos intent on perpetrating cruelty on an animal. It’s better, the opposing logic goes, for a cat to die in the shelter rather than take a risk on what the character of a bargain-seeking adopter may be. I don’t know about you, but the adoption fee I pay for a pet has zero to do with my affection for that animal. In fact, a recent study found the same thing.

This particular thread of objection has been discredited over and again wherever low-cost adoptions have been tried. Two-for-one adoptions, $5 Felines, Seniors for Seniors, and other adoption promotions have helped drive adoptions across the country. No-kill communities, such as Reno and Charlottesville, as well as Best Friends – Utah, have featured this type of promotion for years with measureable, lifesaving success.

When you think about it, why would a thug who wants to train a dog to be aggressive by waving a cat in the dog’s face show his or her ID to a shelter or rescue group, endure a screening interview, and pay anything at all for an animal who will be microchipped and traceable to their possession when they can drive down any street in certain parts of town and grab an animal off the street? These are the types of creeps people who fear low-cost adoptions believe will turn out for these promotions. There is no evidence to support such paranoia.

A more common and more understandable reservation regarding high-volume adoptions on the part of rescues relates to the fact that this strategy necessitates prioritizing the most easily adopted shelter pets over expensive, long-term project animals who have been the specialty of many rescue groups. Not unreasonably, rescues take on shelter pets they believe stand little chance of survival in the shelter due to injury, illness, age or behavior and leave the more easily placed shelter pets for the shelter to place with the public. This logic holds in a community where the only animals being killed are pets with problems. Unfortunately, that is not the case in most municipal shelters that are still killing a significant percentage of the animals entering the system and where the majority of animals dying are, in fact, happy, healthy, highly adoptable pets.

Taking on the difficult of the difficult — and sparing nothing in terms of the investment of time and money that is required to rehabilitate and place that dog or cat — is the kind of heart-centered commitment that distinguishes many rescues. It doesn’t, however, drive a community’s push to achieve no-kill status. A drive to no-kill means making difficult choices like whether to invest $5,000 in veterinary care and boarding to save 10 dogs who are ready to be adopted, or invest that same $5,000 in one emotionally compelling animal who needs a lot of help and rehab time but is not likely to otherwise get it. So, do you leave the 10 behind knowing that on a percentage basis, 40 to 50 percent of them will die, or do you leave the sick one behind knowing that his or her chances are slim to none?

These are heart-wrenching choices.

To be sure, there is and always will be a need for specialty care and rehabilitation, such as the type that we provide here at the Sanctuary, but if rescues are to play a serious role in reducing the number of shelter animals being killed, then some have to make the decision to embrace high-volume adoption models, and if shelters are serious about getting to no-kill, they have to improve customer service, adjust their hours to match the public’s schedule, and energize their staff with a lifesaving mission. They need to embrace high-volume adoption strategies that make it easier to adopt a shelter pet, including catchy promotions and reduced adoption fees.

 

Julie Castle

 

  • karen ditomo

    I have to disagree with this article. I have been doing animal rescue for seven years with my main focus on adoption counseling. I have worked in shelters and currently for a rescue group. High volume adoptions in shelters leaves little time for follow-up. Low-costs adoptions can attract individuals that can not afford pet stores or professional breeders and that is indeed why they are at the shelter settling for a pet they may not really want. Low-cost also attracts those persons that may not have otherwise been thinking of a pet, probably because they can’t afford it.  Do I believe that someone who has ill intentions would show their license at a shelter..why not. How good is the screening , especially on same day adoptions. Rescuers have the right o be concerned as most do thorough screening and home visits. I devote almost full-time to adoption and education in order to promote pet ownership but I must say that there are worse things than euthanasia and that is a life giving unconditional love to someone who won’t give it back.

  • Anonymous

    Adopting an animal out, no matter how much you screen the potential adopter is always a leap of faith like anything else.  The best you can do is screen as well as possible and hope for the best.  There is no guarantee that the person who paid more will always be the better pet owner.  Life happens and things change for people. The hope is that if that adopter can’t keep that pet anymore they will not dump the animal at a kill shelter but will try to find a good home for their pet. All you can do is screen adopters and based on your experience adopt the animal out to whom you think is best but people are individuals, like animals. So, sometimes the person who pays a higher adoption fee will be a great pet owner but then in other instances the person who pays a lower fee will be the perfect pet owner.  It’s life.  It’s all a leap of faith.  Something that would help is if the kill and no-kill shelters had enough money to hire a vet and spay and neuter any animal before it leaves the kill or no-kill shelter for adoption and removing any chance that any potential adopter will not follow up on spaying or neutering their pet.  I know that costs money but it would be another great way in reducing the number of unwanted animals and their suffering due to not enough good homes.  

    • Lmercora

      This is the best point I’ve read on the page!!!  Spay & Neuter everything before it goes out the door of the shelter. 

      • Anonymous

        To Lmercora.  Thank you.  

  • Laurie Iget2

    Just adopted a 4yr cat from our animal control. It was $10, but $135 for shots,worms,&deep ear infection. Think screening of adopters is a must or these lives just end of in the system again. Why do indoor cats need so many rabies shots? If vets took those funds and did free spay&neuters on cats that need them, maybe we’d get somewhere.I stand a better chance of getting rabies then my indoor cats. Think outside the box!

  • Cat Lady

    Last winter my local shelter was adopting out adult cats for free.  I chose a 13-year-old because I could apply the adoption fee savings to her future vet care.  In May my local shelter had a $50 off special.  I chose a 7-year-old purebred German Shepherd who no one wanted because of her age.  Once again, the money I saved on the adoption fee was applied to vet care.  To me, the reduced adoption fees are an incentive, not a disincentive, to adopt an older or special needs pet.

  • Vbotte

    Another thing shelters might consider is disclosure.  If an animal is turned in by owners, find out everything possible about that animals, shots, behavior, reason for relinquishment, animals habits.  This can be so valuable to adoptive parents instead of being told by one it was a stray and another a relinquishment.  We go into the shelters wanting to adopt, any history help would be a bonus.  We want to do the very best for adopted furkids and there is no knowledge on so many of them, but when there is – share it!

  • Cindi

    All I have to say is that we need to be creative and diligent when promoting the adoptions. I think low cost offers people an opportunity to adopt. I agree with the fact that the money spent up front doesn’t really have any bearing on what will be spent on the animal in the future. Animals enrich the lives of their owners and we should do all we can to match people & rescues. I also have an issue with the fence rule. I live on 38 acres and while my property is fenced for horses it is not deemed the correct type of fencing to qualify for an adoption. Doesn’t seem to bother my 4 rescues who know their boundries and stay at home.

  • http://blogs.bestfriends.org/ Pet

    Wow. 

  • Kats5dogs

    I’ve done rescue for 25 years and i learned the hard way that people lookikng for a “bargain” are the same people who will not put money into that animal when that animal gets sick.  Yes, you will always find some people who will love an animal no matter how little or how much they paid for it but these mass adoption events that so many humane societies are doing is wrong.  there are a lot of worse things than dead. I saw and heard of many situations through the years of people and their free or almost free animals that they felt no gumption to put anything into, and through the years people would give me an animal they no longer wanted because they couldn’t or wouldn’t pay for medical care or even general care any longer and after talking to them numerous times while trying to find their animal a home, getting to know them, there were a large percentage of owners who never put a dime into their animal including an adoption fee.

    • karen ditomo

      I am in full agreement with you.  I have a post on the top. I would like to add that the rationale that you can now put the money that you saved on the adoption fee toward vet care is not realistic. I don’t know any pets that only require $150 dollars of vet care throughout their whole lives or even$350.

  • robertab777

    I often worry about that too. Also about proper screening of adopters….. I guess I have seen too many M. Vick like stories and I really worry about the animals!! But, we really DO need to find as many great homes as possible! HOPE FOR THE BEST!!

  • Linda

    I fully understand the cost of rescuing and training and caring for a pet.  Most adoption fees in the range of $35-$300 should be considered reasonable given that those fees cover the shots, medical exams, neutering and whatever additional care the rescued/sheltered animal needs.  I adopted two 4 month old chi/rat terrier croses from a women (the puppies were free) who couldn’t understand why she had so many puppies all the time. But moving on, I paid for spaying, I paid for both sets of puppy shots, rabies shots,microchipping, vet exam, and went to a good local trainer for help in training both puppies.  Even with low cost spaying from the local humane society, shots at the local pet store shot clinic (where a vet examines the dog and gives the shots!), each puppy cost approximately $175 within 3 months of ownership.  So, no the fees are not too expensive if all is included.  Bigger fees usually reflect that a large breed dog cost more to neuter.  However, all that said, I think adoption programs, specials, etc. are a wonderful way to find homes for a greater number of pets.  These “specials” also  help older animals or animals with a medical problem or handicap. 

  • SueDbar

    I would be curious to know about the follow up on these low cost adoptions. Are all of the adopters contacted in 6 months, or a year, or… How do you know they are successful and the animal wasn’t dumped back in to the shelter when the people founf out how much it costs to have a pet??

  • Susanne

    Nice job Julie.  I am amazed we are still talking about this issue, but it always comes up.  I recently worked our Adoption Floor with a Waived Fee Adoption Special and met so many awesome families adopting animals, especially adult dogs and cats.    I actually helped them find their new animals, and was very excited when the animal in the cage went into his/her new home.  This has been studied — so here is just a reminder to others —
    In 2006, ASPCA Senior Director of Shelter Research and Development, Emily Weiss, Ph.D., CAAB, and Shannon Gramann, ASPCA Manager of Shelter Research and Development, intrigued by the success of a free cats program in effect since 1998 at the Wisconsin Humane Society, conducted a study comparing “the attachment levels of adopters of cats — fee based adoptions vs. free adoptions.”The resulting data, due to be published in Vol. 4 2009 of the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, indicates that:Attachment to cats adopted from the study facility was not decreased when adoption fees were eliminated,
    Eliminating adoption fees does not devalue the animals in the eyes of the adopters, and that
    Free adult cat programs could “dramatically impact the lives of thousands of shelter cats who would otherwise reside in a shelter for months or be euthanized.”People can order the full study if they would like more information.  Now let’s all work together to get some animals adopted.  

  • gdlemaire

    This is a very interesting discussion I admit.  We have a little rescue / adoptive dog who come to us from our local Humane Society.  When we adopted her, we also left a cage open / free to rescue another pet.  Our fee for adoption was around $150+/- and it included a Vet Check and Spay / Neuter.  We also selected our Vet from that portion of the included services for her adoption fee, a wonderful Vet we still go to 11 years later.  I think $150+/- is a very good and fair cost; but I have to wonder at some of the pets I see for adoption with $350 fees, that is a great deal of money to spend on a pet, whether mixed breed or pedigreed.  We have a fenced in yard, but is that really the most important requirement for an adoptive pet?  Our pet goes on leash, off leash and she ran away a dozen times at first, she had been a stray running the streets;  we schlepped all over the neighborhood and found her time and time again and brought her back home… 11 years later, she knows just where she lives, she’s had quality Vet Care all her life, quality Pet Food, our living room looks like we have a 3 year old instead of a little dog, and she’s got a bed in every room…but most important she is the Princess of our hearts.  I think it must be very hard to judge what is in people’s hearts and whether or not they will be good ‘pet parents’ but you have to make it affordable for people to initially go for the adoption.  We have just got to adopt more and more pets vs. putting them down.  They all deserve a chance at a happy life – maybe they won’t eat Premium food, they’ll do just fine on the store brands…  and just as important, a pet helps to make people happier, healthier and just better off.  Please don’t look down your nose at a potential adopter and don’t price it out of reach either.  

    Signed, a loving dog Mom and Dad.  

  • Robin

    I agree that shelters need to have better hours, and better customer service to promote adoptions. The problem I have is that most shelters do not have a screening process at all and if you walk in the door you can have an animal. When you lower adoption fees yes this opens up to people who may not be able to afford the adoption fee and will adopt saving an animal from euthanasia which is the reality of most animals in a shelter but the problem I have is that vet care is expensive and at least here in Ontario, Canada it is about $100 to walk in the door of a vet clinic. In the big picture some of these animals that are adopted with no fee or little fee because people cannot afford an adoption fee will never see a veterinarian and if they are ill they will be left to suffer because people cannot afford to go to the vet or pay for euthanasia. I am not saying everyone who adopts at a lower rate is not going to take the animal to the vet but I am just saying there would be an increased problem with this. Also humane societies dont always educate people about the costs of supplies, good nutrition, the lifetime of a cat or dog etc. I run a not for profit rescue group in Ontario and we get calls all the time of people who adopted animals from shelters but want us to take the animal in because they can no longer commit, chose the wrong breed, cannot afford a trainer for bad behaviour, cannot afford vet care. Many people have called me hoping we would vet their animal because he is suffering.
    I understand the need for shelters to increase adoptions and am not against it, and not even against reduced adoption fees if education and screening are in place. Rescue groups do not usually have the luxary of reducing adoption fees because they do not get the amount of donations that a humane society would and I know with our rescue we set the adoption fee at the cost it costs us to vet the basics of vaccines, spay and neuter, deworm, deflea, microchip, heartworm test the animal. Most of our animals cost more than the adoption fee and we take a loss on many animals and this is with the generous discount we get from our vet. We rely on getting back the adoption fees so that we can continue to help more animals.
    For the animal population to ever get under control, education is needed to get the public to adopt not shop or support backyard breeders, to research pets before they take on the responsibility and commit to them for life and to be able to afford vet care and professional help if needed. I would love to see the cost of vet care come down in general because even as a professional I find the costs of vet care for my own animals to be very high and understand when people making minimum wage cannot afford to treat their ill animal. Owning an animal and being able to care for it properly should not mean you have to be a professional or make 6 figures. In these economic times people are struggling and the animals are also suffering.
    The problem of overpopulation has many facets and just reducing adoption fees does not solve the problem of the bigger picture, it can sometimes contribute to the problem of animals being once again abandoned.

  • Let’s be reasonable

    My biggest problem with the heavy screening/high adoption fees is that I have personally seen potential adopters go to breeders because they were turned down by shelters because of one “wrong” answer or because they thought that for a comparable price tag, they could get a “better” dog from a breeder. Everytime that happens, another shelter animal is left behind and a breeder is encouraged to continue their business….both heartbreaking issues for me.

    When volunteering at a nearby cat shelter, I felt that many of the staff were just plain arrogant about their attitude toward adopters who didn’t have as much money as they preferred….Why would anyone choose to keep the cats at the shelter when there was a chance for a happy, loving home?

    By the way, two of my dogs in the past 20 years were shelter dogs with problems–one born with hip dysplasia and one born deaf.  I don’t regret a penny of what they have cost me.  The first was an amazing survivor–giving me over 11 years of her stellar companionship and the second is only 2 1/2 and has already learned over a dozen sign language commands.  And I know they probably would have been “put down”, had I not taken them.

  • PB in NC

    Recently a wonderful county shelter in Greensboro, NC, run by a nonprofit, held a weekend of adoptions of cats and dogs for an adoption fee of $20.  They successfully placed 180 animals. All perspective adopters fill out a very full adoption form and if the staff has any questions, must have a home evaluation. All animals are spayed/neutered/microchipped before going to a home. So I think the special adoptions are great as long as the shelter doing them continues to abide by its requirements for pet owners.

  • Andreamauer

    Without giving lots of  information about my ownership history, just know that I have an exemplary record as a pet owner and I am a Behavior Analyst well versed in training using all positive procedures. I lost my small Boxer last fall to a severe heart murmur and knew I would adopt another dog even though my heart was broken. I have a good job, but being single, times are tight and I couldn’t afford the prices of many rescues. $350 and up was seemingly the going rate. Also, you cannot adopt unless you live very close by. I understand the rationale, but even to adopt my first Boxer I had to basically sign away my first born son. I had a Boxer lined up for adoption and everything was going well. Then at the last minute they informed me I couldn’t have the dog because I didn’t have a fenced in yard. This was clearly stated in my emails and application, but they didn’t “see it”.  My nine acres was not good enough. I always supervise my dogs and really do not think because someone has a fenced in yard would qualify them to be a better parent than me. Here again, you live in the country, you generally do not fence in your yard, and even if I wanted to, I couldn’t afford it. Then again at the last minute, the foster told me I could have her if “I promosed nothing would happen.” Naturally, I couldn’t take her with that hanging over me. So now when I walk with my old Pit Bull and new hilarious Carolina Dog mix and they chase up a random pheasant and romp in the grasses, I know I got the right dog. A local Humane Society pick at $150.00 that included shots, spaying, and countless hours of excellent care from the people who worked with her and socialized her before I got her home.

    • Rvdog01

       Not so much a reply as an agreement. 2 years ago I lost my 11 year old Great Dane. I do travel in a 34 foot motor home and I have 3 small rescues I did not plan on but in each case they were dumped on the street in areas with “kill” shelters and I took them in. I travel the country and serve as a volunteer host in rv parks. To the point, I wanted to adopt another Great Dane rather than a puppy from a breeder for various reasons. I can not adopt because I do not have a fenced yard and will not live in the area of the rescue group. My companions get to walk and play together where ever we go and get the best medical care I can provide. Maybe not a perfect world but when I follow a gentle giant in rescue for over a year without a permanent loving home, I have serious doubts about the goal of the “perfect” home rather than a loving and caring home. oh yes, the Great Dane before Hermes, Eros, spent 8 years cruising with me on my boat and he had friends, both 2 and 4 legged from the Bahamas to Cape Cod. Again, not a perfect life but he was healthy and I think seemed to enjoy the variety of people he met and the places we went together…Do I need another dog? no, but I love Great Danes and I would have loved to share my space with one more Gentle Giant.

  • Janet

    I benefited from a local shelter waiving the adoption fee for cats over one year old. My husband makes very good money, but after having to euthanize an almost 22 year old cat for cancer, I know that I wouldn’t have adopted a high adoption fee cat. I was looking for a black one knowing that they have a hard time finding homes, but was looking for an older one too. He’s 2 LOL! He’s been one of the best additions I’ve made to my household, has no issues with my dogs or other cat and has just been perfect (other than some biting issues that we have since worked through). Hopefully, he’ll be with me as long as my 22 year old was! Money doesn’t insure a good adopter. I’ve fostered and found homes for over 200 dogs, so I understand some of the comments from people that do that too, but some of the wealthiest people have been the ones that returned their dog. Some of the lower income people have made the best adopters because they don’t have the money to go out, so their dog is the most important thing in their life.

  • Janet

    I benefited from a local shelter waiving the adoption fee for cats over one year old. My husband makes very good money, but after having to euthanize an almost 22 year old cat for cancer, I know that I wouldn’t have adopted a high adoption fee cat. I was looking for a black one knowing that they have a hard time finding homes, but was looking for an older one too. He’s 2 LOL! He’s been one of the best additions I’ve made to my household, has no issues with my dogs or other cat and has just been perfect (other than some biting issues that we have since worked through). Hopefully, he’ll be with me as long as my 22 year old was! Money doesn’t insure a good adopter. I’ve fostered and found homes for over 200 dogs, so I understand some of the comments from people that do that too, but some of the wealthiest people have been the ones that returned their dog. Some of the lower income people have made the best adopters because they don’t have the money to go out, so their dog is the most important thing in their life.

  • RNRGRL

    I foster dogs and we have our own 2 family dogs, both rescued, one from our vet (at no cost) and one who showed up in not-so-good condition on a horse farm where my daughter works. Of course, she brought him home.  We spend what I consider to be a tremendous amount of money on quality food, toys, pet-sitters and vet care. I think that is far more important than an adoption fee. For many of us, we can manage to foster and provide a healthy, active, loving home for multiple animals but a $300-$400 adoption fee is out of reach when that $ could be better spent directly on the ongoing health/care/feeding of the dog. 

  • katboxjanitor

    The key during this kind of ‘promotion’ is to continue following the quality screening processes that should be in place no matter what dollar amount the fee may be.

  • Lisa Folino

    I got my Pax free – no money, $0 – through Best Friends’ Back in Black promotion in May.  I value him tremendously; to me he is priceless. True, I don’t have much money, but I sure have more to spend on his care now than if I’d had to pay $150+ for his adoption. I think that careful screening of potential homes is the key. Good article.

    • Kats5dogs

      I’ve never seen the careful screening in mass adoption events like there is in a regular adoption situation because time is of the essence and the pressure is on to push them out. and pat yourselves on the back when its over saying look how many homes we found. 

      • Cats-R-Cute

        I totally agree! Glad you notice that!

        Quility NOT Quintity!

        A lot of times they take short cuts at the cost of the animals life!
        Not always but it does increase it when it becomes all about the numbers.

        And just because a person like you truly cares you should never be put down

        Thank you for caring!

  • Celestine

    I think tempers are flying high right now since it’s summer and the shelters are full to the brim here in LA. However, with so many rescue groups and individual rescuers in this city, why do we have to make a choice at all? I believe we have to do the best we can until there’s a time when we don’t have to make the awful choice of picking the withdrawn senior kitty or dog or the younger ones.
    Also I’d like to give a perspective towards numbers: in 2009, there were 41,000 cats and 20,500 dogs in the 514 municipal shelters of Germany (my mom sent me a local newspaper article about TNR there). Of 132,000 cats relinquished to shelters, 73% were adopted. I believe that’s about the number of shelter pets we have to deal with here in LA alone? That’s really daunting, and it seems a long way to go. But I know NKLA is a way to change things because nothing else has worked so far.

  • Collar Of Hope

    My problem is quality of adopters.  We get most of our dogs out of shelters and the condition that so many come to us in proves that some people just should NOT own pets period! 
    It does cost money to own and animal.  If someone scoffs at an adoption fee for a fully vetted, healthy dog, they probably can’t afford to take care of it anyway.
    We have never pulled a “hair” dog yet that wasn’t a matted mess that had to be shaved completely down.
    The small breeds over 4 are in serious need of dentals already.
    The breeds allergic to horrid wheat/corn based dog foods come in miserable and half bald.
    Maybe it does save some lives to shove them out the door on the cheap but quality of life is pretty darn important if you ask me!

    • No name please

      I live next door to some low-cost adopters.  They didn’t bother to follow up on the spay and neuter agreements.  They were furious when I would not give them one of my rescue kittens when they already had two, and this spring they dumped them out of their house and I have been feeding and sheltering them outdoors ever since.  I don’t want to see any animals killed in shelters, but i have to wonder if their 4 dogs living in a 4 x 8 shed attached to a house who haven’t seen the light of day in over a year wouldn’t have been better off if they had been euthenized at the shelter.  There is no kindness to the way they are now living, and I am powerless to help them because of our state laws.

    • Anonymous

      The same question can be asked in both directions, though. How does the ability to spend $150 guarantee that the person is not a sicko?

      • Kats5dogs

        it doesn’t guarantee it and I have met people who felt that the adoption fee they paid for a purebreed or a full price adoption fee was “enough” but I’ve met a lot more people in my 25 years of rescue that got free or ‘bargain” animals that never intended on putting a dime into them and often times couldn’t afford it if they wanted to.  at least with people willing to pay a higher price have a higher chance of doing it and that comes from my experience, not conjecture.

    • A loving dog owner

      I am a certified veterinary technician. I adopted both of my beautiful mini dachshunds at different animal shelters. My most recent addition to the family was a six months old and extremely sick. He has the worst overbite my veterinarian and I have ever seen. His previous owners didn’t take care of him at all. They fed him people food which for a young developing puppy is horrible. To make matters worse he also showed many signs to support that they had beat him when he did something wrong.They also never took him to the vet for shots or treatment of any kind. When he arrived at the shelter he was already emaciated and had severe ear infections. At the shelter unfortunately he was still fed what was left over from the staffs lunches and continued to loose weight. Because of his poor diet his immune system was weak and he contracted kennel cough which only amounted to his many problems. His overbite was so bad that when he tried to pick up the dog food kibbles it would fall right out of his mouth. When I saw him for the first time my heart dropped. This poor creature was not going to make it much longer. I decided to adopt him and when I got home I fed him the first nutritious good meal he had probably ever had. He eats dog food now with ease. All it took was a little innovation. He eats hard food on a plate and has learned to pick it up with his tongue rather than his teeth. He is in perfect health now and is everything a dog should be. His adoption fee was $100. That is a lot of money for a sick animal that may not even survive.

    • Cats-R-Cute

      I agree! I think your nice for caring!
      Quility is most important!

  • Dr.Cartel

    Dear Mrs. Castle,
    Agreed. We must not forget to include the fact that adoption also Saves Lives. Most people know this, but it conveys so many messages on many different levels in a marketing strategy. Customer: “Low cost and saves a life? Sold”
    Keep up the good work.
    Best Wishes, Dr. Cartel

    • SueDbar

      So if an adopter cannot afford an already reasonable adoption fee of say $65.00, how are they going to afford food, shelter, flea medicine, boarding if necessary, vet appointments, etc?  Where do 99% of the animals in a shelter come from? People who don’t want or can’t afford them anymore.

      • Anonymous

        I think this line of thinking ignores the logic of marketing and human psychology. The same person who sees a barrier in a three-figure price may, in fact, be the same person who would go into four-figure debt at the vet’s office for a beloved family member. I think you overestimate the value of the fee as a screening tool and underestimate its negative potential as a psychological barrier. I say this as a person who overdrew my checking account to get a cat I fell in love with. I had him for 14 years. Fact was, I could NOT afford vet care, etc. I got it for him anyway, by hook and by crook. However, had the adoption fee that day been $50, it would have been a deal breaker.