Is the Pet Adoption Process Becoming Too Much?
Even before the pandemic, complaints from potential adopters about overly stringent, intrusive, and seemingly arbitrary – even nonsensical – adoption requirements from rescues and shelters weren’t uncommon. Now, screening in and of itself is an important tool when applied sensibly. It helps protect animals, adopters, shelters, and the public. But putting up unnecessary barriers between pets and permanent, loving homes runs counter to the spirit of rescue.
And since the pandemic, for a multitude of reasons, these barriers have become all but impenetrable in some shelters. Today, we are seeing a growing number of accusations that shelters are “warehousing” adoptable pets for months, or even years on end, as well as stonewalling potential adopters and eager volunteers.
For the Humane Society of New York, a no-kill shelter, an animal rights activist raised charges of warehousing, which led to interviews and a news investigation that showed the humane society is only adopting out about one animal per week in 2023. The organization placed much of the issue on renovating their facility, but they also brought up the need for adopters presenting a “good application,” reviewing adopters before they can even meet the animals, and the importance of a “exactly the right forever home.” As a city council member pointed out with apparent frustration, the renovations are taking an unusually long time, and this is a slow pace for such a well-funded organization. Again, screening and standards are invaluable, but if we only allow “exactly the right” pet owners to have – or even come near! – adoptable animals, all that means is fewer pets in homes. If you are housing 30 dogs and cats, and 75 people have applied to adopt them, maybe that’s a good thing! And assuming these applications are generally acceptable and you are still only willing to adopt out a trickle of these animals, it certainly raises a lot of questions about the organization.
Animal rights activist raises concerns about Humane Society of New York’s pet adoption process
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