HSWC Logo

Humane Society of
Wayne County, New York

1475 County House Road, Lyons, NY 14489

315.946.3389

Adopt a Friend - for Life!

Donate Online

More than 25 years of shelter operations

This page was last modified on Sunday November 18, 2012

The Humane Society and Adoption Fees

As a board member of the Humane Society of Wayne County I am frequently asked why, if the Humane Society is committed to finding homes for unwanted animals, does the shelter charge a fee to adopt a pet? I am sure you are familiar with the expression, "Easy come, easy go." And your grandparents, parents, and perhaps in raising your own children have taught the lesson of appreciation and value through working and investing yourself in something you truly want. The point of the lesson is that if everything you want is handed to you, you will not know how to appreciate and value things appropriately. Appreciation and value come through earning something through a personal investment of hard work, time, and/or money.

This is the exact same premise when it comes to "free pets." People that advertise a pet as "free to a good home" are well intentioned and really want to place the pet in a loving responsible home. However, the problem generally lies with the person responding to the free pet advertisement. For some people a free pet means a disposable pet! Free pets are more likely to be adopted by a casual pet owner, some one not willing to spend time and money on the pet. A casual pet owner is one that lets the pet run lose unsupervised, abandons the pet, does not provide proper veterinary care, and misses out on the full benefits of pet ownership by not spending time with the pet. A casual pet owner does not bother to look for a lost pet. When the pet disappears or dies tragically the casual owner goes out and gets another free pet. The fact is that free pets are not as appreciated and valued as the pets where there an adoption fee is charged.

Moreover, advertising a free pet is risky business too. If you are advertising a pet free to a good home the people that respond to your ad may not be what they seem to be on the surface. The pet you give away for free may be used as bait to train a fighting dog and literally be torn apart. Unfortunately, these unscrupulous people l do not show up at your door looking like criminals. They are smart and will answer all your questions correctly, and they may even bring along a couple of children giving you the impression of a family that will provide a loving responsible home for the free pet. The free pet you advertise may end up being sold at a flea market, or to a research laboratory. Free pet advertisements draw owners of exotic pets (i.e., snakes, alligators) that use the free pet as food or bait. Worse yet, every once in a while read the newspaper or hear on the television news a story of a cult ritual where a live animal is abused and sacrificed. More than likely the sacrifice was advertised as "Free to good home."

It all comes down to, if a person cannot afford a nominal adoption fee, how can a person afford to own a pet? Free pets are no bargain for mankind.