Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Red Flags when Adopting Out

So, I've mentioned that I've revised my application to deter irresponsible people from adopting, but how do you determine how to "weed out" those people?
1. Have an adoption application that asks specific questions. If people ask about adopting, offer to send them the application via email or snail mail. If you don't hear back, chances are that person is not ready to adopt.
2. Won't offer references. Forget it. References are a MUST.
3. The adopter immediately wants to know if the animal can be returned. Of course, as a rescue, you should allow animals to be returned, but if someone asks right off the bat, be suspicious.
4. The person has never owned this type of animal before, or has not done ANY research.
5. I really, really hate to say this, but if the person is disabled/unemployed, be hesitant. I have had several people in this category apply for guinea pigs, only to have them returned to me in horrible condition. I am NOT trying to be "discriminatory." It's just that if the person does not have a job, and/or is disabled, chances are the outcome will not be good for the animal.
6. The person pressures you to adopt right away, for less than the adoption fee. If they demand your pet for a "discount," again, forget it. They want to use the animal for something else. Adoption fees are in place for a reason--to ensure that the pet goes to a good home. If someone is pressuring you to reduce it, or to have you give the pet up for free...no way. Find someone else.
Above all, do not be afraid to ask a LOT of questions from someone who wants to adopt, whether it be in your application, on the phone or in person. Whenever possible, meet face to face. If something doesn't seem right, walk away. It's better to err on the side of caution than have your pet end up somewhere you might not want it to be.

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