Free Adoptions

by Diane Blankenburg 

The word “free” conjures up a lot of different emotions—from super excitement to cautious skepticism. In the animal welfare world, it stirs up controversy when it comes to pet adoptions. Some people worry that free pet adoptions may devalue the animal from the adopter’s point of view and that it may attract adopters who are not able to afford the ongoing care of pets. On the other side are advocates that believe free adoptions will increase adoption rates and provide opportunities to entice and educate people who might otherwise obtain a pet from other sources. Ultimately, lives can be at stake, so this debate can be quite emotional.

Fortunately, there have been a several recent studies that provide hard data to help form opinions. A study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science (October 2009) examined the attachment of adopters to their cats in relation to adoption payment or fee waived. Statistical analysis of the results showed no significant difference in the two groups’ attachment to their cats.

Taking it a step further, the University of Florida in Gainesville conducted research in 2011 through their Maddie’s Shelter Medicine program on the relationship between pet retention and adoption fees. The results showed that pets adopted both with or without fees have similar rates of retention in the home, similar lifestyles, and similar owner attachment. Shelters that waive fees to increase adoptions are unlikely to see any reduction in the quality of adoptive homes.

Maddie’s Fund, a family foundation dedicated to creating a nation where all healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats are guaranteed a loving home, actively supports these conclusions and is funding massive fee-waived adoption events on June 1 and 2 in selected communities throughout the country. Our community was very fortunate to have been chosen (one of eight) as the location for one of these events—Nevada Humane Society, SPCA of Northern Nevada, and Pet Network Humane Society are three of 200 groups participating nationwide this year.

On June 1 and 2, Maddie’s Fund is sponsoring Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days in Washoe County. Free adoptions of dogs and cats will be offered to qualified adopters at participating locations (see for list of locations). Maddie’s Fund is also offering each participating group a stipend ranging from $500 to $2,000 per adoption—part of $4 million set aside for this year’s events.

The ultimate goal is to adopt animals into homes where they will receive love and care for the rest of their lives. By adopting a pet at one of the Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days locations, you will also be raising money for local animal shelters to save even more pets! Please help spread the word that shelter animals make great companion pets and how many are still looking for loving homes to call their own.

Upcoming Events that Help Animals

Maddie’s Adoption Days, June 1 – 2. Adopt wonderful dogs and cats for free at various locations throughout the weekend. Visit for more information.

Time 2 Shine Adoption Promotion at Nevada Humane Society. Adopt a Shining Star Pet with fees waived through May 31. Other adult dogs are $50, adult cats are $25, and kittens are $60. Open for adoptions seven days a week from 11:00 am to 6:30 pm and an hour earlier at 10:00 am on Saturdays. Shelter located at 2825 Longley Lane, Reno.




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