When free animal adoption events are held, inevitably, some animal lovers have concerns.
If people can’t afford the adoption fee, how will they be able to afford proper care and feeding of a pet? Will they value something they didn’t have to pay for?
When the Sacramento SPCA posted a notice on Facebook of its free adoption event on Saturday, Sharon Pearlstein of Sacramento commented she hoped people understood “the long term commitment and not adopt strictly because it’s free.”
“Dogs and cats don’t need to be returned to the shelter or sent to yet another home and the trauma of already being dumped how many times before,” she wrote in her post.
The SPCA responded with information about the preadoption screening and counseling process it uses as well as a link to an American SPCA study about whether giving cats away for free devalues them in the eyes of the adopter.
“But research and experiences of individual shelters have proven that this just isn’t the case,” according to the ASPCA study. Rather, waiving adoption fees encourages adoptions that save thousands of shelter cats that might otherwise be euthanized or languish in a shelter.
While it’s true that financial inability to care for a pet is one of the top reasons people surrender their pets to shelters, it happens more often in the case of those who pay the regular adoption fees more often than from free adoptions, said Dawn Foster, Sacramento SPCA marketing director.
Free adoptions often nudge people who have been thinking about adopting a pet to act on their inclination. But while the fees are waived, the normal screening and counseling process remains the same, Foster said.
Saturday’s event focuses on older dogs and adult cats, who have a harder time finding homes than puppies and kittens.
Countless Sacramento area residents have found their furry best friends in area shelters.
Last year, the Parsley family adopted Violet, an older Labrador who only lived a few more months after they brought her home, Foster said. But that didn’t dissuade them.
This March, during a free adoption event sponsored by Bissell, they took home another senior Labrador, Kylie.
The shelter has made senior pet adoption a priority.
“These guys get overlooked all the time,” said Foster.