01 Dec 2020

How Fee-Waived Adoptions Save Lives

Research Shows: Fee-Waived Adoptions Save Lives

Reducing or waving adoption fees is considered a life-saving strategy and this is why:

There is a growing body of research, based in science, that shows fee-waived adoptions are an effective way of saving lives. Leading organizations, including the ASPCA, Maddie’s Fund  and Best Friends have all researched the topic and support the adoption strategy.

  • Maddie’s Fund did a post-adoption survey of its sponsored adoption event in San Francisco in 2011, which offered free adoption fees. The upshot? 6 to 12 months after the event, 95 percent of dogs and 93 percent of cats were still in their original forever homes. That means the return rate was actually less than average for most shelters and rescue groups. To see other results from the study, please see the summary of the Maddie’s Fund study here.
  • With a good, conversation-based adoption process in place, along with a short application, people who want animals for less-than-honorable purposes are not likely to try and adopt because they don’t want their actions to be documented by virtual or paper trails. That means, no matter what the adoption fee, as long as you have an effective adoption process, you can attract quality adopters.
  • The ability of adopters to pay high adoption fees does not guarantee the quality of their homes or their future ability to support adopted pets. It also doesn’t ensure that pets will not be returned or given to another person. Everyone loves a deal, regardless of income.
  • According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, people who adopted cats with waived fees had the same degree of attachment as those who paid fees. Additionally, the study found that eliminating fees did not devalue the cats in the eyes of the adopters.
  • The longer animals stay in a shelter, the more likely it is that they may develop health and behavioral problems, which costs money to treat. That means reduced and no-fee adoptions may save your organization money because, the faster you find pets homes, the less you will spend on their care. Plus, the faster you help animals find homes, the happier and healthier they’ll be and the more lives you’ll be able to save.
  • See the ASPCA’s research on fee-waived cats here.
  • See Best Friends’s position on fee-waived adoptions here.