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irishd83501 asked in PetsDogs · 1 decade ago

Why do the animal shelters charge so much to adopt a dog?

Here's my situation...Four years ago our German Shepherd died of old age (17 yrs. old). We finally decided, after alot of discussion, to go to one of the local shelters and try to find a young German Sheperd to raise. We were told that it would cost $95.00 to adopt a large breed dog (puppy or adult). I know the cost covers the shots and neuter/spay, but why so much? This local animal shelter has very little turn-over, and they are always asking for donations to feed all the dogs and cats they are housing. I asked them if it wouldn't be better to lower the adoption fee to be able to get them adopted out and they said that if a person can't afford the adoption fees then they can't afford a dog! I totally disagree with this. There are alot of good people out there that would love to own a dog but can't afford the huge adoption fees. It seems that if more of their pets were adopted, they wouldn't keep having to raise money to feed them. What do you think?


Additional - We are on a fixed income now since we retired. In the last 35 years, we have raised a pomerainian (died of old age at 16, a Siberian Husky (died of bone cancer at age 12), and our shepherd (mentioned above). It took 4 years to finally get the courage to get another companion pet. All of our dogs were indoor dogs and all of them were as sweet as rain.

All the answers so far great and I thank you all for your time and knowledge. It's going to be really hard to choose a best answer.

34 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Boy have you hit on one of my pet peeves, people want to own dogs but the shelters are way off the mark with fees. Most of the people working there are city employees or volunteers. They get tons of donations from various organization and still carp that they can't lower their fees. I got a cat and a dog at our shelter in the early 90s.. this year I checked their site and found them way over the top. Try talking to a rescue group in your area. I found two great ones in my area at I was able to adopt and cat and dog and you can negotiate the fees with them unlike the shelters.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    I think the cost that they charge for pet adoption is very understandable, your not only saving an animal but your covering cost the shelter needs. And the adopting a pet from a shelter isn't expensive at all your pet usually comes with a microchip, it is spay/neutered, has it's set of vaccinations and a big bag of dog food :) . I personally believe it's a wonderful thing my family and I adopted two beautiful and intelligent mixed dogs and I though it was a good deal as well. Also not all shelters get funded by the state so the pricing for adoption is there to help out other pets that do not get adopted right away.

  • 1 decade ago

    I'm going to second what everyone else has already said... $95 is not a significant amount of money for an adoption fee. The Humane Society I volunteer at charges $95-$100 for older mixbreed dogs, $125+ for mixbreed puppies, and $250+ for purebreds (adults or puppies).

    Take into consideration what you're getting as well. Neutering and Spaying, even at a low-cost clinic, is roughly $50. Then there are vaccinations...these are about $20. Then there is the rabies shot. $10. And license fee. $10. And then add into that the cost of boarding the dog (food eaten, the wages of the people who clean the kennels, ect.). $95 for a healthy, already neutered/vaccinated pet is nothing.

    I can understand that for people with limited income (such as myself) it seems like a LOT of money...but then compare it to what you'd spend if you got an animal for free and had to shell out the money to get all of the medical necessities out of the way? Or what if you acquired a dog from the newspaper? And then you have to buy food, toys, bedding/crate, and so on.

    From the shelters' perspective...if $95 is going to break the bank for your, how will you afford to buy the food, toys, and other necessities your dog will need? What if there's a medical emergency? If you can't afford $95 to even acquire the will you afford $200-$300 if the dog happens to get sick within a few days of you adopting it, or even if it gets sick later on down the road?

    Hard as it may seem, if you can't afford the mere $95 adoption fee, it's safe to say that you cannot afford the necessities the dog needs to survive, such as food, toys, shelter, ect. You may be able to offer all the love in the world, but love doesn't buy food.

    Source(s): HSPPR Volunteer Pet Care Specialist
  • 1 decade ago

    That adoption fee is reasonable and is similar to what many rescue groups around here charge. The thing to remember is that in most cases, you are getting a dog that is altered and up to date on shots. $95 is a price break compared to if you went to have all this done at your vets.

    Also remember that they are a non-profit organization and the fees are for more than just food, shots and altering. They are there to help keep the organization running properly, i.e. putting gas in the vehicles that go out on calls.

    They are right too when they say that if someone can't at least afford that, how can they properly afford to care for a dog. This is merely a one time fee to the shelter, but will be annual to the new dog owner in vet bills, heartguard and flea treatments thru the year. If a person can't afford to pay this adoption fee, it's fair to assume they won't have the money to properly care for the animal later down the line as well.

  • 1 decade ago

    95.00 dollars is not a lot of money for an adoption. The agency that you get the animal from has to pay rent, gas and electric, purchase food and pay salaries. In addition they have vet bills and transportation costs. They also have to pay for the disposable of the animals that are put to death. These are just a few of the basic things that an Animal Control department must deal with.

    If they lowered the cost how could they survive? There is no telling how long an animal stays in the Animal Control system. The longer it's there, the more money it cost. Where I live over 65% of the animals that go into the system are put down because no one adopts them. If you take all of the animals that got put down and added the cost for their upkeep to the days leading up to their death I'm sure the total would be sky high.

    Bottom line is that it costs the Animal Control department much more than 95.00 and you are getting a bargain even if it doesn't appear to be one.

    Since cost appears to be a concern why don't you look in the "free section" or the "dog section" of the classified adds in your local newspaper. Often times there are adds where people are trying to find a home for a animal because they have to move or they don't have the time to take care of it. This might be a real alternative for you.


  • 6 years ago

    I visited a dog at my local city animal care services center several time and because it was in the process of being spayed and then not quite awake later on, I had difficulty having her interact with my dog when I visited. They were going to charge me $25. When the dog (age 2) was awake I began communication via email (their chosen mode of communicating) with the center, but during the process learned the dog got picked up by a shelter. The owner of the shelter told me she would give me the dog for $125. I've seen where shelters will say the cost is for shots, spaying, microchip, etc. This is not always true, as in the case of my dog. They literally had the dog overnight and I paid the $125 for her. They did nothing but pick her up and hold her for the night. I still have not received her tags or medical records from the shelter, which would have come with her from the city' animal care center if I had been able to pick her up there. I think some shelters are simply a way for people to have a business and earn money.

  • 1 decade ago

    Shelters here in NY charge a lot more especially North Shore Animal League. That covers the cost of spaying or neutering the dog, shots, care while it was at the facility. The shelter also has to pay overhead at the shelter electricity, water, gas, phone etc. $95 is not a lot for a dog.

  • 1 decade ago

    Fees can be based on several different things. At our shelter we base the fee on what it costs us to get the dog "adoptable" (vaccinated, spayed/neutered, wormed, heartworm tested, behavior assessed, etc.) The less we have to put into the dog, the less we charge... but sometimes we charge as much as $200 to $300 for dogs that come to us with special needs. Because we're a small nonprofit agency that gets no subsidy from the state or county, all of our expenses are "out of pocket" (we pay for everything ouselves), and we always appreciate donations.

    We are in agreement with the idea that "if you can't afford the fee, you can't afford the dog". Dogs are expensive to care for -- especially if they're young puppies or senior dogs that are turning the corner in their age. If you can't afford $95 up front to bring the dog into your home, you're not going to be able to pay the $100+ in vaccinations, licensing, vet bills, food and other costs the dog will need after you adopt it. Not having the $95 doesn't mean you're a "bad" person, it just means that a dog is an expense you need to really consider and seriously save up money for.

    We sometimes will reduce our fee for an adopter who is on a fixed income, if that adopter has a good support structure of friends and family willing to help out with costs and the care of the dog.

    We're not interested in just getting dogs adopted; we're interested in getting dogs adopted into permanent homes that can properly care for all of their needs throughout their lifeftime. And by carefully screening adopters, and even rejecting some of them, we have 98.5% success rate. That means that out of 100 dogs all but about 2 stay in their adoptive placements over the long haul. By being "picky" we can't find homes for EVERY abandoned dog, but when we DO find a home for a dog, we're sure it's the best one possible -- which is what the shelter dogs need and deserve.

  • 1 decade ago

    $95 is nothing! Here in Australia Rescue dogs range on cost of between $150 - $400.

    Rescue dogs come with all their vet work is very expensive, you are infact actually saving money!

    One thing you don't seem to understand is that Rescue shelters are no-for-profit....they don't get an income.....most of the time the person who runs the shelter pays for all the vet work and food from their own bank accounts.

    If you can't afford $95 you simply can not afford a dog.....what happens if your dog needs to go to the vet?

    Rescue shelters use adoption fees to keep afloat....if rescue shelters don't have that money coming in they can no longer run and that means more dogs being put to sleep.

    I suggest you volunteer your time at a rescue shelter and learn more!

  • 1 decade ago

    It costs a lot to maintain a keep it running and staffed, to upkeep the facility, etc. $95 is absolutely NOT an unreasonable amount to ask for adoption. It is well within bounds..I agree with the shelter on this..if a person quiviles over a $95 adotion fee then they may not be the best suited to own a dog especially a large breed. It costs money to own a dog..good food, vet care, obedience classes, toys, beds, etc...the adoption or purchase price is but a very small sum. Shelters do want to adopt pets out, but only to homes that can and will properly care for them and don't have an issue paying for their needs.

    $95 is far from being a "huge" adoption fee..

    Source(s): veterinary technician for 34 years, have been involved in rescue of dogs, cats, horses & ponies,
  • 1 decade ago

    Animal Shelters have to charge alot of money. This is because they charge you for spaying or neutering, feeding the animal, and all the vet bills. But if you are thinking about adopting an animal from a shelter your making a great desicion.

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