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Adopting a pet is a big responsibility. Different organizations have their own criteria for new pet owners, but people often have questions about how the process works. People also wonder if you have to undergo a background check to adopt a pet.
We’ll answer that question first, and then tell more about what you should know about the rest of the process.
Again, this is a general overview and the processes may differ depending on where you’re looking to adopt a pet from, so keep that in mind.
Background checks to adopt a dog
One of the biggest questions people have when adopting a pet is whether they need to undergo a background check.
Many organizations require potential new pet parents to go through an application process, which may include a background check.
The process of adopting a pet has changed a lot over the last few years. In the past, you could essentially just go to a rescue organization or contact them and let them know you wanted a pet, and that was it. You might have had to submit a reference or two, but that was probably the most you had to do.
Now you may have to fill out a much longer application, submit multiple references (sometimes up to five), and provide a detailed record of every pet you’ve owned in your life.
You may need to turn in your driver’s license, arrange a home visit, and some rescue organizations may require you to provide a fecal sample from the pets you already have in your home.
You may be asked questions that you ultimately find invasive, and even after completing a painstaking process, you may not hear them Pets you wanted to adopt.
Some places have enacted laws requiring anyone wishing to adopt a pet to undergo a background check, often as part of anti-animal abuse legislation.
In some locations, background checks may not be a required part of protocol, but shelters and rescue groups may choose to conduct them if they have concerns about a person wanting to adopt or if they feel they want to see more evidence.
For nonprofits, background checks can be expensive, so they may not be that keen on it unless the situation really calls for it.
There are reportedly situations where people felt that the organizations go through the process of vetting new owners start encroaching on their privacybut many proponents want people to know that it’s not always such a rigorous process.
In the US, for example, the representatives of the ASPCA organization do not like restrictive policies that create ownership barriers. These barriers can include home visits, references, whether or not people have a fence, and landlord screening. The ASPCA also says they don’t feel certain things help them understand if humans will be good pet parents.
At the same time, according to research, about 1 in 10 adopted pets in the US is either returned or rehomed after six months.
Many animal rights activists believe it is important to do as much as possible to ensure dogs and pets get home, and to ensure the process itself is not a deterrent.
To give a short answer as to whether you need to go through a background check to adopt a dog, it really just depends.
What you should know before adopting a dog
People have to go in adopting a dog, realizing that it is a major life change and a massive commitment. The more you can understand the process beforehand, the better.
Specific considerations to be aware of include:
- How much will the cost be? If you adopt from a quality organization, you will likely receive your dog’s medical history and records. Depending on how old the dog is, they may have already taken care of spaying or neutering. You can talk to the rescue group about what they think your pet might need in terms of future problems, especially estimating vet costs. For example, does the dog need medication for a chronic condition? Is the dog older and therefore likely to require more grooming?
- Not only can the organization help you figure out how much care your dog needs, but they may be able to give you an estimate of the average medical cost in your area. Make sure you are clear on whether or not a dog has hidden health issues before adopting them.
- Would you get pet insurance? It can help you cover unexpected expenses that come with owning a dog, but some people don’t necessarily find it financially beneficial for them.
- Will you pay to train the dog? That’s another thing to add to your budget. You may be able to do it yourself, but you must practice how to do it before you can train the dog.
- Other expenses to factor into your budget before making a decision can include groceries, upkeep, and unexpected expenses like cleaning your carpet or replacing a piece of furniture if it’s ruined.
- Do you have an outside area for the dog and if not, is there time for walks and exercise after adoption? You should set aside a portion of your day for a walk each day, and that can be good exercise even if you have a backyard where your dog can go to the bathroom. Older dogs need just as much exercise as younger ones.
- Are you okay with giving up some of your freedom? For example, if you want to travel, you cannot do so without planning what you are going to do with your pet. You may also need to wake up early in the morning to walk the dog, or in the middle of the night when he needs to go out. Any time you’re away from home for too long, your dog could get upset and possibly go to the bathroom on the floor or destroy something.
The acceptance process
Above we talked about some of the things you can expect when adopting a dog.
If you are adopting from an animal shelter, the process may be different than adopting from a shelter or a private owner.
If you’re adopting from an animal shelter, the easiest way to start the process is with a visit. Some shelters will also host adoption events.
Emailing or calling an animal shelter is often not the best way to get in touch with them because the staff is busy and they can be overwhelmed. You may get information quicker if you walk by, but the shelter may have a website you can look at that details exactly how the process works.
If you adopt from a rescue agency, they are usually run by volunteers. Rescues often involve pets in private boarding houses or nursing homes.
While we don’t often think about adopting a pet, you can also choose to adopt a pet into a new home by working with a private owner.
Each of these three options has advantages and disadvantages. if you adopt from an animal shelter, for example, see multiple potential pets at once so you can figure out which one is best for you. An animal shelter may have a more lenient screening process, and depending on the circumstances, you may be allowed to take the pet home that day.
An adoption fee may be lower than the fees charged by a rescue, but if you adopt from a shelter, you may have to pay more of the pet’s initial medical costs.
When you adopt from a rescue, the people you are dealing with know a lot about the pets they are caring for. They often specialize in certain types of dogs, and a rescue is very involved in the screening process Place pets in foster care until they are adopted.
The good thing about these factors is that you can do well with a dog that is a good fit for you and your lifestyle. Expect rescue workers to conduct rigorous screening, and adoption fees will likely be higher than at an animal shelter.
If you go to a private owner who adopts a dog, they will know about their pet’s health and behavior. The pet will also go straight to your home from a home, reducing their stress.
However, private owners have their own ways of handling the process and communicating with you.
Overall, don’t let the fear of a background check or a difficult application process put you off adopting a pet—many organizations are flexible with their requirements.
While they want to make sure they are find a good home for petsnor do they try to be so restrictive that they give up the opportunity.