We are taking a big step to get pets adopted in the first two weeks of May. Partnering with Bissell Pet Foundation’s event “Empty the Shelters”, we’re offering Fee-Waived adoptions until May 14 for all adult pets. Puppies and kittens under 6 months old will have reduced fees.

You might ask about the rationale for waiving adoption fees- thinking if someone can’t afford adoption fees, how can they afford to care for a pet? The traditional view has been that “giving away” pets devalues them, may compromise their care, and reflects poorly on the shelter giving them away.

Research and experience have proven that this just isn’t the case. Here at Second Chance, we have found that most people aren’t adopting because of fee-waived adoptions. Instead, people see wonderful pets at our shelter, and fees being waived are just a reminder to visit and adopt.  The waiving of fees may bring in adopters from communities with whom we may not regularly connect, and this expansion of our audience is a great opportunity to help more animals.

Multiple studies have shown that animals adopted through fee-waived adoption events like Empty the Shelters are NOT returned at a rate higher than any other pets. Additionally, there was no difference in post-adoption veterinary care received by fee-waived and non-fee-waived pets. Most adopters brought their cats for follow-up veterinary care regardless of fee status.

Another piece of good news for some of our pets like Felicia and Hank: studies found 87% of adopters of fee-waived pets considered the length of time a cat or dog had been at the shelter as a factor in selecting their new family member. In contrast, only 13% of regular adopters considered a longer-stay pet. This suggests that fee-waived programs entice adopters who are explicitly trying to be part of the solution to homeless pets.

While adoption fees may be waived during Empty the Shelters, our adoption policies and guidance are not.  We meet with every potential adopter to get to know them and their lifestyle, to make sure we are making a strong match and setting everyone up for success.  We provide tips and guidance on introducing new pets to the home, other family members, and resident pets. Every adopter fills out the same application, signs the same contract, and is asked the same questions.

Another question we get is “How does this affect your budget?” To be perfectly honest, adoption fees don’t begin to cover our costs of care for shelter animals. The medical care, food, behavioral work, and staff time cost much more than the standard adoption fee. This is especially true for long-stay pets. Our biggest asset is the donors who support our mission financially and by spreading the word about our great work. We also apply for grants, work with businesses, and move merchandise through our shops and gallery to fund our work. If someone adopts during a no-fee event, we hope they will consider donating. Either way, nothing makes us happier than seeing an animal find its new home. We are looking forward to a lot of happy adoptions during the Bissell fee-waived event.

Bissell Empty the Shelters goes through May 14 at Second Chance.



Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have served San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties since 1994. Adoption hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 11 am to 5:30 pm. Our Community Veterinary Services are available by appointment. View our shelter pets and services online: www.secondchancehumane.org