A while ago, I blogged about the dangers of offering pets for free on Craigslist. That post still gets a lot of traffic. Just yesterday, somebody commented “I think the real threat is from those animal care homes that flag free ads yet charge a fortune to rescue animals. $300-500 for a dog is absurd.”
I’ll come back to that in a minute.
Sometime during the past couple of weeks, I was made aware of a family member who had gotten a rescue pit. This dog was the third to join that household. The rescue person who had the pit was asking $150, but my young family member refused to pay that, citing it as ridiculous. His attitude was “if you want to find a home for that dog you can give it to me.” Apparently the rescue person was desperate, and called the young man back the next day and gave him the dog for free.
I’ll come back to that in a minute, too.
When a rescue group gets an animal, a number of things happen. First, the animal has to be vetted. That means a distemper/parvo/corona vaccine, a rabies vaccine, a bordatella vaccine, and sometimes leptospirosis and lyme disease vaccines. Then the dog needs to be wormed. That usually means a fecal test and dewormer . Then there is a heartworm test, heartworm preventative if the dog is negative or heartworm treatment if the dog is positive ($500-$1,000) Then, the dog needs to be spayed or neutered at a cost determined by the size of the dog. That price increases if there are any complications.
God forbid the dog should have any other health issues: ear infection, eye problems, tapeworm, broken bones, injuries, dental problems or mange.
You can see by the table to the left, that barring complications, to get a dog ready for adoption has a base cost of $261-$316 all the way up into the thousands of dollars if the dog has other health issues. These costs are what 501(c)3 animal rescue groups are constantly raising funds for. More funds are needed if the rescue group doesn’t have their own kennel facility and needs to board an animal, if they microchip their rescue dogs, or provide obedience training or rehabilitation, or if they need fees to pull animals from kill shelters. And then of course the rescue group incurs the cost of feeding the dog for the entire time it’s at their shelter.
So getting back to the comment from a reader: how absurd is an adoption fee? Even one as high as $300 (although personally, I’ve never heard of a fee higher than $200). Isn’t it ultimately worth it to pay an adoption/rehoming fee for a dog that’s already been vetted? And why shouldn’t a rescue group be entitled to recoup some of the money they’ve spent to make an animal adoptable? Money recouped is money that can be spent to save another dog, and so on, and so on. People don’t bat an eye when they pay a breeder $200, $500 or $2,500 for a dog, yet balk at a rehoming fee.
And getting back to that young man who wouldn’t pay $150 for the rescue pit: he found out that 3 dogs and a baby were more overwhelming than expected, and now he and his girlfriend want to get rid of the pit. If he had paid $150 for the dog, might he have valued it more? Tried harder to make it all work out? People tend to value what they pay for.
Quit complaining. Pay the adoption/rehoming fee so the next dog can be helped.