Why aren't rescue pets free?

This is a question that pops up frequently and it’s easy to see why some people would think that, because they are willing to adopt a homeless dog or cat, there should be no adoption fee.

Well, in a perfect world, that would be perfectly reasonable! But all rescue pets must be examined by a vet, vaccinated, microchipped and desexed. What’s more, dogs are generally tested for heartworm, not to mention the cost of food, and flea and worming treatment whilst the pet is in care. The rescue group pays for all of this out of their own pocket, so in order to make the rescue process sustainable the group needs to recoup these costs, at least in part, by charging an adoption fee.

In most instances, the adoption fee you pay covers the basic medical expenses incurred. However, if the pet received any extra medical treatment, it's likely that your adoption fee won’t cover these additional costs. Depending on the circumstances, some pets may have had thousands spent on specialist medical treatment, yet they will be offered at a standard adoption fee.

Adoption fees for dogs generally sit somewhere between $200 and $800, though some may be offered for a donation only, or for a higher fee if the pet is a super popular breed. Compare this to the going rate you’d pay for a puppy from a pet store (that in all likelihood came from a puppy farm) that averages between $600 and $3,500, or $150-200 for a kitten. On top of that, you still have to pay for vaccinations, microchipping and desexing. So, when you add it all up, we think rescue pets are a bargain!

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