Saturday, August 22, 2015

Adoption Fees

So, I post our available animals up on craigslist, all the time.  Lately have not been having problems with flaggers, but we go through spurts.   May start having issues again, wanted to share an email I got today:

Your fees are much higher than Animal Welfare League.  I will flag all "selling"
And my response:

Animal welfare league is a government funded shelter. We don't have that luxury, nor do we have vets on staff to lower the cost of vet care for all the animals in our care.  Keep in mind, they're also a kill shelter, we're not.  It costs way less to care for an animal for a week or two and then put it down when it's not adopted than it does when animals are in the rescue for months on end...  Really, comparing US to them is comparing apples to oranges. Animal specific shelters, or breed-specific shelters for dogs, for example if you go to a Great Dane rescue, they're going to have higher adoption fees than if you find a Great Dane at any local Humane Society. That's just how it is, because they specialize in the breed and can tell you a lot more than the average shelter can about if that pet is right for you.  A lot of the chinchillas that come in this rescue come in because someone got them off craigslist because they were (for example) $20, and the people can finally afford it. They couldn't afford the vet care for it, or the correct cage, or any of that, and so we end up with the sick chins. Or we end up with 20 chins at once when someone thought it'd be a good idea to have brother and sister together and now there's quite a few more than those two... Point is, there's more than just one reason why our adoption fees aren't super low, but all of it is for the good of the animals.  The people who really want a rescue chinchilla, and want to know that it's coming from a good place, aren't quibbling over a few bucks. And frankly, if there's someone who thinks our adoption fee should be, say, $30, instead of $75 for a gray adult, and that's going to make the difference in adopting, I would hate to see what happens if the animal needs to go to the vet. We probably don't want that person adopting anyway. 

Personally... they're gonna flag me.  What are they all high and mighty?  Ooooh I'm afraid.  Most adoptions we get are through the WEBSITE, so even if craigslist goes down for a bit... so what?

Let me expand on a few things.  Humane societies, especially ones like AWL that have vets on staff, are naturally going to be able to charge lower fees.  Not just for small animals, but for dogs, and every other animal that comes in the door.  Now, this person clearly has no idea, but I have horror stories I could tell you all about AWL, that would make no one ever adopt from them.  EVER.  Just cause they have cheap adoption fees doesn't mean a place is ethical, is out for the good of the animals, anything like that.  Cheap adoptions fees are just that, cheap.  Should I mention how most of the critters that this rescue has ever gotten from AWL -- AWL has been WRONG on sex of.  Has said -- two males.  Nope!!  Male and female.  Can't even tell them when they're DIFFERENT.  That's just the tip of the iceberg, and I won't even get into the rest.  Cheap, yes.  Sick animals, DING DING DING DING DING, tell em what they've won!! 

Any time you go to an animal specific shelter, it's always going to be more.  Someone told me, way back when, Hobart Humane Society adopts out guinea pigs for $5 each.  And asked, could I lower my adoption fee (for one specific guinea pig) to that.  Uh... no.  You want one for $5, go to HHS.  Oh, they don't have the one you want?  Guess you gotta pay our adoption fee if you want the one we have.  This is not Walmart, we do not pricematch.  Sorry.  I personally think it's funny... they like the adoption fees of other places better... but want our animals.  Hmmmm.  But back to the animal specific.  You go to the local humane society, often you could adopt any animal in there without much scrutiny, go home, and decide to return it the next day.  And guess what -- happens all the time.  I used to volunteer at one of the local humane societies and their returns were insane!  Versus us, we get back MAYBE a handful of chins every year.  You know why?  Because just like any breed-specific rescue, we know what questions to ask, we know what's important in a good home, and check that out before the animal goes home.  I guarantee you, you go to adopt an animal from AWL, say a hamster, and you pay the $10 (or whatever) and take it home.  Do they know what type of cage you have?  Probably not.  What type of food you plan to feed?  Eh.  Have they asked if the hamster is for you or a gift for someone else?  Doubtful.  We would.  And that's why we have some percentage of people who would adopt, decide to not adopt, because they realize, you know what, not the pet for me.  And that's fine, I'd rather people realize it ahead of time.  But the thing is, we know our animals.  You go to a sheltie rescue, they're not gonna adopt out a sheltie to someone who can't stand barking.  Cause they bark.  Just like we wouldn't adopt out a chinchilla to someone who wanted it to play with their 1 year old unsupervised and let their 2 year old carry it around the house 24/7.  But because breed-specific rescues specialize... and only deal with one general breed... it tends to be more expensive to adopt from them.

And believe me... I cringe when I hear, oh this place adopts out chins for $25.  I know someone told me there is a place in Indiana like that.  I cringe and wonder if we're getting in their chins and not knowing it... because unfortunately, it is the truth.  The people who can't afford a $75 chin, but can afford a $30 one, and think it's a good idea to get one at $30  (but think it's totally unaffordable at $75)... probably should not have the pet.  And I know I've said this over and over, it's not that I have anything against poor people, because I, too, am no stranger to charging vet bills, if needed, but I do believe that if the difference of $45 is going to break the bank, that person should really think about adopting the animal.  We have sales now and then, because the appeal of "getting a deal" usually is pretty effective at finding some good homes.  Not that $65 is much cheaper than $75, but people see it as something they should jump on.  We have given discounts before (ya gotta ask for them... we don't just offer), because a good home is worth more than $20 more in the rescue's pocket.  But that all said... if $20 is the difference between affording the pet and not... probably should wait.  I know for me, when I got Taffy (younger sheltie), she was $600, and I would rather have spent that amount and then spent a few hundred on toys, crate, shots, etc etc, than spent $2000 on her and not had money left over for the other stuff.  So I can totally understand saving some money on the animal itself and using it to put towards the animal.  Sometimes when I have sales, some people seem to purchase more supplies (as compared to animals not on sale), which may be because they're saving some on the critter.  But what I want to avoid is adopting out animals too cheaply, and then having the people not be able to afford proper vet care.  You may remember when Chong (renamed Cheerio by her new home) went home, and came to find out that they couldn't even afford the gas to get to the vet, and I had to call up the vet and put my card on file so she could be treated.  Yes, she was still under the health guarantee, but if it was a week later, she wouldn't have, and those people would not have had the gas to get her to the vet, much less any money to treat her, or even to put her down.  We want to avoid that.  I get a lot of emails from people who have a sick chin and can't afford medical care.  Sometimes it's something we can legitimately help with.  Sometimes not -- I've gotten calls about chins needing various surgeries over $1000 each... we don't have that kind of spare cash to spend on a single animal at one vet visit.  Now, if an animal repeatedly gets sick and needs vet care and visits, it could add up to that, but not at all once.  But the thing is, sometimes it's a relatively cheap vet visit... but people still can't afford it, and I don't want any of these chins going to homes like that.

Anyway, kind of interesting turn of events... I got an email back:

thanks so much for taking the time to clear that up.  So kind of you to explain.
Thing is... I will defend my position, but I'm not a mean person.  I'm sure sometimes I may come out that way, on here, because I feel like I can say more of what I think on this blog (to an extent, of course)... but there really is a reason why things are the way they are.  It's just taking the time to understand it...

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