Do Policy Based Adoptions Increase the Care a Pet Receives? An Exploration of a Shift to Conversation Based Adoptions at One Shelter

by Emily Weiss; Emily D. Dolan; Margaret R. Slater; Shannon Gramann; Jamie E. Scotto

Oct 20, 2014
Animal shelters' adoption processes vary across the US. Some programs have rigorous policy-based programs in which potential adopters are screened in or out based on their responses to a series of qualifying questions. Some other organizations use a conversation-based approach without policies around such things as income, vaccination status of animals in the home, and landlord approval. Those organizations that use the policy-based approach do so with the premise that the animal will be loved and cared for better by those that meet their criteria. Policy-based adoptions can be arduous and can decrease adoptions, as, for example, those living in apartments that are unable to prove their landlord accepts pets are turned away. We hypothesized that meeting or not meeting policy-based criteria would have no impact on the care or bond of the adopter with the pet. This study examined the quality of care and attachment in two groups of adopters, a group that adopted while policy based adoptions were in place and a group that adopted when policies were eliminated. There were no substantial differences between the two groups. This important finding indicates that those that adopt through conversation-based adoptions (policy-free) provide similar high-quality care and are just as likely to be highly bonded to their pet as those that adopt through policy based adoptions.
Do Policy Based Adoptions Increase the Care a Pet Receives? An Exploration of a Shift to Conversation Based Adoptions at One Shelter
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