This letter is in response to the sidebar article stating that there are more than 45 cats at the Gastineau Humane Society shelter and the Word of Mouth response stating that there are so many cats at the shelter because of the ridiculous adoption requirements.
Shelter policy regarding adoption is not ridiculous and is not the reason there are so many cats for adoption. The reasons there are so many cats at the shelter are numerous, but the basic reason is that some cat owners have not taken their responsibilities as pet owners seriously. What is ridiculous is that many cat owners have not taken the responsibility of altering their cat so that unwanted kittens are not born. What is ridiculous is they have not realized that a cat or any pet is a lifetime commitment, one that is not shirked because the cat does not match their lifestyle anymore.
The adoption process that the shelter uses helps to ensure that future pet owners are responsible. The interested adopter fills out an application form that asks for basic information about the adopter, why they want a pet, how the pet will be cared for, whether you own or rent your home and finally asks for two references. The adopter is then informed that it will take 24 to 48 hours to process the application. This allows the shelter staff time to check on references, call property managers and, most importantly, allows the adopter time to decide if they are truly ready and able to make a lifetime commitment to the pet they are adopting.
When the application has been reviewed and all is satisfactory, the prospective pet owner is asked to come in and fill out the adoption paperwork and pay the nominal adoption fee. It is mandatory that every animal leaving the shelter is altered and if you have chosen an animal that needs to be altered, you will be asked to make an appointment with the vet of your choice for this procedure. The shelter transports the animal to the vet of your choice, the surgery is done and you pick up your pet from the vet.
This kind of adoption policy is not ridiculous and helps to contend with the two main reasons why there are animals at the shelter. The waiting period and reference check ensures that the animal is not being adopted on a whim without thought of future lifestyle changes or circumstances. The mandatory policy of all animals leaving the shelter being altered ensures that the animal will not breed more unwanted pets. The adoption policy of the Gastineau Humane Society is there for the animals in their care and not for the convenience of future pet owners. The shelter acts as an advocate for the animals in their care and if you find the adoption policy an inconvenience than you should think twice about bringing a pet into your home.