Is It Too Hard To Adopt A Pet In Metro Atlanta?

Our Patch Question of the Week asks, do potential pet owners have to jump through too many hoops to adopt a new little friend?

Metro Atlanta has a lot of worthwhile organizations and groups that find good homes for needy pets.

Ruffus Rescue is an all-volunteer dog rescue group that holds a dog adoption event most Saturdays in Virginia Highland. Brookhaven's Citydog Market hosts pet rescue and adoption organizations during most summer weekends.

LifeLine Animal Project, which operates a no-kill shelter in Avondale Estates, waived its $80-$120 adoption fees earlier this year members of Girl Scouts. Later, the organization did the same for teachers and educators.

Most recently, the founder of Buckhead's Anisa International cosmetics company has promised to match every dollar donated to LifeLine up to $25,000, before Dec. 31.

And the holiday season also brings up the question of whether its a good idea to give a pet as a gift. Giving a puppy or a kitten, or even an older animal, as a gift during the holiday season may sound like a great idea to some, but it may not be in reality.

But some people think that adopting a pet in metro Atlanta is a hassle, with too much paperwork and screening, not to mention often-high adoption fees.

So Patch wants to know: do you think its too hard to adopt a pet these days? Or are these organizations simply doing all they can to make sure our furry friends find the best home possible? Did you bring a new pet into your home over the holidays? Share your opinions in the comments area below.

Related Items:

Ruffus Rescue Dog Adoptions

Citydog Market Hosting Rescue Organizations

LifeLine Waives Pet Adoption Fees For Girl Scouts In March

LifeLine Waiving Pet Adoption Fees For Educators In June

Buckhead Business Founder To Match Animal Shelter Donations

Is It A Good Idea To Give A Pet As A Gift?

Elizabeth December 27, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Rescues try hard, and some people are well intentioned, but take it too far. It is an ongoing debate in the pet rescue industry. But what people are not mentioning is the number of dogs returned because they are not perfect, or cats dumped because after the owner declawed them the cat no longer used the litter box correctly. Those adoption fees are CHEAP. The same services would cost an owner $400-$600 and you are getting a vetted animal. Rescues can tell you personality, whether it gets along with other animals or children. So what if you have to do a little paperwork to verify you are going to care for the animal.
Elizabeth December 27, 2012 at 03:03 PM
The rabies requirement is a legal one in some counties and I would guess it is listed on the rescue's website. If you had not mentioned the cats you might have been steered tow a dog that does not get along with cats. You can get a rabies vaccination from Well Pet clinic every day at a low cost. The hurdles are not extreme, they are in place for the safety of the animals and yourself.
Lucy Mauterer December 27, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Our experience with Atlanta Humane Society was very good. We adopted a lab mix 5 years ago and he was neutered, had a microchip put in, all his vacs. We were told he was 6 months old and his other breed was probably border collie but over a three month period he tripled in size, growing to be about the size of a greyhound, a little smaller than a Great Dane. So one caveat might be, don't totally believe what they say about the parentage! We love our big old boy and I would not have him any other way. His deep bark and long teeth scare any prospective burglars away. And he's a sweetie to all who I designate as a friend.
pat December 27, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I believe that the fees at shelters like Dekalb Animal Control (which are lowered some times ) are quite reasonable . The fees include spay / neutering. Also, please consider that the funding and staffing for Dekalb has been cut in recent years while the demand for services has increased so much (probably due in part to the econimy). The staff are overwhelmed and are trying hard to provide care in a building that is very old and delapidated. They now have 3 adoption coordinators who I believe are great. Unfortunately, due to staffing, they at times get pulled to do other duties. I would encourage anyone considring adding to your family with a dog or cat to please visit Dekalb Animal Control and Services. They have so many wonderful animals. Also, after your visit, please contact your county Commisioner and Burrell Ellis and tell them you SAW what the facility is like and a new facility is needed NOW. Thanks
Marie December 27, 2012 at 04:07 PM
I think it's important for an organization to strike a balance. Yes, there is a need to get pets off the streets and into homes, but these animal organizations also have a responsibility to make sure these animals are going to safe, decent places. Most animal welfare orgs don't make their money from adoption fees. They make it from donations. The fee is to ensure that the person adopting understands the commitment and the means it takes to care for a living, breathing animal. I think some organizations are too strict--making potential adopters jump through hoops and turning good people away for one nitpicky reason or another. The fees at some breed-specific rescues are nearly as high as a breeder would charge. Several people have mentioned Atlanta Humane Society--and we've had a great experience there as well. I believe the fees there range from $100-150 and the pets are already spayed/neutered and microchipped. I know that fee doesn't even cover the cost they've put into caring for the animal. And they do have an application to fill out, but they don't turn people away for silly reasons. And the whole process can take just 1-2 hours from selection to adoption. I also can't tell you how many beautiful, purebred dogs I see on their website regularly. People just need to understand that adopting a pet is not the same as going to Wal-Mart and picking the cutest toy. It's an investment and a big decision!
Mary December 27, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Very difficult to adopt small or toy breeds (outside of Chihuahuas and terriers, which are plentiful). Many shelter personnel members decide to keep the dog for theirselves. However, they should NOT ADVERTISE the dog if that is THEIR INTENT.
Joan Borchardt December 27, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Pet ownership is a serious life commitment....financially, emotionally, and literally! You WANT pet rescue organizations to carefully vet (pun intended!) potential adopters to make sure they understand and can handle the serious responsibility of becoming a pet parent. A primary reason is to prevent the number of pet surrenders that occur later on....when they didn't consider their work/travel schedule and boarding expenses, their home environment, their lifestyle preferences, the veterinary costs, etc. I highly recommend ATLANTA PET RESCUE & ADOPTION(APRA) which is a non-profit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter that can be found online at http://www.atlantapetrescue.org/. You should consider volunteering or applying to be a FOSTER parent with APRA - it is a great way to learn about different breeds and see how well they acclimate to your home environment, your lifestyle, and your other pets. In fact, my two APRA fosters are the ones that adopted ME, and they are the two most spoiled pooches in Atlanta! I am not ashamed to admit that they are the ones that actually rescued ME!
Sam December 27, 2012 at 08:43 PM
The animal controls and large humane societies tend to operate a high volume operation with little screening or hoops to jump through. They also don't claim to be no-kill and will and do euthanize for illness or behavior. Most of the rescue groups are completely no-kill and will take back any animal if the adoption doesn't work out. They also provide more vet care (for instance, our pet adopted from a rescue had a teeth cleaning, was groomed and had been treated for heartworms -- something the large shelters don't do). Because they invest so much time and effort for the pets and will always take them back, the rescues tend to ask more questions and have more hoops. But I adore the dog I adopted and am so thankful that she ended up in a rescue and not a large animal control or humane society where she probably would have been euthanized.
Joanne Burke December 27, 2012 at 09:18 PM
We have adopted from Rufus Rescue. They are a wonderful caring organization. Especially Harriet! We had no "hoops" to go through. The biggest problem is Fulton County and towns like Roswell which limit the number of pets in the home to 3!!! this isn't based on the size of your home or any financial means-simply a silly number they decided to use. It limits many more animals that could be taken in by loving caring families.
billinTucker December 27, 2012 at 09:32 PM
I got my buddy (female) at DAC, near the jail off Memorial drive a few months ago. I asked if I could see the ones in the back after not finding a dog in the front. I was stunned when I visited it. It had not changed since I was there in 1970's. Thanks Pat for posting it is county owned taxpayer funded.
Ms. December 27, 2012 at 10:37 PM
I adopted my gal seven years ago from the Atlanta Humane Society. Unless it has changed, I'd say a minimal amount of paperwork, not a long process. She's insanely amazing and curled up like a ball at my feet under a blanket at the moment. I guess what I'm trying to say, is that I had a positive experience, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I'll second a few thoughts above. Check with Dekalb animal services, with stories I've heard lately, the animals don't have a decent life there, and lastly... I hate to be preachy, but, if filling out paperwork is a hassle, you may not be ready for a new member of your family just yet. Obviously they require a lot of work, and puppies have crazy energy, and need lots of walks/attention/behavior training. It's not easy (or cheap), but it's absolutely worth it.
Nancy Wilkinson December 27, 2012 at 10:48 PM
We adopted an English Springer Spaniel which had been turned in to Fulton County animal control by his previous owners and pulled from the shelter by ESRA (English Springer Rescue America). Judging by his age, they guessed he was possibly a Christmas puppy who turned out to be more than the owners were prepared to take on and decided that owning a dog was just too much for them. ESRA got him current on all his shots and had him neutered and we adopted him. We had preciously gone through a home visit and screening when we adopted our first Springer, so the adoption process was quicker this time. We discovered that he had hip dysplasia and ESRA offered to take him back and find another home for him if we didn't feel we could deal with the associated health care costs. We were in love with him by then and are fortunate enough to have the means to take care of him, so he's been part of our family for two years now. A reputable breeder would have let the previous owners know that they could return the puppy to them if they had second thoughts. A rescue group would have done the same. Both would have let the potential owners know how high-energy the breed is and helped them decide whether they were really ready for a puppy in their home. And whether they really had thought through the lifetime costs of dog ownership.
Oakie December 28, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Agreed. Email Burrell Ellis and ask him why he campaigned and promised to address the abysmal conditions at the shelter and instead is trying to focus our tax dollars on a soap box derby. http://dekalbofficersspeak.blogspot.com/2012/06/burrell-ellis-ask-so-whatcha-going-to.html?m=1Burrell@BurrellEllis.com. Home phone number is 770-469-5948. Address, PO Box 1483, Stone Mountain, GA 30086
Holly Mueller December 28, 2012 at 02:56 PM
I have had nothing but rescue babies all my life. My latest being Arthur...a poodle that I adopted from Ruffus Rescue. I think if it is a reputable organization, they will take the time to talk with you, find out about your habits, home, work hours, is your yard fenced, will the animal(if it's a dog) be crated, how many hours are you gone a day, etc. Adoptions are for life, so the organization should take extreme care to match a baby with the right home, and make sure the family knows the time, care, and expenses involved with having a rescue. If a person/family can meet requirements, it really isn't difficult to adopt. I had been searching for just the right rescue baby when I saw Arthur's picture on the Ruffus Rescue site. I immediately sent an email with my long adoption history and *perks* of being in my family. IE: lots of love, sleeping on the bed......things like that. We communicated, and I went to meet Arthur. We insantly fell in love and he came home with me. It is extremely important that the baby is spayed or nuetered. There is far too big of an animal over population problem. I think puppy mills(which is where Arthur was rescued from) should be shut down and legislation should be in place for these types of places. I have loved every rescue baby I have had. They have, and will, all live long happy lives in my home.
billinTucker December 28, 2012 at 04:00 PM
i hope when they build the new DeKalb Shelter they will consider adding sound absorbing material to the ceiling. It is deafening in the back where the dogs are located. I don't know how the Employees stand it. Looks like there were be some code so the Employees hearing is protected. Material on the ceiling and down the walls should help.I signed a Petition at the Dekalb Animal Hospital in Tucker for a new shelter.
Dog Lover December 29, 2012 at 11:44 AM
Interesting comments! My experience was not pleasant. However, I am grateful for the various facilities that dont euthanize animals. I still say that some of them are too strict. Maybe I fell in love too quickly but I pictured the dog as a family member too soon and was heartbroken when each time I went to visit, thinking this was the day I would bring him home, I was heartbroken. I must admit though even after all of the interviewing, discussions and my telling them my lengthy hx with dogs, they really didnt know me. I just hope that dog got a wonderful home.
Lak December 29, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Atlanta Beagle Rescue helped us find our last two dogs and were great to work with. They do a terrific job of vetting the dogs and getting to know them and finding the right dog for your family and lifestyle. We also rescued from Dogs on Death Row (they specialize in dogs in imminent danger) and they were good also. Please rescue from somewhere. There are wonderful dogs that need homes and love.
Tiffany December 29, 2012 at 04:12 PM
I agree that some of these places make it much more difficult to adopt a pet than it would be a human child! Too many pets lose out on finding a perfect home because of this nonsense. I understand they have rules...but come on- do they really even WANT their pets to find forever homes?
Alison Hector January 12, 2013 at 10:41 PM
Urgent Fulton Pets in Danger.LifeLine placed a bid to take over animal control but the County is still heavily considering and as of now giving preference to a regressive terrible option . Please sign the petition and alert others to also let the county know how they feel. Petition and story at this link http://petadvocatesnetwork.org/wordpress/2013/01/06/animal-lovers-urgent-action-needed/
Bebe Morgan January 26, 2013 at 09:28 AM
Mary, where do you get your information that shelter personnel keep certain toy breeds for themselves? Do you volunteer for a shelter? Do you have access to some sort of database? On the surface, your accusation seems outrageous but I am curious as to where you get the information that is the basis for what you say.
Bebe Morgan January 26, 2013 at 09:34 AM
To complain about an $80-100 fee for adoption of an animal that has been tested, vaccinated, spayed/neutered is one of the most absurd things I've heard lately. My position is very simple - if you cannot afford $100 adoption fee, you certainly cannot afford the wellness check required within 3 days of adoption, the heartworm medication ($100-120/6 months) for a dog, the food, the annual vaccinations snd, in all likelihood will dump the pet or let the pet suffer from neglect within a short period of time. Although the studies of this kind of behavior are not extensive, they are conclusive. If you are not willing to commit to several hours or form completion, questioning by the animal services/rescue personnel and payment of a very modest fee, you probably have no sense of the responsibility required to care for a pet for the duration of that pet's life. Sorry. I wish I could be kinder about this but I've seen too many instances of childish "I wanna puppy or a kittie" impulses resulting in horrible neglect or abuse of animals.
Bebe Morgan January 26, 2013 at 09:37 AM
More difficult to adopt a pet than a human child? You obviously have never adopted a child - I have and let me tell you, unless you buy a child out the back door of some sleeze doctor's office, you go through months and months of counseling, screening, and much more. People who make these wild, unintelligent kinds of statements are just mouthing off rather than contributing to what could be a serious and constructive discussion.
Axel Grease Fuzzy-butt January 26, 2013 at 11:19 AM
My sentiments exactly, Ms. Hood. These organizations have a deep dedication to keeping their furry charges safe. A home visit, an application (with a small fee to a charitable organization) and $200-300 gets you a dog that is vetted, has some sort of personal history (housebroken, good with kids, activity level, etc.) Here a few good organizations, as well: Atlanta Dog Squad - http://www.atlantadogsquad.org/ Angels Among Us – http://angelsrescue.org The Dog Liberator – Border Collies, herding and shepherd breeds - http://thedogliberator.com/ Adopt A Golden Big Fluffy Dog Rescue
Axel Grease Fuzzy-butt January 26, 2013 at 11:20 AM
Woofey-woof-woof. (I approve.)
Axel Grease Fuzzy-butt January 26, 2013 at 11:20 AM
Woof-woof. (Correct.)
Axel Grease Fuzzy-butt January 26, 2013 at 11:23 AM
Not keeping up with rabies shots is slack, if kitty did get out, she is at some level of risk. Slack. (I hates me the rabies.)
Axel Grease Fuzzy-butt January 26, 2013 at 11:28 AM
BTW, I don't really like the process of adoption, but I am unable to think how it could be made 'easier,' and still protect animals. I don't have to like a lot of things, like cats, but I know how to work the process. Axel.
Rob January 26, 2013 at 03:19 PM
"Axel Grease Fuzzy-butt"??? The Patch troll is on steroids....or very desparate for a male friend.. ROFLOL!
Axel Grease Fuzzy-butt January 26, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Rob, It's a small world... http://youtu.be/uj0mtxXEGE8
O Smith April 14, 2013 at 12:20 PM
I had been trying to adopt a pet in the Atlanta area for months and was denied many times. All the long application filled out only to be denied because I work 12 hour shifts or live in an apartment. Well, finally broke down and bought two Cocker Spaniels from a wonderful breeder. Yes, they are well taken care of. Even thou I love my my adopted furry friends, my heart still goes out to those pets in a shelter who will never be adopted. I could have saved two pets. The thought of a pet being put to sleep just breaks my heart.


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