How much does it cost to adopt a pet shelter?

Are you looking to add to your family? One of the best and cheapest ways to do this is to adopt from a shelter.

Adoption fees range from nothing at all to a few hundred dollars, according to Hannah Stember of Best Friends Animal Society, a nonprofit organization that operates the nation’s largest homeless animal sanctuary.

“When you adopt, you save money because the cost of adoption is less than buying an animal from a pet store or from a breeder. And puppy mills don’t fund,” Stemper said.

The $200 to $300 you might pay is a fraction of what you would pay for a dog from a breeder, and there is significant value that comes with adoption, as the shelter or rescue has likely already covered an initial veterinary exam, vaccinations, micro-shipping and spaying or neutering.

Read more: A financial guide for new pet owners
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Since puppies and more popular breeds tend to be easier to bring home, they fetch a higher price tag. Senior dogs, those that require extra attention or those that have been in a shelter for 30 days or more, may be priced lower.

Check with your local shelter to see if they hold pet adoption events. During campaigns like Clear the Shelters Day, organizations will lower or waive adoption fees to find a home for every animal currently in care.

Finally, don’t be surprised if you find yourself on waiting lists at your local animal shelter. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many shelters have seen an increase in adoption interest, along with a decrease in animal surrenders.

Shelter Animals Count, an independent nonprofit that tracks incoming and outgoing dogs and cats at thousands of shelters across the country, reports dog adoption rates as high as 98% in 2020, up 9% from the same 2019 January-November timeframe. There was a 21% decrease in dogs being handed over to shelters or taken in by rescues in 2020.

For organizations like Best Friends, demand outstrips supply isn’t a bad problem, when the goal is to give pups like Major a better life.

Did you know: 30 of the least expensive dog breeds

“When you adopt, you save not one life, but two,” Stemper said. “The person you’ve adopted, but also the person you’ve made space for in a shelter or rescue group.”

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Last updated: October 20, 2021

This article originally appeared on How Much Does It Cost to Adopt a Shelter Pet?

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