Adoption Process

adopy3You came to the Ashtabula County Animal Protective League looking for a new family member. You may have seen a photo on our webpage or Facebook. You may have seen one of our dogs or cats at an event. You may have had a friend suggest you come to our Adoption Center to see the many dogs and cats who are waiting for a new home. Or you may have volunteered for us and found a dog or cat that you just KNEW would be a perfect fit in your home. So, what next? Here are the basic steps:

1) Spend Time with the Pet – get to know the pet’s personality, learn a little about the breed, know what the pet’s needs are.

2) Meet and Greet – if you already have a dog, bring your pet to the shelter to have the dog introduced (if you have a cat at home, we will test the dog with a cat at the shelter). Leave your pet in the car, come inside and let us know which dog you would like to introduce and a shelter worker will bring the pet outside to meet your dog (we don’t want to expose your pet to anything that may be floating around inside the shelter).

3) Decide – if you believe a new family member is what your family needs, proceed to fill out the adoption application. Remember, dogs may live 10-18 years depending on the breed and cats may live as long as 15-20 years. This is not a “for now” decision, this is a “for the life of the pet” decision. Please make the decision recognizing the needs of the pet which include a safe home environment, food and treats, regular veterinarian care, toys to play with and time for daily play and exercise. If you cannot make this commitment to the pet, please give someone else the opportunity to rehome. Almost all of our dogs and cats had a family once; we want to see them go to a family for life.

4) Apply for the Pet – the application is a relatively simple process asking for basic information of the variety you would be asked for elsewhere. If you currently have another pet, or have had one in the past 3 years, either bring your pet’s (s) veterinarian records or the contact information for your vet. Your veterinarian will be called to ensure that your new pet will receive the vet care that all animals deserve.

5) After Approval – your new pet may not yet be altered. ALL pets will be spayed or neutered prior to leaving the shelter. If your new pet is not yet altered, we will arrange a surgery date for it and notify you when your pet is ready.

a. If your application was not approved for any reason, your application will be reconsidered if you address the concern(s) that the shelter staff had.

6) Enjoy your new family member – Congratulations on your new “furever” family member! Please know that it will take time for new pet to adjust to their new surroundings. They have been living in a cage for days, weeks or even a year or more. Click HERE for “What to Expect from your New Pet”. A little patience now will give you an immeasurable reward! We LOVE to get updates! And, if you are on Facebook, please post photos for everyone to see how rewarding it is to adopt!

**Please note that if you are looking to adopt a pitbull or pitbull mix, a “home check” is required.


adopt2Detailed Description of Adoption Procedure

Potential adopters must present to an ACAPL representative (i.e. a representative qualified to write an adoption contract) to complete the required paperwork. A current Photo ID is required.* The potential adopter must have an established veterinarian record showing animal care within the past three years. If the potential adopter has not had a pet within the last three years, the applicant should notify the shelter by phone or by email when a veterinarian appointment is made within 2 weeks of adoption. All adoptions of pit-bulls or pit-bull mixes require a “home visit”. A “home visit” may be requested for other “bully breeds”. A “home visit” is when a representative from the APL visits the home in which the dog will reside. The intent of the “home visit” is not to judge a person’s living conditions but rather to note the living conditions/arrangements for the pet (e.g. where pet will sleep, how it will be contained, etc.)

The potential adopter will first need to fill out an “Application for Adoption”. Upon completion, the application will be reviewed by an Adoption Counselor or Adoption Representative (for off-site adoptions). If the required documentation has been provided and the application approved, the adoption process will continue. If the required documentation is not available, the application will be dated and placed in the requested animal’s folder and the adopter will be notified within 3 days of outcome.

If the animal requested is not available for adoption at the time of application due to awaiting spay/neuter surgery, the approved applicant will be informed within one week of the potential surgery date. The approved applicant will be notified of exact date of pick-up as soon as the information becomes available. Unless reasonable arrangements are made, if the animal is not picked up within 24 hours the next approved adopter on a waiting list (if applicable) will be called. If the potential adopter is not reached, a message will be left at the number they had provided. The applicant will have 24 hours to respond once a message is left. If there is no answer at the shelter when returning the call, the approved applicant is asked to leave a message in the ACAPL’s general voicemail box. If the ACAPL is not notified within 24 hours of the initial call, an ACAPL representative will call the next approved applicant (if there exists a waiting list for the pet).

The ACAPL representative placing the phone call to the approved applicant will document the date and time the call was made on the intake and sign it. Phone messages will be checked at least twice each day by an ACAPL employee or volunteer. There will be a notation made on the board in the lobby for all pending applications. A sign will also be placed on the animal’s cage indicating there is a pending application for that animal. If another individual is interested in an animal that has a pending application, they are asked to seek additional information from an ACAPL Adoption Counselor, and if appropriate, to be added to a waiting list. They will be told that should an earlier application not result in adoption, their application will be subsequently reviewed. All additional potential adopters on a waiting list will follow the same procedure for adoption as the initial applicant.

Adoption denials cannot be based on personal criteria or for membership in a federally protected group (e.g. denied because of race, religion, nationality, disability status). Reasons for denial of an application must be factual, legitimate and fully documented**. An inappropriate home environment for the pet (e.g. such as the need for a pet to be placed in a home without young children or having unaltered pets in the home) is a valid reason for denial as the ACAPL wants to provide for the best opportunity for success of the pet. All application denials will be notified within 3 business days and an ACAPL representative must explain to the denied applicant of the reason(s) in a non-demoralizing manner. The applicant has the right to re-apply if the reason(s) for denial are addressed and/or corrected.

A review of all documents, instructions of papers to present to the adopted pet’s veterinarian, dog license and all ‘special instructions’ such as Upper Respiratory Infection (URI), stitch removal, incision care, etc. will be completed with the adopter following adoption.***

*Exceptions to this would be out-of-state or long-distance applicants who would be completing paperwork by fax, mail, email and/or phone.

**Reasons for denial include, but are not limited to, expecting the pet to live outdoors, having unaltered pets in the household, not having demonstrated minimum standards of veterinary care for current or past pets, not having current pets up-to-date on rabies vaccination, having a conviction of animal cruelty or neglect, etc. Exceptions may apply (particularly relative to “unaltered pets in the household”) depending on circumstances.

***The ACAPL representative will accept the appropriate adoption fee, provide the adopter a receipt for their adopted pet (a cancelled check may need to suffice for off-site adoption events) and review any and all pertinent instructions for care.