ASPCA, National Shelter Outreach
Common Problems of Adoption Programs
No adoption program will be problem-free, but a successful program will be prepared to address most problems. The following is a list of common problems. The list is not in order of importance. Some can be easily addressed by change in policy or procedure others will be constant and ongoing. The best advice is to anticipate problems and work proactively to avoid future problems.
1. Training employees properly.
2. Utilizing and training volunteers properly.
3. Initial screening of incoming animals for adoptability.
4. Being a good listener.
5. Space problems — both in terms of animal and people space.
6. Adoption of hard-to-place animals, special needs animals.
7. Pitbull or dominant dog adoption policies and screening.
8. Communication — getting your point across pleasantly. Keeping potential adopters from getting defensive.
9. Paperwork — keeping it accurate and up-to-date.
10. Return policies — exchange and refund policies.
11. Medical problems — infectious diseases, surgery problems.
12. Adoption holds — for public — how long should you wait?
13. Foster animals — foster program and policies.
14. Adoption refusals — how and why?
15. Bounced checks.
16. Sterilization — pre-sterilization, sterilization follow-up.
17. Behavior problems.
18. Time problems — adequate number of counselors available.
19. Double adoption — different sexes, two puppies?
20. Compatibility of adopted pet with owner’s current pets.
21. Dealing with difficult people (intoxicated, rude).
22. Out of jurisdiction adoptions — out-county or out-of-State.
23. Gift animals.
24. Public acceptance of adoption screening.
25. Adoption outreach — where, how, standards.
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