Adoption Agreement

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Adoption Agreement

A Brief Introduction About the Adoption Agreement

Pet adoption refers to the process of taking responsibility for a pet that has either been abandoned by the previous owner or sent to a shelter or rescue organization due to certain reasons. It is estimated that about 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year, and about 1.6 million dogs and an equal amount of cats are adopted from animal shelters and rescue groups.

Who Takes the Adaption Agreement?

The adoption agreement involves the animal shelter or rescue organization and the person who is willing to adopt a pet from the organization. The purpose of the adoption contract is to make the person who is adopting a pet to take possession of the pet and to treat it properly and responsibly with love and care.

Purpose of the Adoption Agreement

The agreement pertaining to pet adoption is a legally binding agreement that is also a document that transfers the ownership of the pet to the person who is adopting the puppy or the dog. The agreement sample lists a number of guidelines for adoption. It is an agreement whereto the parties undertake to abide by the conditions.

Contents of the Adoption Agreement

The contents of the agreement include

  • The pet referred to in the agreement is being transferred to the adopting owner with the understanding that the person who is adopting the pet is not only taking possession of the dog but also taking responsibility for it as their own
  • It is also an agreement where the person adopting the dog promises that the dog will be treated with love, care, and affection. The person has also got to ensure security as well as the well-being of the pet.
  •  The pet has to be provided with good food at least twice a day and fresh water at all times.
  • The dog would be provided a space within the home and would not be isolated from the family. It also entails an agreement to walk the dog on a leash or exercise the dog in a fenced yard. (There is a chance for a waiver by AFH).
  • It is also an agreement that signifies the dog that is adopted would not be let to roam free or run loose. At the same time, it also obligates the adopter to ensure that the dog is not chained or tied up continuously in the yard, patio, balcony, or pen. It also ensures that the pet is not let loose outdoors, even if it a fenced yard when there is no one at home.
  • The pet adoption agreement also restricts the right of the adopter by preventing the adopter from attack-training the dog and use the dog for any championship purposes. Cropping the ears of the dog or the tail docked is also prohibited by way of the agreement. The agreement also ensures that the dog is not abused physically, mental, or emotional abuse.
  • The agreement also entails taking the dog to the vet when the shots are due or at least once a year from the last vet visit. As far as shots are concerned, rabies shots have to be given every year or once in three years as well as booster shots for DHLPPC. Fecal checks for deworming and prompt treatment under the supervision of the veterinarian are also what you accept when you sign an agreement form.
  • The agreement also entails heartworm tests and administering heartworm tests regularly.
  • The choker must not be used at any other time other than the training period.

According to the laws pertaining to the state, the agreement may or may not require timely sterilization of the adopted pet. The agreement also affirms that no other member in the family has ever been convicted of an animal welfare law violation such as neglect, abuse, or cruelty to animals, or even abandoning animals.

How to Draft the Adoption Agreement?

You would notice that the clauses in the agreement are too stringent, and loving and capable adopters are regularly turned away by shelters and rescue organizations. That is why they are working towards a friendlier adoption process by way of an open adoption agreement. The open adoption process is a friendlier approach, which includes adopting procedures that are liberal and also encourages scope for open dialogue so that shelters offer support in handling the pets to the adopters. The ASPCA helped the organizations to change its rigid guide

[Also Read: Pet Sitting Contract]

Negotiation Strategy

You would find that the agreement sample that entails a list of do’s and don’t’s for the adopter of the pet usually results in a lose-lose situation where pets get back to the shelter because the adopters could not maintain them. However, the open adoption agreement that is much more lenient by way of an open process that is less restrictive and more helpful.

Benefits and Drawbacks of the Adoption Agreement


  • The advantage of the agreement is that it includes the legal transfer of the pet.
  • The points laid down in the agreement clearly ensures that the pet finds a good home
  • It ensures that the pet is not ill-treated in the new home.
  • When the agreement is signed, it makes it easy for the animal rescue centers as well as the shelters to take action against the adopters and retrieve the dog if it is not treated properly in the new home.


  • The disadvantage is that the rules are too stringent
  • It might make adopters rethink the adoption plans.

What Happens in Case of Violation?

As far as violations of the agreements are considered, each rescue organization has different policies and standards. Most of the time, the rescue organizations and the animal shelters ensure that he dog is treated properly at the new home by way of inspection or report from the vet that the dog is in good condition most of the time rescue homes decide what is to be done. In the rarest of cases, it does go to court. In such a case, it goes without saying that the rescue organization would eventually win owing to the written adoption agreement signed by the adopter.

The good news is that the animal shelters and rescue organizations are trying to create a win-win situation by way of the agreement that is much more lenient and helpful than the rigidly framed agreement that was in use earlier.