Rejection is frustrating. Whether you’re applying for a loan, asking for a date or even trying to adopt a pet, that getting-the-door-slammed-in-your-face feeling is tough.
Though it’s natural to get defensive, take a moment and consider why your application was denied.
Usually, it’s a decision made for the benefit of the animal.
1. Unsuitable Housing
As a dog person, I have a hard time imagining my life without a pup, but I also understand that, to keep one, I have to provide a good home.
When looking to adopt a dog, make sure:
- Your landlord or building management allows pets
- Your homeowner’s insurance covers your new dog
- Your house is large enough (if you’re adopting a big dog)
- You have a yard or a nearby park
Dogs have unique needs. Certain pups may require a fenced-in yard, while others are content with a daily walk on a leash. In either case, the shelter wants to know the details of their animals’ future home lives.
2. Intent to Breed
Maybe you’re looking for a new family member, a best buddy to go hiking with or a kitten to keep you company. But if you’re adopting for breeding purposes — whether to keep the babies or sell them — the shelter staff may give you some nasty looks and an emphatic “no” on your application.
3. Incompatible Pets in the Home
When adopting out animals, shelter staff are concerned about the harmony in the pet’s new home. They might ask that you bring in your current dog to meet the potential adoptee — just to make sure they get along.
If you have a cat at home, pick a pup who’s used to a little kitty companionship. And if you’re bringing home a new cat, choose one who is ready to live with other furry friends.
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4. History of Neglect or Cruelty
This is a no-brainer: If you’ve been convicted of animal cruelty or neglect, or had your pets seized by cruelty officers, you’ll probably be denied adoption.
5. Lying on the Adoption Application
A young applicant once listed his housing as an apartment complex across from a college campus. The campus was near my house, so I was familiar with the apartment and its pet policies (no pets allowed). The “landlord” he listed didn’t match the city’s property assessment information, and the applicant wasn’t willing to supply me with a copy of his lease. In the end, he walked away, and his application was filed — with all of his lies marked in red ink.
The moral of the story? Be as honest as possible. Shelters have many resources to verify all the information you provide. They aren’t looking for a reason to reject you. They’re just looking out for the animals’ well-being.
6. Adopting an “Outdoor Dog”
Most shelters are pretty adamant about this: Dogs are not lawn ornaments. They are social animals who deserve to be a part of your family.
You don’t have to let them up on your couch, but if you’re planning on chaining up your adopted puppy in the yard, don’t expect that adoption to go through.
7. Intent to Declaw
If you’re thinking of declawing your new cat, a shelter may not let you adopt. Countless studies and articles have declared the practice as cruel treatment.
If you want a declawed cat, discuss the decision with the shelter staff. Be open and honest. There may be an already-declawed cat available for adoption.
8. Unsuitable Pet
Try to find an adoptee who matches your lifestyle. Get an active dog if you like to hike. Find a cat who enjoys children if you have kids.
If you try to take home a pet who doesn’t jive with your household’s way of life, your adoption could be denied.
9. Adopting a “Guard Dog”
Adopting a dog for the specific purpose of threatening other dogs or people is a huge red flag on adoption applications. Shelters adopt out companion animals, not weapons.
10. History of “Recycling” Pets
Shelters keep lots of records, and they also communicate with other shelters. If you have a history of surrendering and adopting pets, that doesn’t look good.
Remember, shelters are in the business of finding forever homes for their animals. Know that you can provide a suitable, loving home to a potential pet before you apply for adoption.
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