When Friends of the Animal Village sponsors adoption fees at the Little Rock Animal Village so that adoptions are free or reduced price, we always hear criticism from folks who worry that people with bad intentions or people who can’t actually afford a pet will adopt. We understand those concerns, and they are concerns that are always in the back of my mind personally.
When it comes to fears about who adopts pets during these events, please know that while the adoption fee may be waived, the rest of their adoption application process at LRAV isn’t. Adopting out pets as a municipal shelter like the Animal Village is a little different than rehoming one yourself. People who intend to harm an animal aren’t going to provide a copy of their driver’s license and an entire page of personal information to the law enforcement agency charged with protecting those animals (LRAV is the home of Little Rock Animal Services aka Animal Control) just to get one for free, when they can go on Facebook any day of the week and find dozens of animals being rehomed for free with little to no questions asked, like the examples shown in the gallery below. There are dozens of groups like those on Facebook so it took me no time at all to find these. When there are those other sources out there for free animals, someone who has bad intentions isn't going to get a friend or relative to go through an adoption process like LRAV's for them either. Why go to all that trouble when they don't have to?
The adoption application process at LRAV is even more involved for dogs who would be banned in certain cities based on their physical characteristics. This is for two reasons. First, there are many cities in central Arkansas where these dogs are banned and would be seized and likely euthanized by animal control if they were caught inside city limits. Second, these are by far the most abused and exploited dogs out there, so you can't be too careful. The last thing they want to do at LRAV is adopt out a dog into a potentially dangerous situation.
The staff members at LRAV care so much about the animals in that shelter, and that care extends beyond the time they spend there. They want only the best forever homes for them, just like you.
Regarding whether an adopter can actually afford the pet they are adopting, we find that the overwhelming majority of people who adopt pets during these promotions are people who have been thinking about getting a new furry friend for a while, and no adoption fee just gives them an incentive to go ahead and do it and to get them from the Animal Village rather than another source, since there are so many. Studies like this one from Maddie's Fund have been done on this and they’ve found that the cost of acquiring a pet is not a predicting factor in how the pet will be cared for. They found there is no statistically significant difference in the quality of life of pets based on how much was paid to adopt or buy them. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with people on these free adoption days where they’ve said they were excited because no adoption fee meant they could spend more on toys and treats for them when they stop at the pet store on their way home. Click here to read a great article from Animal Sheltering Magazine about free adoptions and the history behind them.
Plus as I said, people can go on Facebook or Craigslist any time and find dozens of free pets in their area. All I did to bring up the search results you see below is google "craigslist little rock" and then click on the "free stuff" link under the first result. That's it. One search term and one click and I was looking at ten animals being given away for free in my area. If people want a free pet there are a lot easier ways to get one than through LRAV, and they will.
The catch is that those pets often aren’t vaccinated or spayed/neutered. Pets adopted from LRAV are, so these promotions also serve to help slow down the cycle of homeless animals being born, many of whom end up in shelters, and it helps reduce the number of animals getting sick because they weren’t vaccinated and either being surrendered to a shelter or dying.
All that being said, if LRAV could save every one of the roughly 4,000 animals a year they take in without doing adoption specials like these, they would. The sad truth is that when we sponsor these free adoption events, it is because the alternative may be euthanasia for many.
We do this because lives are on the line and these free adoption events can and do save a LOT of them.
Thanks for taking the time to read this in an effort to understand why and how LRAV does free adoptions. As you can see, the well-being of the animals in their care is not something we or the staff at the Little Rock Animal Village take lightly. I hope I’ve addressed any concerns you may have had. If you have additional concerns or questions, feel free to email me or give us a call at 501-725-0250.
Friends of the Animal Village