The SPCA do not give away animals. We do not sell animals. Animals are adopted from SPCAs. We are not playing word games by saying this, nor are we taking a leaf out of the politically correct book. There really is a difference. Yet SPCAs battle to put this message across. Members of the public still make well-meaning approaches offering “to take a dog off your hands” or to advise, on hearing that there is a fee involved, that “I can pick one up free from an advertisement or friend.” Any responsible person would ensure that his or her animal was identified, dewormed, fully vaccinated, sterilised … the list goes on. There is a real cost involved which can be very high at prevailing retail rates. Either this is recognised as the actual cost of a “free” pet or clearly the pet’s welfare is being severely compromised from the start.

  When adopting - why are there costs involved?

All animals adopted from SPCAs are actually free. However an adoption fee is required. The adoption fee covers the cost of necessary procedures including vaccinations, sterilisation, dipping against ticks and fleas plus identification. Avoiding any of these procedures is irresponsible and frankly not putting the animal first. These are essential to the well-being of the animal. The National Council of SPCAs took a quick survey amongst SPCAs to find out what they charged to adopt a dog. Fees vary, depending on whether the SPCA in question has an in-house veterinarian or whether the services of a private veterinarian in the area are used. Other slight variables can be seen, for example, whether microchip identification or a collar and tag system is used.

Please note that ALL SPCA adoptions include sterilisation. This is mandatory and non-negotiable.

The prescribed rate (South African Veterinary Association) for the sterilisation of a medium-sized bitch could be in excess of R1 000. The SPCA movement expresses appreciation to veterinarians who contract to or assist individual SPCAs in this regard.

  Why we have rules on adoptions?

The officially adopted Statement and Policy of the SPCA movement is to: “discourage the keeping of domestic animals by those who do not have the facilities, time, financial means or level of interest necessary to ensure a satisfactory standard of care and husbandry for their pets.”

An inability to pay the adoption fee may be indicative of being unable to pay for quality food, veterinary fees or the general facilities required for the adequate keeping of an animal. It is a necessity for an SPCA to carry out a pre-home check before a dog is permitted to go to a new home. This is not red tape but an essential procedure to ensure that the home is adequately gated or fenced – and to check out the future facilities for the animal. SPCAs are very careful about the homes their animals go to. Criteria for adoption are stringent but they are in the interest of the animal.