Adoption Procedure

APPLICATION FOR ADOPTION Prospective adopters wishing to adopt from a Society must complete the APPLICATION FOR ADOPTION form in full. The form must be screened and appraised by a trained member of the staff prior to a prehome check being undertaken. In the case of a Society operated by volunteers, two volunteers should be nominated who have experience in homing. It may be that these forms can only be scrutinised at a later time which is acceptable. If a prospective owner is a concerned and caring owner he/she will understand the importance of taking time for them and anyone else to be assessed. They are not “purchasing” a commodity. It is a worthwhile exercise to ask questions or to “interview” the applicant based on the answers given. The animal in our care only deserves the best home. The question that one needs to ask oneself is – will this animal have a future home and be treated the way I would treat my own animals? The Application for Adoption form has pertinent questions which need to be answered in full by the prospective owner. The questions have only one answer. If you are unsure as to how to handle a particular application, do not hesitate to contact your Society Liaison Officer for advice. Do not be afraid to say “I am sorry your application has been turned down”. But be honest. You may be threatened with the newspaper and be told “You would rather put the animals down”. This is correct. There are fates worse than euthanasia. Remember that people who care as you do will accept and even agree with a stringent homing policy. It is always wise to obtain details of the prospective owner’s accommodation as early as you can in the process. If the address is a flat, then you should step in with some education. Turning the potential adopter away would simply lead him or her to buy an animal from a pet shop or classified advertisement. If the address is a townhouse complex, written approval from the body corporate that pets are allowed must be obtained. Also obtain the ID number or preferably a copy of the individual’s identity document, plus proof of residence such as a letter from the owner if the property is rented or copies of Municipal or other accounts.

Chancers who secrete pets into complexes or flats compromise the welfare of the animal/s and potentially affect its long-term adoption. The animal might have to be given up. GUIDELINES FOR RESPONSIBLE PET ADOPTIONS

The purpose of an adoption programme should be to find responsible homes for animals suitable as family pets. Such matchmaking requires knowledge of both animals to be placed and their prospective adopters. It is neither a kindness to animals nor a benefit to the community to place pets in homes where they will fail to receive adequate food, water, shelter, veterinary care when necessary or where they will be allowed to roam the neighbourhood or add their offspring to the surplus of unwanted animals that already burden the community.

To assist in making as many happy “matches” as possible through your adoption programme, the following guidelines for placing suitable pets with responsible persons must be adhered to:

1 Only healthy adult and juvenile dogs and cats that are not known to have exhibited vicious tendencies or other serious behavioural disorders should be put up for adoption.

2 Animals should be placed with adults of legal age to be kept as household pets. No dogs may be placed to serve merely as guard or hunting dogs and no cats may be placed just to function as mousers/ratters.

3 No animals may be released for adoption as a gift for another person.

4 The adoption contract must clearly state that the adopted animal cannot be sold or given away to another person. The animal must be returned to the SPCA if the adopter can no longer keep it or care for it humanely. The Society must verify the adopter’s identity by means of his/her ID document or driver’s license and a copy to be retained if possible. All the information must be recorded in full on the adoption contract.

5 The adoption contract must specify that the SPCA has the right to inspect the pet’s new home and is authorised to repossess the animal if it is found to be receiving inadequate care, is being improperly housed or handled or if there is evidence that any other provision of the contract is being violated. This includes the case of a young animal and the requirement of sterilisation by the date agreed upon.

6 No dog should be released for adoption unless the adopter can provide an adequately fenced yard for the animal to exercise in, or unless it is certain the adopter will provide the dog with adequate exercise.

7 The Society must ensure that all animals adopted out will have microchip identification or suitable identification such as a collar with a tag (with an elastic inset for cats) See Rule 6.24.

8 All adult animals must be surgically sterilised before leaving the SPCA. Juvenile animals should be sterilised at 8 to 12 weeks but no later than 6 months. If however for a specific veterinary reason, the animal cannot be sterilised before leaving the Society, a Contractual Agreement as well as the full cost plus a recommended deposit for sterilisation must be paid. On sterilising the animal the deposit will be refunded. See page on sterilisation for specific details, which must be followed rigidly.

9 Only domestic animals should be placed as pets.

10 Take great care when homing certain breeds of dogs like Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Rottweilers etc . People may wish to have these animals for security reasons or for fighting. The animal may well end up chained if it is not good natured and compatible with other animals. This demonstrates the requirement for pre and post home checks. 11 Always home honestly. If a dog was surrendered because it jumped walls or if a cat had bad toilet habits, be honest with the potential adopter. The animals will simply be brought back or worse, the owner may decide to dispose of the animal inhumanely. Never lie about an animal’s age.

12 Societies should keep a file containing the names of persons who, because of cruelty convictions, previous violations of adoption contracts, etc. should not be permitted to adopt animals. This file should be kept up to date and checked before any adoption contract is made final.

13 By-laws must be adhered to. This includes stipulated restrictions on the numbers of animals permitted per property.

There may be fewer restrictions regarding the homing of felines in regulatory terms but this does not mean that felines can or should be homed without welfare checks and mechanisms being put firmly in place. Pre-home checks must be undertaken for all animals adopted from a Society. The APPLICATION FOR ADOPTION form must be completed for felines and ALL other animals. If an application is successful, explain our policies, most of which are legal requirements in terms of the Rules of the SPCA Act 169 of 1993. People, especially if they care about animals, are much more amenable when we explain the following:

 Why we charge a fee;  Why we undertake pre and post home checks;  Sterilisation policies;  Identification requirements (elasticised or quick release collars for cats);  Cost of keeping pets;  Policy on the requirement to return unsuitable animals to the SPCA. Pre and post home checks for all animals are a requirement in terms of the Rules of the SPCA Act 169 of 1993. By-laws rarely regulate how many felines are permitted per property. If a prospective adopter already has a number of cats on his/her property, you might already have an indication that there is possibly over-crowding and potential problems with neighbours. Cats need toys. They may sleep for a considerable length of time each day but they need things to play with but nothing dangerous that they can chew and swallow. Catnip is a favourite and will attract them, for example, to the area where the owner wants them to sleep. Catnip is available dried or can be planted. You can explain to prospective cat owners that any potential nuisance value of cats can be reduced by planting catnip, thereby attracting cats to this area and away from seedlings.

How often haven’t we heard people say that they would love a kitten? They have two dogs, both unneutered pit bulls who could be trained to accept the kitten. It is a case of warning bells ringing for the safety of the animal you are about to adopt but also for the animals on the property who might be mistreated (beaten or given away) if they attacked the new arrival.

People often perceive felines as “budget” pets, costing less to keep than dogs and requiring less maintenance and time. Felines may be independent but in welfare terms, the issues are similar. Veterinary costs, feeding quality foods, requisites like a warm basket, toys and bowls, plus adequate holiday care are just the basics.

RULES PERTAINING TO PET ADOPTION IN TERMS OF THE SPCA ACT 169 OF 1993

Rule 6.4
A Society shall not home a dog to a person or legal entity, which intends to or is reasonably likely to use the dog for the provision of security services. Definition of a legal entity is a private or commercial security organisation, which shall include: – Companies , SAPS, SADF, Prison Services and any other service which uses dogs for guarding/protection services.

Rule 6.6
A Society shall sterilise every animal as specified in the Operations Manual published by the Council from time to time. In those ca ses where the animal is too young for the surgical procedure the Society shall make contractual arrangements for the future sterilisation of the animal when it is old enough on the basis that if the person to whom the animal is homed does not comply with t he contractual obligations, the animal shall be repossessed.

Rule 6.10
A Society shall not home a dog if it knows or ought to know that the dog will or might reasonably be expected to be kept chained or caged.

Rule 6.11
A Society shall not home any anima l, except for domesticated felines, on any property which is inadequately fenced, gated and equipped for that animal.

Rule 6.13
Any Society that homes any animal to areas outside their area of jurisdiction must sterilise such animals as specified in the Operations Manual before releasing them to their new owners notwithstanding the provisions of Rule 6.6.

Rule 6.20
Pre and post home inspections shall be carried out physically by a trained individual for all species of animals adopted by a Society. All as pects of the possible adoption shall be inspected and recorded, i.e. property, housing and feeding of animal/s, present animals and capability and knowledge of new owner to care for animal/s adequately. Furthermore animals shall not be adopted into areas w here there are no animal welfare organisations and/or SPCA that are able to provide this service and are in agreement with carrying out these inspections on a regular basis. This rule shall be in conjunction with Rules 6.10 and 6.11 respectively.

Rule 6.21
No exotic animal may be homed by any Society, with the exception of rabbits, rodents, b u d g e rig a r s , c a n a rie s , c o c k a tiels a n d g old fis h a n d o n c o n ditio n t h a t a d e q u a t e e n ric h m e n t a n d appropriate facilities are provided to promote the welfare of the animal. In respect of all other exotic animals this provision shall not apply where the animal may be relocated to a sanctuary approved by the NSPCA, which relocation shall be subject to such conditions as may be necessary to promote the welfare of the animal conc erned. Where this is not possible and it is reasonably practical and/or possible to do so, such animal may be repatriated to its country of origin. Where neither of these alternatives is available then the Society shall with written motivation and details of the proposed environment refer the matter to the NSPCA for a decision on whether the animal shall be homed to an individual under specific conditions or whether the animal shall be humanely euthanased by a veterinarian/appropriate skilled person with th e requisite knowledge, skill and experience.

Rule 6.24 Prior to homing an animal, including owner claimed or stray, the Society shall ensure that it is micro – chipped. In the event that the Society is unable to do so for financial reasons or reasons that are not practicable then the humane alternative methods of identification should be adopted. In the case of a dog or cat that cannot be micro – chipped, it must be fitted with a suitable collar and identity disk prior to it leaving the SPCA.

NOTE: All animals must be micro – chipped where there is no suitable alternative .

THE RIGHT PET FOR THE RIGHT OWNER It is only by questioning and a process of elimination that one can successfully match the right pet to the right owner and even then there is always a chance that things won’t work out. If you have done your groundwork and given the right advice, then the fault won’t be yours. Follow your instincts and with diplomacy lead the prospective owner into making the right choice.

Never prejudge a situation and remember that you are in control. If you have to say no, do so firmly and politely and don’t enter into arguments. Make suggestions as to the kind of pet suited to the prospective owner and always promote those pets desperately needing homes.

Encourage the whole family including other pets to visit the kennels to see if all are compatible. You may not permit animals out “on apro” for no matter how short a time.

Animals must be assessed with other species if going to a mixed species home.