Adoption Risks and Responsibilities

We try to match dogs and cats with families according to lifestyle, energy level, exercise requirements, adult size, etc. Many of our animals are in foster care, so we can more easily determine their needs. We may suggest another pet for you if we feel the one you are interested in is not a perfect match.

The sight of a dog or cat may be irresistible to just about everybody, but the decision to adopt an animal should never be an impulse decision. Owning a pet requires a commitment from you to provide for all of your pet’s needs. Here are some issues to consider before taking that first step:

  • Are you and your family willing to make a 15-20 year commitment to your pet? You will have to provide food, supplies, toys, crates/carriers and ongoing veterinary care including possible surgeries.
  • Cats require a litter box, and you will have to clean it daily and scrub it once a week. Cats are very clean animals and they won’t go in a box that is soiled and smelly. So if you’re not keeping it clean, don’t blame your cat for going outside the box!
  • Dogs require training! We strongly suggest crate training and positive reinforcement clicker training for your dog and we may make this a requirement for certain dogs.
  • Remember that it will take your new friend a while to feel comfortable at home. Be patient, allow him or her to explore this new environment and provide lots of gentle handling and petting in a quiet, calm place.


The vast majority of animals adopted from shelters make wonderful, healthy pets. They may take a little work in the beginning, but the result can be years of joy derived from a relationship that began by offering an animal a second chance at life.

Please keep this in mind as you consider one of our homeless animals: we cannot guarantee anything about the animal including health, disposition or former ownership. When you adopt from us, you are helping to save an animal’s life. Please realize that you assume certain risks when you adopt.

Animals come to the shelter with varied histories and health problems, ranging from devastating malnutrition and disease, such as Parvo (dogs), Feline Leukemia (cats) and Distemper, to minor scrapes and cuts. Despite careful screening, occasionally an animal may develop a health problem soon after it is brought into a new home

We make every effort not to adopt an animal to a new family unless the dog or cat is healthy. However, despite our best efforts, occasionally an animal will develop an illness shortly after adoption. Please be aware that any veterinary bills you incur are your responsibility and will not be reimbursed by HSCC.

When you adopt from HSCC, you agree to take your new pet to a veterinarian within a week of the adoption for a complete health exam and any appropriate vaccinations and health care. Some vets give special discounts for animals adopted from humane socities, so be sure to show your adoption contract on your first visit. Keep your new pet separate from other animals in the household until your vet gives him/her a clean bill of health. Costs vary from vet to vet — in our area, you can expect to spend several hundred dollars on average for routine vet care for your new pet during the first year after adoption.

Many of the homeless animal’s commonly encountered medical problems can be treated easily, and in no way should discourage you from adopting a stray as a pet.

Some of the most common problems are outlined below:

Disease/Condition: Upper Respiratory (usually viral)
Signs: Sneezing, runny eyes and nose
Disease/Condition: Conjunctivitis (Eye infection)
Signs: Runny eyes, discharge from eyes
Disease/Condition: Ear Mites
Signs: Shaking head, scratching, dark brown coffee ground appearing material in ears
Disease/Condition: Endoparasites (worms)
Signs: Increased or decreased appetite weight loss or no gain, vomiting, diarrhea
Disease/Condition: Fleas and Ticks
Signs: Scratching; you’ll see fleas, “flea dirt” or ticks

Disease/Condition: Flea Allergy
Signs: Scratching, extreme hair loss, fleas

Disease/Condition: Ringworm
Signs: Circular areas of hair loss especially on the face or feet
Disease/Condition: Stress
Signs: Lack of appetite, diarrhea, hiding or defensiveness

Should your veterinarian detect a health problem with your pet during the first week after adoption, you may wish to choose to return him or her to us before you authorize further treatment by your vet. We will gladly take the animal. Simply obtain a written description of the animal’s health problem from your vet and contact us.