Adoption Guidelines

Adopting a pet: The basic requirements

In order to adopt a pet, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have identification showing your present address
  • Have the knowledge and consent of your landlord, if you rent or lease your residence
  • Be able and willing to spend the time and money necessary to provide training, medical treatment and proper care for your pet

Pets are a lifetime commitment

When adopting a pet, expect ten or more years of unconditional love. Here are some questions to consider before adopting:

  • Pets cost money and require proper nutrition, shelter, preventative pet care, exercise and social interaction. Expect licensing fees, collars, leashes, litter boxes, food bowls, etc. Will your budget allow for this and unforeseen expenses, such as vet bills?
  • Do you have the time to spend with your new pet? Walks. Play time. Grooming.
  • Is your home ready? Is your fence in good repair? Does your landlord allow pets?
  • What position does your insurance agency take regarding owning a dog?

Who are our animals?

Animals at the WAIF Animal Shelters in Coupeville and Oak Harbor are either unclaimed strays or owned animals surrendered for adoption. All animals go through a set waiting period. In the case of stray animals, the waiting period, which is five days for Island County and six days for the city of Oak Harbor, allows the owner a chance to find their pet. If a surrendered animal, WAIF will endeavor to secure as much information on the animal as is possible. Regardless, whether a surrender or stray, the waiting period allows WAIF the opportunity to assess the animal for temperament and health and to ensure their suitability for adoption. Not all pets are approved for adoption.

Our fees and what they provide

All applicable fees are disclosed on the WAIF Fee Schedule. Primary fees break into two areas–adoption fees and medical fees. Fees subsidize the cost of care provided and do not cover that cost in its entirety. In fact, WAIF relies heavily on donations to supplement the cost of services. In addition to adoption and medical fees, license fees may also be required, and are dictated by the municipal ordinance which governs your place of residence.

Included in the medical fee are health care costs. No animal leaves the shelter until altered. The requirement that an animal is altered before leaving a WAIF shelter is intended to reduce pet over-population. All WAIF animals are vaccinated, unless there is a medically necessary reason this shouldn’t be done. Vaccinations may include Rabies (when a vet is available to administer the vaccine), Distemper, Parvo Virus, Parainfluenza and Adeno 2 (Hepatitis). You will receive a health record at time of adoption so you can make note of and pet’s vaccinations and health care treatments while under WAIF’s care.

If you have found a pet that has been determined to be adoptable, you will need to fill out an Adoption Profile Form. A WAIF matchmaker will review this form and evaluate the adoption from both yours and the pet’s perspective. We want to make sure we have a good match. If there is more than one person interested, the process will be treated on a first come, first serve basis. The first person with an approved application will be able to adopt the pet.

All cats and dogs are altered before leaving the shelter. When a cat is adopted, it must leave the shelter in a carrier. If you do not own a carrier, a cardboard carrier can be purchased at our facilities. All dogs must leave the shelter on a leash. If you do not own a leash, the shelter has them available for purchase.

If you are planning to adopt a WAIF dog, and you already have dogs within your household, please be advised that before any adoption is finalized your dogs must be introduced to the WAIF dog at the shelter. This allows all dogs involved a chance to interact with each other to ensure a good fit in the home.

After the adoption, WAIF recommends that you make an appointment to take your new pet to your veterinarian within 48 hours. Participating area veterinarians will honor a free exam when shown proof of adoption (the adoption certificate). All appointments must be made within 48 hours of adoption to qualify. If your pet becomes ill or a medical condition is diagnosed, you can choose to treat the pet or return it to the shelter. We will provide a refund or exchange, if the requirements are met. If, for any other reason, the pet does not work out with your family, you can return it within fourteen days for a refund. We refund all fees.

We strongly recommend obedience training for all dogs and puppies. Obedience training will establish a foundation for your pet to become a well-behaved member of your family. One of the most important elements of responsible pet ownership is socializing your pet with people and other animals. There are countless web sites, videos and books to assist you in training and socialization.

Again, thank you for your interest in WAIF and our animals. We want your experience with our organization to be a positive one. Feel free to contact our offices if you have any questions or concerns.

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