Lower prices would increase the rates of adoption of animals in need

While many people want to own a petand who wouldn’tthere can sometimes be significant financial hurdles in the way. Lowering the cost of pet adoption would make it easier for everyone to get the animal cuddles they want, thereby improving the quality of their lives.

In 2015, over 80,000 cats and 35,000 dogs were accepted into shelters across Canada. According to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, the majority of these animals are strays. Out of all of those strays, only 29 per cent of stray dogs and five per cent of stray cats were returned to their owners. The primary means that animals get out of a shelter is through adoption. Forty-eight per cent of dogs and 57 per cent of cats that arrive in a shelter will be adopted out.

While adoption is the best, and most common, way for animals to leave a shelter, it isn’t cheap. For dogs, the fee can be up to $200, while adopting a cat can be up to $100, depending on the age. Certainly not affordable rates for everyone looking to get a pet, especially those of us on a budget.

This is tricky, because shelters need to have some form of stable income to ensure high quality service and adequately provide for animals until they’re adopted. However it would make adoption more common and a lot easier if it were more affordable. Making adoption more affordable doesn’t have to be a long-term project. It really could be as simple as offering deals at certain points in the year to lower the cost.

I’m not sure where the new income would come from, and I certainly don’t want to impoverish animal shelters to make adoption more affordable. But adoption does need to be more accessible—owning a pet can do wonders for a person’s physical and mental health.

A common worry about lowering the cost of adoption is that it would lead to more people adopting pets, as it becomes an easier process, then regretting it and abandoning the animal. There is nothing that really can be done to ensure that won’t happen, but there also isn’t a strong system of checks in place in our current system. If the only thing keeping people from abandoning an animal they’ve adopted is the amount they’ve invested, then those aren’t really the people who embody the positive traits of pet ownership.

Making it more affordable for people to adopt animals would increase adoption rates, and benefit society overall. Even if you don’t adopt, imagine how much better your day would be if you were able to see a few more dogs on your walk to class.