Predictably, people with my same job title object to “free to good home” signs next to boxes of kittens in grocery store parking lots. And while I agree that’s not the way to assure a loving home for a homeless animal, it’s not because of the word “free.”
I’ve never heard a convincing argument that dollars do anything to guarantee a caring home. That caring home is best guaranteed, instead, by the dedicated efforts of our staff and volunteers who know our animals so well and work closely with potential adopters to make perfect matches.
So if PHS/SPCA doesn’t charge an adoption fee because it helps animals find good homes, why do we? Simple. Because nonprofits like us still have the same operating expenses as regular businesses. While the overwhelming majority of our budget comes, thankfully, from donations made by people who wish to support our life-saving activities, we charge an adoption fee to help pay the PG&E bill, buy dog and cat food, help raise the hundreds of thousands of dollars of veterinary medical expertise and supplies we use each year to help over 6,000 animals.
But sometimes we just have to throw caution to the wind, hope the gods of philanthropy will smile upon us, and work to clear the shelter! In fact, “Clear the Shelters” is the theme for this coming Saturday, July 23, when, along with other San Francisco Bay Area animal organizations in collaboration with NBC-TV, we host an Adopt-A-Thon. We’re extending our hours (10 a.m.-6 p.m.) and we’ll be decked out in festive carnival attire (plus cotton candy) and we’re waiving our adoption fees.
Sadly, I don’t have the authority to waive the license fees (yell at the county and cities, not me) and for some few dogs a $90 mandatory training fee remains. Last year, we found homes for 65 homeless animals during our one-day Adopt-A-Thon, and we’re hoping to beat that now. Stop by!
Ken White is the president of the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA