Adoption Procedures

Homework First!

The adoption process is one that should begin before you come to CCHS to meet animals. Research the type of pet you are interested in so that you are familiar with the requirements of meeting his/her basic needs. All animals will need a proper diet, access to water, medical (veterinary) care, physical exercise, and mental stimulation. Different species, and different breeds within species, will have different needs in all of the aforementioned areas. You can find a lot of great information on pet care on the internet or at your local library.

Research is very important when considering adopting a dog. There are many breeds and types of dogs to choose from, and dogs come in a wide variety of sizes, temperaments, and energy levels.  When considering different breeds of dogs, think about your lifestyle and what type of dog would compliment your style.

  • Do you run 5 miles at-a-time a few times per week and want a dog to run with you?
  • Do you have children and want a dog that will be tolerant and playful with them?
  • Are you a couch potato looking for a companion to lounge around with?
  • Do you have time to raise a puppy?
  • Or would an adult dog adapt to your work schedule more quickly?

If you rent your home, there may be restrictions regarding the type of pet(s) you can have in addition to weight, height, and breed restrictions.

CCHS requires you to have permission from your landlord before bringing any pet home.

Making a Choice

The decision is made! You want a pet and have a good idea of the type that would best suit your lifestyle. You reviewed our adoptable pets on-line and decide to head to the shelter for a better look.

You are welcome to visit the shelter and view the pets available for adoption anytime during regular adoption hours. Allow at least one-to-two hours to complete the adoption application procedure. It may take longer, depending on how many animals you wish to get acquainted with, your previous experience with pet care, and the number of other visitors at the shelter. (The busiest times are Friday after 3 pm and Saturdays)

On the door of each animal's enclosure is a card bearing the pet's name and I.D. number, breed, age, sex, neuter status, reason for relinquishment, and other basic information. If you would like more detailed information about an animal, it is helpful if you provide the I.D. Number to the Adoptions staff member assisting you, as all animals are identified by their unique number in the shelter's software system.

Once you have found an animal that you are interested in adopting, a CCHS staff member or volunteer adoption counselor will bring him/her to a "Get Acquainted Room" where you can interact with each other.  If you prefer to take a dog outside to get acquainted, we will ask for your car keys and hold them behind the counter. 

Please do not allow children under 18 to handle leashed shelter dogs!  Dogs can be unpredictable and surprisingly strong.  For the safety of your children, the animals, and other shelter visitors, we ask that you abide by this rule.

CCHS often requires all members of the household to meet the animal before the adoption will be approved and finalized.

The “Adoption Pending” Sign

When you see an “Adoption Pending” sign on an animal’s cage it simply means that someone has applied to adopt that animal. Because any number of things can cause an adoption to fall through, we will continue to accept additional applications until the animal leaves the shelter with his/her new family.

When we receive multiple applications for the same animal at the same time, we do not automatically adopt the animal to the first applicant. Instead, the placement is made based on what is in the best interest of the animal. The decision will be based on what we know about the animal and adopter, and our best effort to make a good match that will last for years. In other instances, the decision might be based on logistics, such as which applicant will be ready to take the animal home soonest.    

The Paperwork

If you decide to apply to adopt an animal, you will be given an adoption questionnaire to fill out. At the same time, an orange  "adoption pending" sign will be placed on the pet's cage card.  (See section above, "The 'Adoption Pending' Sign")  

After you have completed the adoption questionnaire, a member of the Adoption Staff will review it with you.  The staff member may ask you additional questions about your home and lifestyle in order to make sure that the animal you've chosen will be a good fit for you/your family.

After your discussion with staff, the adoption will either be denied or tentatively approved. It then can take 24 - to - 48 hours to fully process your application. 

If you are applying to adopt a dog and you already have a dog living at home, we will offer you the opportunity to bring your current dog to the shelter for a supervised dog-dog introduction by appointment. In some cases, a supervised dog-dog introduction will be required.  

Think It Over

If your application is tentatively approved, you will be given some written material to review. The written information is designed to help you prepare for your new pet and avoid some common pitfalls.

When your adoption is approved, a "go home" appointment will be made for the soonest convenient time following the animal's final medical examination by the CCHS Medical staff. 

In adopting a pet you are making a 10-to-20 year commitment. Take your time throughout the adoption process and stay open to the advice and experience that our Adoption staff and volunteers have to offer. Our goal is to place our animals in a permanent home so that they never again experience the trauma of separation from their families.

Going Home

When you arrive at the shelter to pick up your new pet, you will be given an adoption contract to sign. At this time, the adoption fee will be collected, which covers vaccines and, in the case of dogs and cats, a microchip.  CCHS accepts Master Card, Discover, and Visa as well as cash or checks. If you are adopting a cat, you should bring a cat carrier for safe transport home. Inexpensive cardboard carriers are available for sale at the shelter. All dogs must leave on a leash and cats must be in a carrier.

An Important Note

If an animal you have applied for is adopted to someone else while your application is pending, we will notify you and be happy to help you select another animal to adopt.  We will keep your application on file for one month. Your application can be applied toward a different animal, though you must meet the animal before we will approve the application.

You are free to withdraw your adoption application at any time during the adoption process. While we want to find homes for the animals, we do not want you to feel any pressure to adopt. If you decide that you are not prepared to meet the needs of the animal you intended to adopt, you are doing the best thing you can do by canceling the adoption before you take the animal home.

The Champaign County Humane Society thanks you for considering adopting a shelter pet. We receive wonderful animals every day! If the right match is not here for you on your first visit, come again. You will be surprised at the diversity of animals we receive. Our goal is to help you make the right match so you can enjoy each other's company for many wonderful years.