The Life-Saving Impact of Fee-Waived Adoptions

Fee-waived adoption promotions are a common practice at Asheville Humane Society, as well as rescues, shelters, and humane societies nationally. However, the term “fee-waived” adoption is often stigmatized by assumptions that a lack of adoption fee correlates to a lack of care and love for the adopted animal.

Numerous studies have proven just the opposite. Fee-waived adoption promotions allow Asheville Humane Society to:

1)      Garner relationships with community members should businesses or individuals want to sponsor adoption fees,

2)      Promote responsible pet ownership,

3)      Reduce animal lengths of stay, and,

4)      Increase adoption rates.

At Asheville Humane Society, all potential adopters are required to meet one-on-one with Adoption Counselors to ensure a happy and comfortable fit for the animal, as well as the family. Adoption Counselors reserve the right to refuse adoption to any individual who cannot guarantee the Five Freedoms. The Five Freedoms are an animal welfare practice that ensures that animal has freedom from hunger and thirst, discomfort, pain, injury or disease, fear and distress, and has the freedom to express normal behavior. These guidelines are central to our mission and expression of humane circumstances for animals in our care and those that will be adopted into the community.

Though the concern of a lack of attachment and care for pets who are adopted without adoption fees is valid, research from the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science concluded that eliminating fees did not devalue animals in the eyes of adopters. People who adopted with waived-fees had the same level of attachment as those who adopted with regular adoption fees.  


Fee-waived adoptions save lives. They allow senior animals and animals with special needs to find homes, and free up funds to spoil a new furry family member right off the bat. Attached is a study from Maddie’s Fund that illustrates post-adoption outcomes for animals who were adopted during fee-waived events.