Questions to ask a rescue group before adopting an animal

Is your rescue a Non-Profit 501 (c)(3)?
Confirm they are a 501(c)(3) organization. This means they have a tax exempt status. Download the file and use the search feature. Click here.

Michigan Non-profits only. This means they may be a non-profit, but not Tax Exempt. This is an online database.

For further information use the Melissa Database

Do you have an Adoption Contract?
Review the Adoption Contract. It should include state they will take the dog back. Most rescues do not include a copy of their contract on their websites.

Do you have and Adoption Application?
Every rescue should have a thorough application. Most rescues include the application on their website.

Do you adopt out only spay/neutered animals?
Every rescue should spay/neuter prior to adoption. When they don’t they are a part of the over population problem and may indicate a poorly run rescue.  Puppies can safely be spayed/neutered -2 pounds and 8 weeks.  Spay/Neuter deposits are a bad practice because few rescue ever follows up on them because they are too labor intensive.  The law requires shelters to spay/neuter prior to adoption. So when rescues pull from shelters they are required under law to assume the shelters spay/neuter responsibilities. Only reason for not spay/neuter prior to adoption would be some type of special needs or circumstance - not standard operating procedure.

Do you conduct vet checks and provide medical records? 
All rescues should do this BEFORE adopting out. It is a simple phone call to the adopter’s regular vet. The rescue should also provide copies of all medical records from the vet to the adoptee.

Where do you primarily receive your animals?
(i.e. Shelters, death row animals, owner surrenders, other rescues, breeders, puppy mills, auctions) If they are receiving their animals from puppy mills, auctions or rescues/individuals working with puppy mills, this is a red flag. Complete more due diligence on these rescues.

What types of animals do you primarily rescue?
(cats, small animals, rabbits, senior animals, mix breeds, purebreds, small dogs, bully breeds, etc.)
Do they seem focused on popular puppies? How many dogs do they have on Are there a lot of puppies or purebreds? Are the puppies under 8 weeks old? Read some of the dog’s profiles. Are they “Advertising” or trying to find a home for the dog. For example, advertising “intact” male sounds like they have a stud for sale.

What are your adoption fees?        
Average adoption fees for dogs are $250. Are they pricing purebreds, designer dogs, teacups higher then their mixed bred dogs? Are they charging a high adoption fee and not spaying/neutering prior to adoption.

Michigan Purebred Dog Rescue Alliance, Inc Code of Ethics for Fostering Groups.

Why would a breeder 'surrender' 60 popular purebreed puppies? This is very suspect.