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ReHoming Fees: What Are They & Are They Justified?

Wow… There are people are all over the internet “giving away animals to a good home.”  But in the process, many of them are charging, what has been termed, re-homing fees.  What exactly are these fees and why are people, who are giving away animals, charging them?

Re-homing fees have become the new standard among people who are “giving away” pets.  This is extremely evident on classifieds sites such as Craig’s List, where individuals post ads to find a new home for their animal, usually a dog or cat.  Many (most, if not all) of the posters claim to ask for this fee to

ensure that the pet goes to a good home.  Others claim the fee is to make certain that the person responding is serious about obtaining the pet.  There is yet another group that claims to use this fee only to offset previous costs associated with the animal.  Hmmm…

I have certainly seen a range in these fees.  They tend to go up to around $350.00.  Does the word “breeder” come to mind?  Now, how exactly is charging someone $75, $100, $250, $400 or more going to ensure a good home for a pet?  In my opinion, it does not.  Get real people… Either you want to find someone who will truly take care of your pet, or you want to get rid of it and make a buck at the same time.  As a matter of note, I’ve seen several people pay big bucks for an animal, and as soon as the newness wore off, that pet was treated horribly. Paying a fee ensures nothing!

I am by no means saying that most or all of these people are breeders.  That just isn’t the case. However; it is true that many breeders and scammers use CL and similar sites to list their animals for sale, but under the guise of a re-homing fee.  After sending an email to the person requesting information about a specific animal, you’ll receive an email which will undoubtedly make the true motives clear.  That “small re-homing fee” turns into an admission of all of the puppies, and even other animals or items, that are For Sale.  Even if you are willing to purchase an animal from a breeder or rescuer, can you really trust someone who is clearly deceptive and unable (ahem… unwilling) to follow the rules?  Many of these people are quite unsavory, so BE AWARE!  I must add here that Craig’s List uses the following disclaimer in its Pets section to practice CYA medicine: no pet sales or breeding please — rehoming with small adoption fee OK ]   

Bottom line: If you want to charge a “re-homing” fee, that’s your choice, but don’t be a lying boob about it. Be honest about what you’re doing. If you’re selling a bunch of puppies, own up to it!  BUT… If you’re going to ask me for money, have the paperwork to back it up.  That’s right!  Paperwork– As in “papers”.  As in vet bills–from a vet–on actual vet letterhead!  And if I can’t tell the expenses are for the pet I’m considering, game over.

For the record, I have respect for TRUE animal rescuers that spend their time and money trying to save lives and find good homes for animals.  I used to do that myself when I saw an animal in need.  Unfortunately, even some rescuers go overboard in the fee department, and in many other areas, and that ain’t cool.  To be honest, some (that I’ve met) act like Nazis, completely lack morals, and remind me of backyard breeders. Ick!

Also FTR, I don’t deal with breeders. There are too many awesome animals at shelters that need love and a good home, and those babies are just waiting to shower someone with love!  If you truly look at price, for the same money or A LOT less, you can get an awesome animal that has been spayed/neutered, immunized, and possibly even micro-chipped at a shelter.  Pure breeds, too!  And, just in case you didn’t know… Animals know when they have been saved, and they thank you for it for the rest of their lives.  Can you think of a better place to spend your money?  Just sayin.

Recently, I was reading several pet ads that were posted on Craig’s List.  Interestingly enough, I came across the following post that was written by a very enlightened Jason Harris:*

Reply to: comm-966470336@craigslist.

Date: 2008-12-21, 7:45PM CST
How is it that people honestly think they need to charge you a rehoming fee that
covers all costs that they have put into said pet. If you can no longer take care of said pet, due to illness, job loss, moving or whatever, what really gives you the right to charge for said pet.  I mean if I sold a vehicle for whatever amount of money and it is only worth whatever amount of money, does it really mean I can collect the money I put into the vehicle on top of that?  Like all oil changes, or routine service
procedures, new tires or maybe a major repair. I’m not trying to compare pets to vehicles, but I think the principle here would be and should be really simple.  Take your time and investigate the situation you may be putting your pet into.  You have the ultimate choice of saying yes or no to whom ever may be inquiring on your pet. Don’t tell everyone a rehoming fee applies if you don’t have said pet gone by a certain day and then say it will be going to the pound if not rehomed (that doesn’t make a lot sense???).  Sometimes I think alot of people charge a fee to clear their conscious to make them feel like they’ve done the right thing or just to try and make a quick buck, but maybe I’m looking to far into that.  Ultimately I think everyone wants the best for their pet but it is just as hard on the pet as it is for the owner looking to rehome.  I know breeders aren’t supposed to sell here, I mean post here, but some of these rehome fees are absolutely crazy.  Just one persons opinion and questions. I know they have another board on here to post these comments, but I couldn’t keep from sharing.
Merry X-mas and a Happy New Year from Everywhere!
& Have a safe holiday season….

Kudos Jason!  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Be Well, And That’s What’s On My Desk.

* Mr Harris gave me permission to provide his full name.

9 responses

  1. Roger

    People who justify their demand for money “to ensure the animal goes to a good home.” But often times it is their way of pocketing some extra cash. Some argue that the fee is to offset their expense of feeding and veterinary care. However, since they were the owners, these are basic pet care expenses fall on them anyway. It is not right to pass that on to the receiving “individual,” who is doing the original owner a favor by assuming care & responsibility of the pet. Even if the original owner FOUND the animal on the roadside and decide to nurture it back to health, nobody FORCED them to take such responsibility. Their only humane obligation is to turn the animal into animal control. The paying of rehoming fee to someone not part of a non-profit organization is highly discouraged.

    The best way to adopt a pet is through your local non-profit animal welfare organization such as the SPCA, bona fide rescue groups, or humane society. The adoption fee is generally higher, but you will get an animal with a better-known & understood medical & behavioral history. They would have already been neutered/spayed. And you will get the support in caring for the animal from the group for the lifetime of your newly adopted pets. The adoption fee you paid (which is actually a donation) helps these organizations pull more homeless & abandon pets from animal shelters, provide them with necessary medical care, foster homes, and training so they can be adopted out to a loving & permanent families. So in adopting from a non-profit animal organization, you know for certain that the money you gave them are also helping out other less-fortunate animals in the community and that you’re doing your part for their welfare.

    Instead of “rehoming fee,” which = selling price, prospective Craigslist adopters should…


    The truth is that 99% of the time these rehoming fee proponents of will shut their door in your face. Most of the non-profit animal welfare organizations will aid owners in search of new homes for their pets. But people eager to get rid of their pets refuse to turn to them because they don’t get money this way. And this is a real shame. The very people/organization receiving your pet are doing YOU a favor, not the other way around. If anything, you should to pay THEM for caring and finding a home for the animals you turn your backs on (regardless whether it’s due to your fault or not–but more often is).


    February 16, 2015 at 2:29 am

  2. Suzanne Runner

    Hi, I loved your post which was recently featured in the Modesto area CL.. Now that being said I would like to add to your information. One thing that has been missed here is that not only do people post that are having to re home there pets- and of course back yard greeders- but also many reputable rescues and some concerned citizens that have taken in homeless pets out of the goodness of there hearts and have spayed or neutered, vaccinated and maybe even trained these pets for the enjoyment of an new owner that actually has an open space for that animal. Some rescuers are 501c, and some are not.. Some people give every last dime they have to help animals that had no other chance at life but to be picked up by them. These people by no choice of their own need to ask for a recovery fee to cover the Vaccines/Vet/and Spay costs.. A lot of times this is upward to $300. A spay for a small dog in my area is around $200 and Vaccines are as a package about $50, maybe a Microchip $40 .. and $10 ? Maybe the food given to the dog while they loved it back to health. Is that really unreasonable ? I don’t think so. If people wanted cheep dogs they couldn’t find them at the Pound for sure- its at least $200 adoption at our pound for a female dog! Why doesn’t the pound give away free dogs , or lower the price to fit what people consider a ‘low’ adoption fee ? One reason is because they need to be compensated, the revenue helps them get extra money for the shelter, and another reason is that the people are getting a live animal and by paying for it should not take for granted the animals welfare- the dogs also come spayed/neutered vaccinated and Microchipped.
    Although I would rather an Rescue get the money for an dog that is about to be homeless, I do have a problem with Rescues that prey on Owners that are posting dogs on CL. They will take cute small dogs- away from possible owners- and have the dog rehomed sometimes within a short amount of time for the same adoption fee as other dogs they had to labor for. If they where not rescues- this would be called Flipping.. kinda like flipping houses.. or horses brokering. This is one reason so many people are flagged off CL.. people post an animal that is super cute, they are contacted quickly by a prospective ‘rescuer’ and flagged so that only that one person could possibly get the animal. Its sick ! Where is the option to choose an owner if your constantly harassed because you have been flagged every week ? These frustrated owners will either go somewhere else or just repost until they can find an owner.. or be tricked.. whichever comes first.
    CL is an very political, complicated place for pet owners.


    July 28, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    • Anita

      Thanks for commenting, Suzanne! I apologize for the delay in responding. I’ve had surgery, and I’m concentrating on my recovery.

      If you happen to see this response, I’d appreciate it if you could post a link to where you saw this blog post. Now, to your comment:

      Like I’ve said, I have no problem paying a fee to reputable people/rescuers, but there’s a difference between them and certain breeders or rescuers. Unfortunately, many backyard breeders use CL, and are asking for $200-$600 or more when they have done NOTHING to take of the animal other than feeding it, and even that is suspect. Many reputable people do use CL and other sites, and if they are truly trying to save animals by rescuing and taking care of them, then a fee would help them continue their good work, and I support that.

      In my area and surrounding counties, animals can be spayed or neutered for FREE. There are also many low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination options available. Adoption fees are also much lower here than what you’ve mentioned, unless it is a pure breed. Personally, I won’t pay breeder prices at a shelter or rescue just because the animal is a pure breed. That is irrelevant to me. They are not spending more money on services just because of the breed. So, again… A rescue charging a reasonable fee is not over the top, and if they can show a proof of what they paid for the animal I’m looking at, I’d be glad to consider/reimburse it. There are too many crooks out there, and I will not take anyone’s word on what they have paid. What I would pay a “reputable” breeder isn’t even up for debate because I would never buy from a breeder. NEVER!

      I would also like to say that paying a fee is evidence of nothing IMO. It does not prove that a person will take better care of an animal than someone who doesn’t pay a fee. People choose to pay or not pay a fee for many different reasons. I can usually do enough research to find out who is really taking care of animals, and who is trying to make a buck the easy way and at an animal’s expense. On the other hand, what a person charges, and how they communicate with people, says a lot about their character.

      I agree with you about the rescuers that flag posts. It is completely ridiculous, and it’s just further evidence of their lack of character. A simple conversation or two with them can usually weed them from the reputable rescuers. It’s a shame that so many people fall prey to them.

      Thanks again for adding to this conversation!


      July 30, 2012 at 11:39 pm

  3. Odie

    I can truly relate to this ”rehoming fee” not being what Pet owners are saying it is for! I recently answered a add for an older pet that the owner wanted a set amount of money to cover toys house bed!… the fee was about the same as if i had adopted a pet from the animal shelter still very interested i said i needed to talk it over with my family i was told ok but hurry because another family was interested first come first serve! so knowing i could not pay the fee i did not inquire again. the next day they contacted me asking if i was still interested and stated they where not worried about the money just a good home and again said first come first serve i did not reply right away i wanted to talk it over with family they contacted me a few more times with : So.. and ? and well.. i then replied yes and set up a time to Meet and pick up the pet. everything seemed fine till we where getting in the car and i was asked for some money i replied no i had not planned on a fee due to being told they where not worried about money. they said ok maybe if i had anything i could drop it by in the following days. that night at midnight i started getting text after text saying i had X amount of days to come up with X amount of dollars they blamed to have made a police report and that i committed a felony. i could not believe it! well i still have the pet and was harassed one time more butt stood my ground! draw the line.. you want to feed you pockets or place your set in a loving home? anyways the pet made a great addition to our family!


    July 27, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    • Anita

      Thanks for commenting, Odie! I understand your situation well. Your specifics haven’t happened to me, but I have seen it happen to others. Scammers! Scammers! They are trying to make a buck, but they use the term “re-homing” so they don’t seem like breeders. Many of them also use bullying or scare tactics to force people to pay up. Other than paying at a shelter, I have never paid a “re-homing” fee, and I never will. These people say they want to make up or get back the money they spent on this or that. Well, I say finding a home for the animal stops their expenses. Plus, they never paid $200-$500 for bowls and food. They made the decision to spend whatever they spent, and it isn’t my job to reimburse them. I guess I would be okay with very recent vet bills for shots, etc as long as they had valid receipts, and I could speak with the vet. With my last 2 “adoptions” with private parties, they originally asked for re-homing fees, but waived them because they were convinced the doggies would be in a good home (which they are). I’ve always made it clear that I won’t pay a fee, and they can call me if they want me to take the animal. Scammers don’t call back. LOL! GOOD FOR YOU for standing your ground, and I’m very happy to hear that your baby made a great addition to your family!


      July 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    • Suzanne Runner

      That sounds very selfish on your part. Here someone cared and loved, and raised an animal for your enjoyment- and you couldn’t compensate them for their loss and for your own enjoyment by giving them your ‘guarantee’ of care via an adoption fee.. sick.. Maybe they where not concerned with the full amount but you where concerned about YOUR happiness with this new pet !! Shame..
      And why write ANYONE without FIRST consulting your family… irresponsible.


      July 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      • Anita

        I believe your comment here is a little extreme, Suzanne. It is clear the two parties did not have a “meeting of the minds” where payment is concerned. It also appears that these people were trying to pressure Odie by continually calling her, and changing the “purchasing” terms. The obvious lie that “others were looking, so HURRY– It’s first come, first serve” is clear. If that were true, they wouldn’t have kept calling her. There was also probably a “lets get her here, and then ask for the money” scenario going on.

        Only Odie was actually in that situation, so only she knows what red flags she saw. Also, calling her irresponsible and selfish is mean and unwarranted on your part. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and I LOVE having varied opinions here. But, name calling is over the top, and beyond unnecessary. As I said in a previous comment, paying a fee ensures nothing. Are you saying that I’m a bad owner or person because I never paid a fee except at shelters? After several conversations, the fees were always waived because they truly believed I would provide a wonderful home for my pets, and I have.

        And consider this: Anyone that says, “I’m charging a re-homing fee because I want to MAKE SURE the animal is going to a good home.” is full of it! How is paying money going to prove anything? In 99% of exchanges, whoever shows up with the money first, gets the animal. Period. The general belief is that if someone pays a lot of money for a pet, they will treat that pet well, but that just isn’t always the case. I have seen people pay 100s of dollars for a pet, and after the newness wore off, the poor animal was treated like crap. Sadly, it happens all of the time.

        Lastly, the sellers didn’t do anything for Odie’s enjoyment, and it is no one’s job to compensate people for their “loss” in this type of situation. If they truly loved the animal, there is no compensation for giving up that animal. We also don’t know whether they raised that older animal, it was given to them, or if they found it somewhere. Other than a “bed and toys”, what were they trying to get compensation for? That’s the question, and I hope it was vet care. I am hoping those people were not scammers or backyard breeders, but asking for a lot of money (and we don’t know the actual amount) for an older animal seems (just seems) a little suspect to me. One never knows.


        July 31, 2012 at 1:56 am

      • Roger

        I feel you are the one that is selfish and ought to be ashamed of yourself. Who forces anybody to take in homeless pets in the first place? We do so to gain the personal satisfaction of helping at-risk animals in need even if we have to make some personal and financial sacrifices of our own. If you or anybody honestly feel that you are entitled to recoup for the cost of caring for these animals, then you obviously have extrinsic motives for doing so, whether you realize it or not.


        February 16, 2015 at 2:13 am

  4. Dani

    Thanks for following my blog 🙂


    February 26, 2009 at 3:26 am


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