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Is it necessary for shelters to require home visits?

I’m going to state my case briefly, and then get out of the way to hear your opinions. Please share them in the comments below.

Is it necessary for shelters to require home visits?

No. I do not believe shelters or rescues should require home visits. As long as we are killing several million healthy dogs and cats annually due to a “lack of homes,” we should ease up on our adoption requirements.

I understand where shelter workers are coming from when they require home visits. They don’t want the dogs to end up in abusive homes. However, the condition or appearance of a person’s home will tell you nothing about the quality of care the pet will receive in that home.

Not only that, but the idea of a home visit sounds scary to potential adopters. While those of us in the rescue world understand home visits are usually no big deal, the general public does not know that.

The idea of a stranger inspecting their home is alienating to adopters, and it gives them a reason to obtain a pet somewhere else.

Home visits should be used in extremely rare cases such as if the dog or cat requires unique medical care or if the dog has unique behavioral issues. Home visits should also be used if there are any red flags on the adoption application that can’t be clarified in any other way.

Even in these cases, the term “home visit” or “home check” should be avoided. Instead, the shelter should say it will do a “home delivery” and bring the pet to the adopter. This sounds much friendlier.

So what do you think?

Is it necessary for shelters to require home visits?

Should shelters require home visits?


Monday 9th of May 2022

I think you are right for a lot of people. At least about the shelters making it hard for people to adopt. We live in a townhome in a nice area, but of course as many people living in townhomes, it’s because I can’t afford a house with a yard. We go on walks everyday though. When my son turned 10 he begged me for a dog. I decided to surprise him for one on his birthday. We went down to the local animal shelter because I felt it was the best choice to save an animal rather than buy from a breeder. My son got to meet a dog and fell in love. We get to filling out the application, signed off on the home visit, and then I see at the bottom they require a fenced in back yard. I explained to them my townhouse community has a dog park and trails and I’m a stay-at-home homeschooling mom so I can assure them we will go on daily walks, but there was no budging. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my son so distraught. Also sad for the dog because he was 7 years old and bonded right away with my son. 90% of the neighbors in my community have dogs…. So what did we do. Go buy a dog from a breeder for my son. Just made me sad because I always felt like you should always adopt rather than shop but we were literally turned away.

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 13th of May 2022

The pup you bought from a breeder is lucky to have you! Congrats!


Thursday 24th of February 2022

I am part of a parrot rescue.. Home visits are integral for us because of the many dangers that can kill a bird (many types of cookware, candles, smoke of any kind...etc). Our home visits are to ensure the home is safe. When I adopted my dog, I had a home visit, and it was fine. By making me jump through this one small hoop, they ensured that I was adopting for the right reason.. I genuinely cared abt the dog, and wasn't going to do something nefarious -which happens WAY too often. The home visit also allowed for the dog I was adopting to meet my other pets. During a home visit, the visitor can also let the person know of any dangers they see (not to disqualify but to educate).. that's a good thing.


Monday 11th of October 2021

Yes, I think they are VERY important. I have had awesome application and then get to the home for a meet and greet and have walked into filth, kids treating animals with disrespect and the parents doing nothing and other animals trying to attack or going after my foster. I have also been there and seen 1 SO not want the pup and other pushing for it, which doesn't work out well. I went on a home visit with a puppy once and she pooped in the kitchen and the husband stated yelling at her and the wife was very stand offish and when I tried to give her the puppy to hold, it was like she was disgusted and didn't want to touch the puppy. Well that puppy was adopted by someone else and is loved on and is doing great. I have also had not so great applications on paper but incredible meet and greet/home visits and they are some of my favorite adopters. My first adoption I didn't do the home visit. He was a semi feral puppy. She came to pick him up from me and an hr later he got loose from the backyard when she left him alone. I always check out the yard for any issues and then point them out. If I see any issues in the home, I point them out as well. I have heard horror stories of home visits from other fosters, and I will continue to do my home visits and meet and greets. In 4 yrs I have only once been told they didn't want me in their home and I moved onto the next app. During covid, we were doing home visits in the back yard. I will drive up to an hr away to make sure my fosters go to the right home. I will always do home visits/meet and greets.


Friday 4th of February 2022

Any of those things could've been solved by a meet and greet with the dog. The filth could not, but it's easy to clean up for a home visit. And I am definitely not meeting a stranger in person during a pandemic.


Sunday 1st of March 2020

I do not agree with the home visit requirement that certain rescues impose. I know some have commented that the visit is no big deal; however for me, it is not the home visit itself that is concerning, it is the requirement of it. It is like being invited to a party - I want an invitation if even I can't go. Don't require the visit for applicants, open it up to all and decide after if you need this. I personally think it is an invasion of privacy but to each their own. I get my rescue dogs at the SPCA or Animal Control. They don't require a home visit. Most people who want a rescue dog do not have nefarious intent and just want to save a dog and have family companion.

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 1st of March 2020

Yes, I feel the same way.

Tina Mayer

Wednesday 9th of October 2019

I think it incredibly thoughtless that I don't even hear back from rescue groups. They just disappear from your life. For me, it's clearly age discrimination. I have very good dog resume but am 70 and that tips the scales to anyone 10 or more years younger. The mantra is that 'we are incredibly busy' and that seems to excuse the need for common courtesy. I'm not asking for a long handwritten letter rejection letter. A simple e-mail will do. Something along the lines of we found a better family, old girl, and hope you will consider another one of our rescues in the future...if you're still alive, that is. Packing my bags for a visit to the Lancaster puppy mills. They don't care if my walker has a thousand miles on it, they just want my $$$$. The chances of a dog with health or temperament problems is equal to that of a rescue. Signed, Disgusted in Maryland

Angela D Keene

Monday 23rd of December 2019

We just are not all the same. Have you guys considered how dogs are treated during their "rescue"? What we do today is insanity. We take these dogs out of cages, yes they get to see a vet, but then we immediately re-cage them in an even more frightening / loud situation in the name of rescue. We are trying to change that, for the dogs. All I can say is that we can't do what we are trying to do irresponsibly . It's only about the adoption because it's all about the rescue. With enough safe, responsible fosters, a lot of unnecessary trauma and pain could be spared. But we're on about "the inconvenience of it all". It breaks my heart. If it's THAT big of a deal to you that nobody ever see your home, then yes I guess you do need to go to a puppy mill. ME - I'm not in it for all of that, I could care less what you have at your home unless you have 20 animals we didn't know about. I care about the DOG I am TRYING to find a foster for. A home for. By all means if the biggest part of that process to you is the stupid home visit... I just think it's a really silly reason to say you won't give "that" dog a home. Oh no I won't go through them they want to come inside of my house. What are you living in - Fort Knox??? Your "stuff" is so much better / special than anybody else' "junk"? I hope some of this has just been for the sake of argument because I can't wrap my mind around making a ten minute deal SO intrusive, SO unreasonable that you snub your nose at a dog you would otherwise love. Don't get it. Ten minutes .. and you ainna doin it. Ok then.

Lindsay Stordahl

Thursday 10th of October 2019

I can understand your frustration!