Skip to Content

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?


Saturday 14th of October 2023

Much as I hate to see cats and dogs being put down or without homes, I don't like the idea of having some random come to my house and 'inspect' it, and tell me whether me and my home is 'good enough' to have a pet, and potentially reject my application (thus making the invasion of privacy as waste of my time). How do I know who these people are? They could be casing my joint and give the information to would be thieves for all I know.

Home visits don't encourage sensible pet adopters because no one sensible would let a stranger go through their home. I grew up with cats, dogs, birds and fish, my father trained greyhounds and we even had a pet food shop so I know animals. I managed to raise two children to adulthood so obviously I know something about looking after another living being. It's just insulting.

Sadly, this would be a barrier to me adopting and I would end up going to a pet shop or breeder.


Friday 24th of February 2023

I know this is an old article but yes if it's a rescue a home visit should be expected. Rescue's don't euthanize their animals your getting shelters & Rescue's mixed up. Rescue's use foster homes.Shelters on the other hand usually dont have the man power to do home checks.The rescue I'm with does home visits & reference checks including calling the person's vet.We have a very successful adoption rate. I do a home delivery.My main reason for doing home checks is to see if they actually have a fenced yard like they say they did ( thats required with us) on application, ppl lie.Also we check to be sure there isn't a hoarder issue & see how the current pet is taken care of, if there is one. Ppl shouldn't be so uptight about a home visit,it's not like we are going thru your drawers we just check the main living areas & fence. I had my very 1st person say no to a home check today & she was applying to foster with potentially adopting this particular pup. Needless to say she'll have to foster / adopt elsewhere & that's just fine by me, in the meantime this puppy will be happy living with us until her perfect home is found. To each his/her own I guess


Friday 23rd of September 2022

I agree totally. I lost my two beautiful dachshunds recently and have been looking and find it very difficult. You apply for an animal but many times their picture is taken down and you are never notified that you didn not get an animal. My babies were rescues and they both lived to be 16. I was neurotic about them and they received top notch care from my regular vet, an internist and a neurologist and no expense was spared. But I must admit I am a collector and some would say a hoarder of sorts but as a recent foster mom told me a hoarder does not mean unclean or unkempt and that is so of my apartment. My dogs graduated from room to room as my rooms became full and spend many years of their lives in one room but they never cared. They were couch potatoes, were walked regularly, fed the best food and taken everywhere. They were never left alone and went with us everywhere and never cared for by anyone else. I thought I could move everything into two rooms to "fool" the home visit since a video visit was also acceptable but I decided against that. Moving everything was a chore and I don't like to lie, so I decided against it and have decided not to adopt anymore because I have not found a shelter that does not want a home visit. I m heartbroken so if anyone knows of any shelters that exempt home visits and will also transport (I will gladly pay the expense), please let me know. Ken


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.