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Adoption Policy




The Kingston Humane Society’s adoptions policy has been drafted to achieve a number of goals. First and foremost, our policies help to ensure the successful adoption of our animals into loving, forever homes. Second, we want to educate potential pet owners on what it means to provide ‘responsible pet ownership’. Third, our policies attempt to ensure a good match between the animals and the owner, through pre-adoption screening/interviewing. This process helps to reduce the return rate on the animals, thereby reducing their stress and improving their quality of life.

While we realize there are many choices for new pet parents when deciding where to find their next special companion, we must help speak for those that cannot speak for themselves. Thus, we must ensure that people who want to adopt an animal, are truly prepared for the responsibility, and the financial commitment that will be required to care for that animal.

We encourage you to read the adoption policies, and hope that you understand that they are in place, not to frustrate you and make the process more difficult, but to ensure the highest level of compatibility to make your pet’s adoption successful and forever.

The Pre-Qualification Interview

All potential adopters will have to fill out the pre-qualification questionnaire. KHS staff will review the questionnaire and conduct an interview with the potential adopter to ensure that he/she will be able to provide adequate care for the animal, and that they demonstrate a reasonable understanding of basic animal husbandry.

This questionnaire is used to match the adopters lifestyle with an appropriate companion, obtain personal and veterinary references, and to screen for potential conflicts that would violate our adoption guidelines.


There may be a waiting period to adopt an animal, allowing for the KHS staff to verify information given on the adoption questionnaire, such as veterinary references, landlord’s policy to allow pets etc.

If, after reviewing the questionnaire, the KHS staff are not able to complete the adoption, you will informed of this decision within 48 business hours of completing the questionnaire and interview. THE KINGSTON HUMANE SOCIETY RESERVES THE RIGHT TO REF– USE ADOPTION OF ANY ANIMAL, TO ANY PERSON, FOR ANY REASON.

By completing the pre-qualification questionnaire you are consenting to allow your references to provide information to us that will allow us to verify the information you give on the form.

Breach of Contract

By signing our adoption contract you are entering into a contract with the Kingston Humane Society. Failure to comply with the terms of the agreement may constitute breach of contract and invoke this breach of contract policy. In particular, failure to spay or neuter an adopted animal as per the terms in the adoption contract may result in you having to surrender ownership of the animal to the Kingston Humane Society, or comply with conditions imposed by the society to rectify the breach. If additional conditions are imposed upon you by the Kingston Humane Society, and those conditions are not met, you will have to surrender ownership of the animal to the Kingston Humane Society at the sole discretion of the executive director.

If an adopter is deemed by the Society to be in breach of contract, the Executive Director may declare the adoption null and void, and the adopter would be required to immediately turn over ownership and possession of the animal to the Society.

Temperament Evaluation

All dogs have their temperament evaluated prior to being offered for adoption. This testing is only one tool that we use is assessing the adoptability of our animals.



Any known animal behavioural concerns will be communicated to you. As well as any classifications given to the animal (such as no children under 12, or suitable for first time pet owner). These are for reference only, and may not prove to be accurate. Pets in shelter situations often exhibit different behavior than those in home situations.


Canine and Feline Policies

  1. Sterilization
    1. All dogs and cats adopted from the KHS must be spayed or neutered, either before being offered for adoption, or after the adoption at the owner’s expense.
    2. If the animal is not sterilized at the time of adoption, the owner must make the appointment for sterilization, and notify the Society of the details within 10 business days of the adoption date.
    3. The owner of the animal grants permission for the veterinary clinic to release details that will allow the Society to confirm the appointment details, and that the surgery took place on the stated date.
    4. Failure to have the animal sterilized within the stated period can, at the humane society’s discretion, either, i) result in the adopter being declared in breech of contract. The adoption is rendered null and void and the owner must immediately turn over ownership and possession of the the animal to the Society, or ii) the owner may be allowed to keep the animal after paying the Society a deposit of $100.00 within 15 days. This amount will only be refunded to the adopter if the animal is subsequently sterilized within 60 days. Failure to sterilize the animal in this new 60 day period, or to provide the deposit within the 15 days of the request, will be deemed a breach of contract, the adoption is rendered null and void and the owner must immediately turn over ownership and possession of the the animal to the Society, or iii) the owner may be allowed to keep the animal without a deposit if a mutually agreeable arrangement is made. Failure to meet the conditions of this new arrangement will be deemed a breach of contract, the adoption is rendered null and void and the owner must immediately turn over ownership and possession of the animal to the Society.
    5. Unaltered animals will be given a $50 discount voucher that can only be used at participating clinics, towards the cost of a spay or neuter surgery
    6. Only a letter from a licensed veterinarian, stating that it is not medically advisable to sterilize this animal, will allow the adopter to forgo meeting these conditions.

      The adopter agrees to abide by all laws and by-laws related to owning and caring for the animal. Annual dog and cat licenses are required in the City of Kingston.

      The animal shall be kept in the possession of the adopter’s immediate family for a minimum of one year and be humanely treated for the animals life. The adopter will not permit the animal to be used for any experimental or vivisection purposes whatsoever.

  2. No adoptions to anyone under 18 years of age. Proof of age and address is required. If you are a renter it is strongly advised that you bring a copy of your lease, or a letter of permission from your landlord, stating that you may keep the animal on the premises.

  3. Once the animal is in your possession, and the adoption agreement has been signed, you are solely responsible for the care, welfare and medical costs incurred as a result of owning this animal. We do not knowingly adopt out sick animals. It is also good practice to segregate new animals from others in your household until you have had the animal examined by a veterinarian.

  4. It is strongly recommended that you take your animal to a veterinarian for a complete check-up upon completion of the adoption, and sign up for any free pet insurance trials that may be offered to you as a result of this adoption. Some viruses can incubate for up to 14 days. If your animal becomes sick in the first 48 hours after adoption, please contact the Society to determine if treatment or a return is necessary.

  5. If you must return your animal, you have 30 days from adoption to do so. The Society does not give refunds, but you will be given a credit for the original adoption fee paid, and will have 1 year in which to apply for adoption of another animal or the credit is forfeited.

  6. The KHS does not encourage pets to be given as gifts. Gift certificates are available for those people that wish to give the gift of pet ownership to someone, while allowing them to participate in the selection of their pet.

  7. No one may adopt more than 2 animals at a time, and no one may adopt more than 1 unsterilized animals. Proof of sterilization of other animals in the household may be required.

  8. We will not adopt and animal to anyone exhibiting signs of intoxication from drugs or alcohol.

  9. Potential adopters must not have a documented history of animal neglect or abuse. They must not have unreasonable expectations of the animal being adopted.

  10. The KHS does not condone or allow unnecessary cosmetic surgery (such as; de-clawing of 4 paws on a cat, de-barking, tail docking, ear cropping), and such surgeries cannot be performed on an animal adopted from us unless prior written approval from the Executive Director of the KHS is obtained. For cats, we are also against the de-clawing of the front paws as a solution to scratching. If an adopter wants a de-clawed cat we encourage them to choose one that is already de-clawed, and then ensure that the cat lives exclusively indoors. Scratching is a natural habit for cats. They can be trained to scratch in appropriate places. Veterinarians and pet supply stores are excellent resources for owners looking for products designed to train cats and protect your belongings. The same goes for dog related behavior such as barking.

  11. The KHS will not adopt out cats, whose owners want them to be outside only pets. For the cats safety, we believe that cats are better suited toward being an indoor pet. We believe that cats should only be outside under their owners supervision and control.

  12. The KHS will not adopt out dogs, whose owners are wanting them to be outside only pets. We believe that dogs benefit from Human companionship and that this bond enhances their quality of life. Consideration will be given as to the dogs breed, physical condition and temperament when adopters would like the animal to spend significant amount of time outside. In general, preference will be given to adopters who will spend more time interacting with their pets. Exceptions to this policy are unlikely, and will only be made in extreme situations, and only with the consent of the Executive Director.

  13. There may be a waiting period to adopt an animal, as determined on an individual basis. For the safety of the animals, proof of up to date vaccinations of the other animals owned may be required. Home visits may also be required, and would be conducted at the discretion of the Executive Director. Staff will request a home visit when they deem it necessary based on their extensive experience with screening applicants.

  14. If any of the Terms of Section 1. Sterilization, are not met, or the Society deems the health or well-being of the adopted animal is in immediate danger, the owner agrees to turn over ownership and possession of the animal to the Kingston Humane Society, pending a full investigation. The Society may, at its discretion return the animal to the adopter after such investigation, and may or may not require the adopter to pay any and all reasonable fees associated with caring for/treating said animal.

  15. A person who has previously failed to comply with the conditions of a previous adoption, including but not limited to spaying or neutering of a pet will not be permitted to adopt another animal.


  17. Final approval of the adoption is at the sole discretion of the Executive Director.

  18. Adoptions are not final until the required fee(s) has been paid. Fees are subject to change without notice. Fees may vary from time to time, as in; special promotions, multi pet discounts, etc. At the discretion of the Executive Director.

Small Animal Policies

Adopters of small animals (domestic rabbits, rodents, birds) must have suitable cages or enclosures to house them.

The adopter must have sufficient knowledge or experience to responsibly care for the animal

The KHS strongly urges adopters of domestic rabbits to have those animals neutered or spayed. The KHS will refund the adoption fee paid for domestic rabbits upon presentation of documentation from a veterinarian showing the animal was sterilized.


Under no circumstances should two of the same species of small mammals be housed in the same enclosure, unless the adopter has taken the animals to a veterinarian for sexing, and they are the same sex, or one or both are sterilized. Even then it is important to determine compatibility if they are to be housed together.

The KHS believes that rabbits should not be adopted to homes where the rabbit will be kept solely outdoors. If the rabbit is to be kept primarily outdoors, adopters must provide adequate housing, care, and companionship, and ensure that the animal is brought indoors during extreme weather conditions.

Adopters of small animals may only adopt 2 or more animals of the same species if the sex of the animals is known, and is the same, or if one or more of the animals has been fixed. If the sex is not known, the adopter should adopt one animal and have it sexed or altered as required to comply with this policy. Then return to the shelter with proper documentation for the other(s).

Adopters must fill out a pre-adoption questionnaire and read the care sheets provided by the KHS staff to ensure they are able to meet the needs of the small animal.


Adopting a pet from a Satellite Adoption Centre

Various local animal care businesses have 1 or more of our shelter animals at their place of business. These animals are up for adoption, and can be adopted directly from their businesses or adopted after completing the paperwork at the shelter. Please check with the satellite centre to see which way they offer adoptions.

Our standard adoption policies still apply; however, there are some additional points that you should be aware of. Satellite adoption centre staff does not work for the Kingston Humane Society and are mandated to refer certain adoption matters directly to the Kingston Humane Society. They are given a more narrow set of policies that they may adopt under. This is necessary because they do not have the benefit of the experience in screening applicants that the staff at the KHS does. There is a special Satellite Adoption Centre Questionnaire that is used to interview potential adopters.

In the event that the person reviewing the form is not able to complete the adoption they MUST refer the adoption to the adoption coordinator at the Kingston Humane Society. Please understand that this referral may be for many different reasons and the satellite staff member reviewing this form is not allowed to discuss those reasons with you. This is to protect our satellite centre staff from trying to explain policy or decisions that they have no control over. Staff from the Kingston Humane Society will get in touch with you within 2 business days if your adoption cannot be completed at the Satellite Adoption Centre.

We appreciate the exposure that the satellite centers bring to our Society, and ask you to help make sure the experience is beneficial to them.

Returns are not allowed to satellite centers. After the adoption, any questions or concerns should be directed to the Adoptions Coordinator at KHS.

These Policies are subject to change. Last revised February 2014.

Looking To Adopt? You Will Need This!

To adopt a pet from the Kingston Humane Society you will need to print the following document, write out the current date and sign it.

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