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Buying or Adopting a Pet

Buying or Adopting a Pet - The Beacon


By: Susan

Buying or Adopting a Pet

Summer time is a common season for adopting or purchasing a new pet. Shelters are overly full from unsprayed/neutered animals and pet stores and breeders are often fully stocked with young puppies and kittens for sale. Regardless of whether you adopt or purchase, the BBB has a few pieces of advice, for finding a furry new friend.

Check out the Business, Breeder or Adoption Organization with the BBB. If you are purchasing from a breeder, ask if they are a member of an AKC (American Kennel Club) or CFA (Cat Fanciers’ Association) affiliated club and contact the club directly to verify membership and learn of any complaints. You can also check out a BBB Business Review on businesses and breeders, or a charity review for nonprofit organizations at .

Avoiding the “Puppy Mill”. The best way to avoid the “Puppy Mill” is to know as much as possible about your puppy’s past.  That is not always easy when adopting pets, but there are steps you can take to reduce the risk. If you purchase from an individual or breeder, ask for any paperwork that might be associated with the pet, including registrations, certifications and veterinary records. Keep in mind that some paperwork may not be available, until after you spay or neuter your pet, unless specifically purchasing for show or breeding. In this case, extra fees or steps may apply.  If adopting, ask if your pet was a stray or surrendered, and if surrendered, ask if any owner information was obtained. This information may be limited, but nonetheless valuable, should health issues arise.

Know the city and county regulations for adopting/owning a pet prior to the adoption or purchase. Often these regulations can be found on your local animal control’s website or on your city government website, within animal ordinances.

Crossing state lines with an animal may require a little extra, in time, cost or paperwork, so you’ll want to inquire before you make the trip. Special health evaluations, additional paperwork or other regulations may be in place for these purchases and adoptions, and take a little extra time, so you’ll want to plan accordingly and not assume that your chosen pet will be available for immediate possession. Speak with the breeder, business owner, organization, or see if any special regulations are in place, in your area.

Know what medical checks have been done prior to purchase or adoption and consider having a pet “Vet Checked” prior to a commitment. This can help minimize possible risk to other animals and people in the home, as well as avoid unexpected health concerns and medical bills, upfront.

Know the terms for return. Just in case the pet you choose does not get along with other pets or children in the home, you’ll want to know the conditions under which you can make a return.  If special circumstances exist, you may also want to consider requesting a trial period, prior to commitment. Make sure to follow any owner agreements or requirements, while the pet is in your care.

Talk to a trainer on tips for your best fit with breeds and ask if temperament testing was administered. Some shelters, businesses and breeders have already temperament tested their pets, before putting them up for sale or adoption. If not, you may wish to ask  if this service is available or find a local professional to help, should this service be of interest.

For more tips you can trust, visit

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Susan is Director of Media Relations for the Tri-State Better Business Bureau. She is a contributor to the blog as well as to the online News Center, found at Susan also helps to produce an annual accredited business recognition banquet.