Many rescue groups in the Midwest include a clause in the agreement that they claim is legally binding. The clause prohibits an adopter from giving the dog to anyone else and indicates that one must return him/her to the rescue group if one must relinquish the dog. Is this legal? When I adopt a pet, he or she becomes my responsibility, emotionally, financially, etc. I have never given away a pet and am financially able to cover extraordinary medical care and have done so (e.g., hip replacement, chemo, radiation, 8 years of several prescription eye drops for severe dry eye). I do not want to sign an agreement with this clause in it as I do not believe the rescue groups can continue to claim rights.
Adoption agreements (not just in the Midwest) often state that if the adopter wants to give up the adopted animal, the animal must be returned to the rescue/shelter. This gives the rescue/shelter an opportunity to screen potential adopters. However, rescues/shelters sometimes cooperate with an adopter who wants to re-home an adopted animal and knows of a person interested in adopting the animal. An adoption agreement is a contract. Just as with other contracts, people who don’t want to sign the contract can walk away and not sign it. Potential adopters can look elsewhere for an animal with the hope that the adoption terms will be more acceptable to them.
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