Adoption Policies

Adoption Policies
These policies are set forth by the SFAHS Board of Directors. If you have any questions, please contact our executive director.

 Potential Adopters…

  • Must be pre-screened to visit the adoptable animals.
  • Must be 18
  • Must provide a valid photo ID
  • Must provide proof of address (i.e. utility bill)
  • Landlord/Property Management Phone Number – We must speak with the landlord directly and cannot accept any brochures or paperwork about pet policies.
  • Must bring resident dogs to the shelter for staff-led dog introductions before any dog adoptions can be processed.
  • Must have all resident animals in the home up-to-date on rabies vaccinations. ( It is city law to have your pets vaccinated against rabies) 
  • May not adopt animals for another person.
  • Must spend a minimum of 20 minutes with an animal before any adoption will be processed. The 20 minutes must be completed before we stop adoptions for the evening (30 minutes before the closing hours listed).
  • Will be asked to leave the humane society property if they harass, threaten or harm any of the animals or staff.


  • Pre-screens all potential adopters before they have access to the adoption kennel rooms. SFAHS does not have open visitation. For more on this policy see our visitation policy page.
  • Does not accept deposits to hold animals. 
  • Adopts animals on a first-come, first-served basis, as long as it is a good match.
  • Can keep an approved pre-screened application on file for up to 30 days. If you are still looking after 30 days, give SFAHS a call to extend your application expiration date. 
  • Completes all adoptions the  same day you meet the animal, so be prepared to take your new family member home with you the same day you adopt. Please note that we may not be able to complete adoptions the same day you fill out your application, as there may not be appointments available. 
  • Will only deny an application for a justified reason. If you feel your application was wrongly denied, you are more than welcome to contact our front office manager or executive director to discuss your application.
  • Has the right to refuse any adoption.

Adoption Fees 

The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society’s adoption fees are based on an animal’s species, age, breed, temperament, and physical condition. Some animals are more desired by adopting families: small breed dogs and puppies, purebred dogs and puppies, some purebred cats and kittens, etc. These animals may be designated as ambassador pets and their higher adoption fee will help to provide quality care for all the other animals at the SFAHS. Cat adoptions range between $25-$100. Dog adoption range from $50 - $200. Small animals prices range from $5 - $200 depending on the type of small animal. Thanks to our generous donors we are able to keep adoption fees lower than the cost of care!

Dog Costs of Initial Care Include:
  • Vaccinations: DA2PP & IntraNasal Bordatella
  • DeWorming with Strongid or Panacur
  • Nail Trim
  • Some Adoptions may include Rabies Vaccinations
  • Microchipping with National Registration
  • Flea Treatment with Frontline
  • Most Dogs Will Already be Spayed or Neutered
  • Free Owner Pet Guide and Coupons
  • Seven Day Medical Exchange Policy
  • Free General Health Exam at one of 87 participating Vet Offices in SD, IA, and MN
  • 30 Days FREE Shelter Care Pet Insurance (available only if you have an email address)

Cat  Costs of Initial Care Include Include:
  • Vaccinations: FVRCP
  • FeLV and FIV Screening
  • DeWorming with Strongid or Panacur
  • Nail Trim
  • Some Adoptions may include Rabies Vaccinations
  • Earmite & Flea Treatment with Revolution
  • Microchipping with National Registration
  • Most Cats Will Already Be Spayed or Neutered
  • Free Owner Pet Guide and Coupons
  • Seven Day Medical Exchange Policy
  • Free General Health Exam at one of 87 participating Vet Offices in SD, IA, and MN
  • 30 Days FREE Shelter Care Pet Insurance (available only if you have an email address)
  • Pet Carrier to get your furry friend home


Other Household Members

  • Other members of your household should meet the pet you are considering before adoption, and approve of you bringing a new pet home. 
  • Allergies
  • Fear or discomfort associated with animals
  • Expectations in sharing pet care responsibilities

Landlord approval
If you rent your apartment, townhome or single-family home, you will need to check with your landlord before adopting to be sure you are allowed to have a pet and can afford any required pet deposits. Ask your landlord about any breed or size restrictions for pets as well. Pets are sometimes returned because of lease restrictions and/or landlord disapproval. This can be an expensive lesson as adoption fees are non-refundable. Plus, being returned to the shelter can be a stressful experience for the animal. 
The adoption counselors will need the contact information for your landlord that matches the information we may already have for them and need to speak with them before you are able to complete an adoption. Bringing in a brochure or lease agreement does not suffice.


Consider the initial and on-going costs of a new pet. These costs may include:

  • Adoption Fees
  • Food
  • Grooming
  • Obedience Training
  • Pet Supplies
  • Licensing
  • Veterinary Care. These costs can easily amount to $400 or more within the first few weeks of adoption.
  • Any Boarding

Other Pets

SFAHS recommends you do not immediately expose your existing pets to a new pet in the home. Consider how you will manage an isolation period and be sure that all existing pets are up-to-date on vaccinations and other routine health care before bringing a new pet home.
If you adopt a dog and have a dog, you will be required to do a dog introduction, led by SFAHS staff, at the shelter before the adoption will be completed. Any other pet introductions will be done by you in your own home. View suggestions here on positive pet-to-pet introductions.
Not all pets are instant friends and may require temporary or intermittent separation to ensure a smooth transition. Some pets are happy to share their home within a week or two, others may take a month or longer to adjust. Consider this commitment before bringing home a new pet, as we see too often returns come in within a day or two, because they were not getting along with the other pet. It will take time.

Time Commitment
All dogs and cats making the transition into a new home will need time to adjust to a new family and may require housetraining and behavior training to correct any issues. If you aren't prepared to invest time into teaching your new pet appropriate behavior and helping the animal adjust, you should not adopt a pet. Positive reinforcement-based training is recommended, and you can see suggestions here on how to use this in your home. Dogs and cats may live 12 to 15 years or more, and providing them with basic needs, medical care, and loving attention is important until the very end. Your thoughtful consideration, preparation, and commitment will help ensure a happy home for your new pet. 

Pet Supplies
Before bringing your dog, cat or critter home, make sure you have the supplies to properly care for the newest member of your household. From toys and leashes to treats and litter pans, our retail area has merchandise available for purchase.

Other Common Adoption Questions 

Does SFAHS do a background check for adoptions?
No, the SFAHS does not perform federal background checks for adoption. 
Does SFAHS require a home visit for adoption?
No, the SFAHS does not perform home visits prior to adoption.
When do adoptions stop each day?
Adoptions stop 30 minutes before close. It is required that adopters must spend  20 minutes with an animal to complete an adoption that day.
How much time is required to be spent with an animal before adoption?
You must spend a minimum of 20 minutes with the animal you are considering adopting. This is not a requirement for some small animals. If you have any questions about this, please ask our front office. 
Can I take my pet home the same day I adopt?
Yes, it is required to take your new furry friend home the same day as adoption.
Can I get on a waiting list for a certain breed?
No, the SFAHS does not keep any waiting lists. Our website is live Monday - Friday with all of our adoptable animals and is updated throughout the day, so please watch check back often.
Due to the high volume of requests, we are not able to keep waiting lists. Adoptions are first come, first served as long as it is a good match. 
What is the process for putting animals up for adoption?
After each animal has completed their required holds that are determined by the city ordinances, they are put into an evaluation stage. Our trained staff goes through a series of tests and evaluations with the animal, determining what would make the perfect home for each pet. They are also reviewed by our medical team, to make sure they are happy and healthy before going up for adoption. Once they are available for adoption they will be photographed and added to our website and placed in the adoption room kennels. 
Can I bring my dog in to meet another dog?
Yes. SFAHS requires dog introductions that are led by our staff before we will adopt out a dog to a home where another dog lives.
Can I bring my cat in to meet a cat?
No. The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society does not do cat-to-cat introductions. 
Can I bring my dog in to meet a cat?
No. The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society does not do dog-to-cat introductions. 
Can I bring my cat in to meet a dog?
No. The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society does not do cat-to-dog introductions. 
Do you provide small animal cages when I adopt?
No, we are not able to provide a cage when you adopt a small animal. We do provide a cardboard carrier for you to get your new friend home but do suggest having a cage already purchased.
Do I need to bring or buy a kennel when I adopt a cat?
You will be provided with a cardboard carrier to get your new cat home. We also sell carriers in our retail section, which 100% of the proceeds goes to the animals at the shelter. You are more than welcome to bring your own carrier as well.
Do I need to bring or buy a leash and collar when I adopt a dog?
A leash and collar will be required when adopting a dog. You may bring your own, or you may purchase from our retail area, where 100% of the proceeds benefit the animals at the shelter.
If I see a pet I like can you hold it for me?
We do not accept any holds or deposits on animals.
What is FeLV/FIV Screening?
FeLV stands for Feline Leukemia Virus, and FIV stands for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. SFAHS provides a blood test to screen for both of these conditions.
Does SFAHS provide public vet services?
No, the SFAHS is not able to provide any public vet services.
Does SFAHS provide public spay/neuter services?
No, the SFAHS is not able to provide any public spay or neuter services.

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