Preparing to Adopt

Adoption is a really big commitment, that is greatly rewarding. Second chances happen every day at the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society. We help find homes for thousands of animals each year, thanks to help for adopters and donors! We want all adopters and their new pets to have a great adoption experience. 

When you are preparing to visit the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society adoption center, remember that you won't be able to access the kennel areas until after you are pre-screened. Our shelter took on the pre-screening policy in April of 2016 and have seen great results in the animals' behaviors and health. This also gives adopters the chance to see the animals true personalities and not an overwhelmed animal, desperate for privacy. Don't worry though, we have over 400 volunteers helping around the shelter every day to make sure every animal receives special attention.
To make sure you are prepared for the pre-screening process, make sure you bring the following with you:
  • A photo ID showing your birth date (you must be 18 to adopt).
  • A piece of mail as proof of address. This can be a utility bill or other bill that shows your name and the address you currently live at. Personal mail cannot be considered as proof.
  • Must bring resident dogs to the shelter for staff-led dog introductions before any dog adoptions can be processed. 
    • Keep in mind that all resident animals in the home must be up-to-date on rabies vaccinations, which is required by law
  • If you rent, bring your landlord's information. We cannot accept brochures or lease copies that list pet policies; we must speak with the landlord directly. 
    • If you live with parents, bring your parent's information. We cannot accept signed notes; we must speak with the parent directly.
    • If you live in school housing, bring the housing director's information. We cannot accept brochures or signed notes; we must speak with the housing director directly.
    • If you live in a mobile home park, bring your lot manager's information. We cannot accept brochures or lease copies that list pet policies; we must speak with the lot manager directly. 

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. You should also consider:
  • 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.