How to adopt an animal

If you have seen an animal on our website that you are interested in adopting, you can contact the centre directly or fill out an application form online.

If you have completed a “Perfect Match” form taken off the National RSPCA website, we will need to ask you to kindly complete our form as well.

It is our procedure that all completed Animal Application Forms are checked by Centre management and assessed on suitability of the pet you’re interested in adopting.

At any point during the adoption procedure, the adopter or the centre reserve the right to cancel the adoption/reservation.

Reservation process

An animal is only reserved once an application has been accepted and a successful meeting with the animal has taken place.

If you are invited to reserve an animal following a successful meeting and application, the Centre staff will discuss with you the full history of the animal, its assessment/s and any additional information that may help you enjoy a successful rehoming process.

Once reserved, you will be asked to contact the Centre by noon the following day (or the day after you have viewed a fostered animal) if you wish to proceed with the adoption. If confirmation has not taken place the Centre reserves the right to cancel the reservation.

From time to time, if it is in the animal’s best interests, we may take a second reservation from another party interested in rehoming your chosen animal. We will only contact the second reservation if you decide not to rehome, so that we can continue the process of finding the animals their perfect match.

Meeting your pet

If you are not sure which is the right animal for you, feel free to come to the Centre during our opening hours to see what animals we have available and to seek advice from members of staff, or alternatively you can call us.

For dogs, please be aware that you need to be at the Animal Centre before 2pm to be introduced to the dog on the same day. For any applications that are received after 2pm, we will make an appointment for you for another day.

In exceptional circumstances, where a potential adopter has to travel more than 50 miles to view an animal, we ask you complete our online application form before visiting the Centre.

If the animal is out on foster, we will make an appointment for you to view the animal either at the fosterer’s home or at the Centre.

Home visits

Once the correct information has been supplied, the completed application form will be sent to the Home Visit Co-coordinator who will be in contact with the adopter within the next 7 days to arrange a suitable time for us to visit.

Alternatively, the centre can request videos/photos of your home/accommodation instead, this can be quicker than waiting for a volunteer home visitor.

If receipt of required information has not taken place the centre reserves the right to cancel the reservation.

Over the period of reservation, the adopter is welcome to visit the animal after arranging an appropriate appointment with the centre.

The Rehoming centre will contact the adopter to give the report of the home visit, advise amendments, cancel adoption, arrange further visits or make an adoption date.

What can I expect on adoption day?

At point of adoption, the adopter will complete RSPCA adoption paperwork, microchip transfer of ownership, receive all previous health information including vaccinations, worming and flea treatments and health checks.

The centre shop can supply all that is needed when adopting an animal.

Please allow at least 30 minutes for a single adoption and 1 hour for two adoptions.

The donation fee will be taken on the day of adoption.

Approximately 3 months after adopting, a volunteer home visitor will be in touch to carry out a post home visit to see that the adoption has been a success!

Please note: the adoption process for small mammals can be slightly different. Please find more information in the FAQs below.

Rehoming costs

There is an Adoption Donation which varies with the type of animal being adopted. The Donations are as follows:

  • Dog adoption: £180
  • Puppy up to 4 months old: £250
  • Cat adoption: £70

(For dogs and cats this fee includes: neutering, micro chipping, vaccinations, worming, flea treatment and a health check)

  • Ferret adoption: £30 (per animal)
  • Rabbit adoption: £30 (per animal)
  • Guinea pig adoption: £25 (per animal)
  • Chinchilla adoption: £25 (per animal)
  • Small aviary birds and cockatiels: £10 (per animal)
  • Hamsters, gerbils, rats, etc: £10 (per animal)
  • Parrots and parakeets: TBA


Questions about adoption

What is the process for adopting a rabbit?

Due to the bonding process between rabbits some elements of our adoption process are different, as follows:

We require confirmation that the rabbit accommodation is constructed and in situ and is to the required measurements (45-50sqft), within 7 working days of the reservation being taken. The request for a home visit will not be sent to the Home Visit Co-ordinator until the documents have been received. If receipt of required documents has not taken place, the Centre reserves the right to cancel the reservation.

The Rehoming centre will contact the applicant to give the report of the home visit, advise amendments or arrange an appointment to visit the rabbits for adoption or introduce an existing rabbit(s) to the adopting rabbit(s).

  • Once a suitable Rabbit has been selected, they will be fostered to the adopter for a maximum period of two weeks for the bonding process. We offer a bonding service on site free of charge subject to available space.
  • The adopter will be required to complete all relevant fostering paperwork.
  • The adopter will continue to bond the existing rabbit and the adopting rabbit within the adopting home. Literature and centre staff support will be provided and must be followed.
  • Once a successful bond has been achieved the adopting rabbit can be adopted.

If the bonding process is not successful, we ask that the adopters contact us to make arrangements to take the rabbit(s) back into our care. It may be a little while before we can take the animal back into our care due to the number of spaces we have available. However, we will help as soon as we possibly can. All returns must be by prior arrangement wherever possible.

The adopting rabbit may be required to return to the centre on day of adoption for relevant health checks to be completed. At point of adoption, the adopter will complete RSPCA adoption paperwork, microchip transfer of ownership, receive all previous health information including vaccinations, worming and flea treatments and health checks.

Approximately 3 months after adopting, a volunteer home visitor will be in touch to carry out a post home visit to see that the adoption has been a success.

What do you look for in a new adopter?

Every adopter is different, but some of the check we undertake are:

  • That everyone at the address has met the animal and is happy to continue with the adoption
  • That existing animals in your home will be happy with the new arrival (for rabbits, see our additional information on the adoption process)
  • That you have obtained any relevant landlord permission to have an animal on premises
  • Your current pets are all up to date with their vaccinations
  • You can provide suitable accommodation for your new pet (e.g. meeting our minimum size requirements, shelter/shed/cat flap, fully secure if adopting a small mammal).

Do you run a waiting list?

We cannot hold your details to wait for a suitably matched animal due to the sheer number of enquiries we receive. We ask that you please keep an eye on our website and contact us once you see an animal you may be interested in adopting.

I already own another pet, can I still rehome from you?

We will ask you about your existing pets when you apply, and will assess each situation based on the animals’ needs. Depending on the animal you are seeking to rehome, you may be invited to visit with your pet (e.g. for a dog meet and greet, or rabbit bond) to see how they get along.

I’m a first-time pet owner, can I still apply to rehome?

If you are a first-time pet owner, think carefully about which type of animal may suit you best. We welcome first time owners for animals suited to more inexperienced rehomers.

What happens if I am unsuccessful in my rehoming application?

Not every home is a perfect match. Sometimes there is a more suitable match available, or it may be that there are elements of your home environment that don’t meet our criteria. We will do our best to share any feedback with you on how you can improve your rehoming chances next time.

Why are your rehoming criteria so thorough?

We aim to give rescued animals the best possible home based on their needs. Our rehoming criteria reflects the needs of that particular species and ensures they will be happy both physically and mentally in their new home.