The Difference Between “In Care” & “Available”
February 24, 2022

We receive a lot of questions about why every animal in our shelter is not available for adoption. Frankly, there is no one answer to this question.

There are many reasons why an animal could be in our shelter:

  • They could be lost/stray and we could have them posted on our Lost Pets page
  • They could be in our Safe Haven emergency housing program
  • They could be too young to be adopted
  • They could be a recent intake and have not yet been evaluated by our veterinarian
  • They could be on mandatory rabies observation
  • They could be part of an investigation by Animal Protection Officers
  • They could be awaiting transfer to another group/organization
  • They could have been recently adopted by require additional care under our medical guarantee

To further explain, here are some FAQs about the difference between animals “in care” and “available”:

What does the PEI Humane Society mean when they say that they have an animal “in care”?

An animal “in care” refers to any animal that is currently under the care and protection of the PEI Humane Society. These animals can be in foster care, in the building awaiting evaluation or assessment, or they can be on our adoption floor. Not all animals that are “in care” are available for adoption but that does not mean that they won’t be sometime in the future.

What does the PEI Humane Society mean when they say that an animal is “available” for adoption?

When an animal is “available” this means that the animal is in the shelter’s care, has been evaluated and deemed to be ready for adoption.

How long does it take for an animal “in care” to become “available”?

This depends on many factors. When very young animals arrive to the shelter, they can be in care for several weeks, until they can be appropriately vaccinated, spayed/neutered, and assessed. Very young animals need socialization and individualized care; therefore, they are often sent into foster care and return to the shelter once they are old enough to be made available for adoption. We do not adopt animals under 10-12 weeks of age as we want to ensure they’re properly socialized before being removed from littermates and/or their parent(s).

If the animal is old enough to be adopted, they may still require vaccinations and/or a spay/neuter surgery. Often, we will not make animals available for adoption until this is complete.

Adult animals may sometimes require medical evaluations and depending on their health, they may require treatment. This will be done while the animal is in care and how long this takes can vary greatly depending on the animal.

How do I find out which animals are available for adoption?

Animals that are available for adoption are posted on our website’s Adopt page under Cats, Dogs and Tiny Paws. You can apply to adopt in that section as well.

How do I ensure that I get selected for an animal before they’re put up for adoption?

This is not possible. We do not create waitlists for animals, and we do not maintain a list of adopters who are interested in specific breeds or species. It is very difficult to keep lists like this current and we do not feel that it is fair to the animals in our care.

We adopt each animal on a first-come first-served basis, and we actively try to find the best fit for each animal based on the adopters that apply. Our application process is thorough, and our Adoption and Intake Coordinator does an in-depth review of applications before approving an adopter. We do not place animals in homes where we feel that they will not thrive, therefore we look for the best possible match for each animal. Applying to adopt an animal does not guarantee you will be approved. We accept several applications on a single animal to ensure we find the best possible fit.

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