Free Pet Adoption and Unadvertised Exceptions



I want to preface this post by saying that I am not complaining about how my thwarted adoption experience played out. The problem I have is the misleading advertising by the Charleston Animal Society. While I believe that the Charleston Animal Society is a great place that does great work for animals, I do believe that their marketing may have been a little over zealous which led to misleading advertising. Allow me to explain.

On Friday, August 2, I met with someone I had been corresponding with regarding a dog from the shelter. He had been in foster, but was displayed on the website as a resident of the shelter.

I had read the website (see photo above) as well as advertisements stating that ALL animals at the shelter were free for adoption. As you can see, it states that ALL animals, or EVERY animal adoption is free. There is no notice that some animals are not subject to the free adoption. Nothing at all indicates that there are exceptions to ‘ALL,’ but there are. And I found out the hard way.

After corresponding for several days with the person who had the dog, finding out about him, receiving adorable photos and getting really excited, we arranged a meeting for Friday. I never asked if the dog was free to adopt because, well, all the advertising, the website and even the video display at the shelter itself said ALL adoptions were free.

Guess I was to silly to assume that ALL meant ALL.

So, the day finally came. I was so excited I couldn’t even eat that morning. I could not wait to meet the dog I wanted to bring home and make part of my family. I had fallen in love with the photos and the things the foster mom had communicated to me. He sounded fantastic!

My husband and I got there really early and we waited. When the dog got there he was even cuter than his photos. He seemed happy but I sensed that he needed to bond with someone and I was ready to give him that bond. We walked outside to spend some time with him and that is when the bomb was dropped on me.

This dog did not qualify for the free adoption program. This dog was not part of the ‘ALL’ animals for adoption. I am not certain what the difference was; it was never explained to me. I was told that I could adopt him for a ‘small donation’ to the shelter. I had not come prepared to pay anything. I had gotten some things for the dog I thought I was going to get and my next payday was a week away.

He would have had the best food, lots of love and great care but at that very moment I was not prepared to pay anything. The ‘small donation’ was not even defined so I don’t know if they meant $20 or $200. All I knew is that we had nothing on us at the time because of the misleading advertising.

I was heartbroken. I had to walk away after being so excited; after believing that ‘ALL’ really did mean ‘ALL.’

As I said, if they have exceptions to the free adoptions, that is fine. But it needs to be indicated somewhere in the advertising. Maybe change ‘ALL’ to ‘MOST’ so at least prospective adopters will know to inquire first. I don’t know if I am the only one who has encountered this problem, but I can only imagine what would happen if a child was involved in this and had the deep disappointment that I did.

I went there expecting to bring home a new family member but went home empty handed. I just feel deceived but that may be the literal mindedness of the Asperger’s.

I just really, truly believed their advertisement and believed that ‘ALL’ really meant ‘ALL.’ A sad lesson learned.


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