Barriers to Adoption In Massachusetts

SOSARL adoptions to Massachusetts are in general suspended indefinitely due to the limited resources available to meet arbitrary state mandated animal importation quarantine requirements.  THESE ARE REQUIREMENTS THAT WERE IN PLACE BEFORE AND ARE UNRELATED TO COVID-19.   If an SOSARL dog is available for adoption into Massachusetts, it will be explicitly noted in their online bio; there are only a few available for MA adoption at any time, if any.
If you are finding it difficult to adopt a pet in MA, or are frustrated by our inability to adopt to you, we would like to ask that you share your pet adoption experience with your state Legislators.  Only with your help will we be able to see changes in these regulations so that we may continue our mission to reduce the suffering of companion animals in Massachusetts.

While we sincerely apologize to those Massachusetts residents who wish to open their homes to a homeless animal, we are committed to providing a superior and efficient adoption experience for our dogs, volunteers and adopters, and the current regulatory climate in Massachusetts does not allow for that experience.  We remain committed to the health and safety of each of our dogs, adopters and volunteers.While we have always followed and adapted to the numerous legal MA adoption regulations no matter how challenging or arbitrary they have been, our experience has shown that MA importation requirements:

  • add no inherent value to the SOSARL adoption experience;
  • do not increase the safety or health potential of the animal;
  • do not increase the success rate of our adoptions;
  • create additional paperwork/documentation/vetting tracking work;
  • create additional stress (kenneling, handling and exams) on our dogs during an already very trying transition period;
  • create additional [busy] work for and stress on our volunteer Adoption Counselors (we have a limited number of counselors) who are already maxed out;
  • create additional transport and foster/RI ISO work for our volunteers;
  • create barriers to matchmaking and efficient placement into adoptive homes;
  • create additional burdens on our veterinary partners, who could otherwise be dealing with actual sick/in need animals, rescue or private;
  • create additional expenses to adopters.

While the above has always been the case, we have facilitated MA adoptions in the past to help give MA adopters a responsible rescue option as well as broaden the adopter pool for our dogs.  COVID-19 has introduced new dynamics, one of which is a significant increase in the volume of adoption applications.  As such, in 2020 we piloted the suspension of adoptions to MA residents and we found that focusing our limited resources on more efficient, non-MA adoptions, we can continue to save the same number of lives, or even more, while maintaining our standards for a superior and efficient rescue experience for our dogs, volunteers and adopters.

If you live in Massachusetts and are looking to add a pet to your family, we hope that you will consider adoption from another MA-licensed rescue or shelter (see list here).  There are many great organizations licensed in Massachusetts. Having an in-state facility is one helpful factor as a shelter/rescue in MA, but there are still many barriers to the rescue/adoption process.

We would like to ask that you share your pet adoption experience with your state Legislators.  Your feedback is imperative to help these decision-makers understand the regulations and make the enforcement affecting animal homelessnes and suffering more consistent, efficient, and appropriate. Please feel free to copy and paste our verbiage above to help shed insight into the challenges presented by the current regulations.

Thank you for considering adoption; we wish you the best in your search!

PS  Please note that SOSARL continues to remain a licensed rescue in Massachusetts and able to meet the import regulations for a very limited number of individual dogs.  At this time, only those SOSARL dogs who are more difficult to place for behavioral and/or medical reasons are considered for adoption into Massachusetts.  If an SOSARL dog is available for adoption into Massachusetts, it will be explicitly noted in their online bio; if it is not noted, the dog is not available for adoption to Massachusetts residents.

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