Office of Research Animal Adoptions - Office of Research

Animal Adoptions


This policy provides guidance to investigators and other personnel concerning the adoption of animals owned by the University for the purpose of research or teaching.


An animal that participated in research or teaching may be adopted as a companion animal provided the animal is in good health, has an expectation for a normal quality of life, and has a suitable temperament. The individual adopting the animal (adopter) must demonstrate that they can provide a suitable home for the adoptee when it leaves the University. Once the animal has left the University, it cannot be returned.


Some animals are not available for adoption because state and University policies or regulations prohibit private ownership or donation of some species. Examples include, but are not limited to, nonhuman primates, transgenic animals, animals requiring a California Department of Fish and Wildlife Permit (e.g., ferrets, gerbils, deer), and livestock with a deemed value (P&P 340-30 Disposal of Agricultural By-Products).

The typical mechanism for adoption is initiated by the identification of an individual who wishes to adopt and assume permanent ownership of the animal. Under special circumstances, and with permission from the Attending Veterinarian (AV) or designee, a temporary home may be found through a rescue, foster, county shelter, or SPCA group who will assume full responsibility for the care and welfare of that animal until a permanent home can be identified.


  1. Animals considered suitable for adoption must be identified on the IACUC protocol (Section 17: Disposition of Animals) by including the following: “Animals will be adopted out at the conclusion of the project per IACUC policy 36”.
  2. The Principal Investigator (PI) will be responsible for the per diem charges, veterinary care, and behavioral service fees associated with the adoption. All dogs and cats must be fully vaccinated (e.g., FVRCP or DHLPP within a year, depending on species, and rabies within one or three years depending on vaccine) prior to adoption. All dogs, cats, and rabbits must be neutered prior to adoption. Neuter procedures may be completed by the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) or Campus Veterinary Services and will follow standard veterinary practice for anesthesia, procedure, recovery, and post-operative care. An animal cannot leave the University until the responsible veterinarian deems the animal fully recovered from surgery.
  3. Once the studies with the animals have been completed, selected shelters, the SPCA, and, where appropriate, rescue organizations, may be notified of the availability of the animals. Advertisements to the general public are prohibited without the expressed written consent of the AV or designee.
  4. Animals used for noninvasive experimental procedures that have not resulted in any physiologic or physical changes (e.g., pharmacokinetic study, behavior study) may be adopted if they are determined by the AV or designee to be in good health and with a suitable temperament. Prior to adoption, the AV or designee must be contacted in order for the assessment of the suitability of the animal for adoption as well as the person requesting to adopt the animal. The AV or designees will conduct this assessment within 10 business days after notification from investigators.
  5. The adopter must be able to provide evidence of suitable housing, husbandry, companionship, and veterinary care to the animal. Persons requesting ownership assume full responsibility for the adopted animal.  If the home is considered temporary, the person or organization must assume responsibility for the animal until a suitable permanent home is found.
  6. Individuals interested in adopting a former research or teaching animal must complete an “Adoption Request/Questionnaire” form stating their name, address, a description of housing available for the animal, and a description of their rationale for the request to adopt the animal. Adoption Request/Questionnaire forms are available from CampusVeterinary Service at 530-752-0514. The individual or agency representative requesting to adopt the animal must sign a release of liability prior to adoption.
  7. The Adoption Request/Questionnaire form will be reviewed by the Campus Veterinary Services Adoption Coordinator. The Adoption Coordinator will verify that the potential adopter understands the adoption policy and the responsibilities of adopting a research or teaching animal. The adoption may be approved provided all the criteria for adoption have been met.  Dogs must be found suitable for adoption based on physical examination and may be assessed by the VMTH behavior services team if deemed necessary by the clinical veterinarian in order to determine if the temperament is suitable for adoption. If an animal is deemed unsuitable for adoption, the PI may appeal the decision to the IACUC.
  8. The adopter will receive a copy of the signed “Adoption Request/Questionnaire” form and vaccination history if applicable on or before the day the animal is adopted and relocated to the new home.
  9. Adoption of animals housed at the Center for Equine Health (CEH) must follow the CEH Acquisition, Use and Disposition of Horses Policies and Procedures, and the IACUC adoption policy.
  10. Facility Managers may use the UC Davis Adoption Request/Questionnaire form or another form approved by the AV or designee.

Procedure:       IACUC-36
Date:              September 8, 2016
Enabled by:    NA
Supersedes:    November 15, 2012