Kathy Heivilin, BS, CPIA, RBP
IACUC Vice Chair, Senior IACUC Manager
UM Biosafety Officer
Adoption of Research Animals
Date Last Reviewed: August 6, 2019
This policy provides guidelines for the adoption of research animals from the University of Montana (UM).
The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and the Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching discuss the termination of research animals at the conclusion of the research project. However, the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching, the PHS Policy, and the Animal Welfare Act
III. Position Statement
The University of Montana strongly encourages investigators to pursue adoption of companion animals as pets when they are no longer appropriate for research and teaching. However, the IACUC recognizes that adoption cannot be accomplished for all companion animals, nor is it deemed appropriate for animals with certain health conditions or those exposed to experimental conditions that could potentially jeopardize the animal's health status or ability to thrive in a new environment.
Wild mammal colonies housed long-term may only be adopted by appropriate American Zoological Association certified facilities.
It is the responsibility of the investigators working with companion animals to determine whether adoption is feasible. Adoption of an animal is at the discretion of the Attending Veterinarian. For a research animal to be eligible for adoption, the following conditions must be met:
A. The animal must be in good health and of acceptable behavior, or if any health
concerns are noted, they are clearly defined and any further treatment of the animals is
assumed by the adopting party.
B. If any drugs (FDA- approved human or veterinary) have been administered to the
animal, the drug should be disclosed to the potential adopter.
C. Animals exposed to infectious agents are not eligible for adoption.
D. Transgenic or immune-suppressed animals are not eligible for adoption.
E. Animals must be adopted as personal or family pets only and may not be sold or
given away after adoption.
F. USDA animals that are to be adopted in aggregate (e.g., as a colony) may only be
adopted by American Zoological Association (AZA) certified facilities.
G. Animals may not be used for food (human or animal consumption).
H. The adopter is responsible for any future medical care/support as may be
I. Investigators are responsible for selecting potential adopting owners.
J. Investigators must ensure that all animals are appropriately neutered if animals are
being adopted as multi-sexed pairs (this may occur at UM at the discretion of the
K. The adopter is responsible for providing appropriate transport caging for an animal
The IACUC recommends the following set of procedures:
A. The Principal Investigator (PI) must first indicate that the animal is not needed for
research, state that s/he has no knowledge of any fact that would make
B. The UM Attending Veterinarian will conduct a physical exam of the animal. A
copy of the physical exam results will be retained on file and a copy furnished to
the prospective owner.
C. If an individual indicates an interest in adopting an animal, the Attending
Questionnaire for Animal Adoption will be filled out to determine the
reasons for adoption and the person's willingness and ability to provide for the
animal to the new owner.
E. For USDA-regulated species,
than Dogs and Cats") must be completed by the PI and given to the IACUC
Coordinator. The form is at
F. The individual desiring to adopt the animal should complete and sign
Animal Adoption Agreement form (attached Appendix II). The original copy of this
record as well as a copy
G. On the day the UM Animal Adoption Agreement is signed, the animal will be
transferred from the University of Montana facilities to the new owner. Once the
animal leaves the facility it is the possession of its new owner and the University of
Montana will no longer be responsible for the animal, its care or any damage it
University of Montana Animal Adoption Agreement
I, ___________________________________, am adopting the animal described below from the University of Montana Department of Laboratory Animal Resources, and agree to be fully responsible for its future care, treatment, actions, and well- being.
The animal described below has been examined by University of Montana veterinarian
(Dr. _____________________ ) and has been determined to appear to be both clinically healthy and suitable as a companion animal except as noted below. I acknowledge and agree that (just as with any physical examination) this does not guarantee that the animal to be adopted has no health issues, but that none are known based upon that examination.
I have been given a copy of the University of Montana “Animal Adoption Agreement”. Having read this document, I attest that I understand the terms under which I take ownership of this animal and agree to fully comply with all the conditions of adoption. Additionally, I have had an opportunity to ask any health and husbandry-related questions and each question has been answered to my full satisfaction.
In accepting this animal, I agree to care for it in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations of my and/or the animal’s place of residence, including but not limited to having the animal spayed or neutered if applicable, vaccinated as appropriate and registering the animal with local animal control officials as required. I further agree not to use this animal as a food source (for humans or other animals) or religious object or for any commercial purpose, including but not limited to breeding and exhibiting. I will not sell this animal or relinquish this animal to a shelter or rescue organization nor will I release the animal into the wild.
By signing this agreement, I acknowledge and I hereby release and indemnify the University of Montana, its trustees, officers, employees and agents from any and all liability, claims, and expenses resulting from this adoption. I understand that the University of Montana is not liable for the animal’s continuing care or veterinary treatment, or for any damages arising from my ownership of the animal once it has been removed from the University of Montana facility.
New owner: ___________________________________________________________________ Address:____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
University of Montana Attending Veterinarian Signature:
_________________________________________________ Date: ______________________