Reducing long-distance adoption interest

Here's a great question a rescue asked, with our answer's helpful tips!

Q: Thank you so much for all that you do for us, we are finding really great families for our fur babies, however, I am running into people applying for my dogs either out of state of hours and hours away. How can I set parameters as far as distance? My issue is that we do home visits and because we are a small rescue, we just don't have the resources to drive hours for our home visits. Hopefully in the future we will grow, but for now, it is what it is and the home visits are very important to us. Thanks so much for any guidance you can provide.


A: Hi! We appreciate you asking about this! We completely understand this challenge that many rescue organizations and shelters face, with long distance adopters. 

We don't know of one surefire way to eliminate people from out of state or hours away applying for your pets, but there are some things you can try to reduce them as much as possible. These are what we've seen other rescues try and say helped. You can try one or more, and of course you can modify them to work best for your organization. It seems repeating your distance requirement in several places, in as short and clear text as possible, results in a better chance of potential adopters seeing and reading it. (Getting people to read much online is a challenge for everybody!)

1. In your My Shelter/Rescue Info 
add your distance limits. For example in 
Additional info about your adoption process
Come Meet Our Pets
You could type the first line ti say something simple and clear like, "We only adopt to homes in North Carolina." Or, "We only adopt with Iredell and Mecklenburg County."
2. On your website's adoption paperwork page and also at the top of your adoption application form or PDF, type something at the top like:
3. In each pet's story/description text, include your distance limit. Some rescues mix it in like
If you live in North Carolina, I would love for you to fill out an application to meet me. 
Others have used text more like...
4. Some rescues put the pet's location in the pet's name field. That can make it super clear where that pet is located, even before someone clicks on a pet in search results. So for example instead of just typing in "Fluffy" for a pet's name, you could type "Fluffy in NC" or "Fluffy - North Carolina only" or try different versions to see what works best for you!
If you try any of these, please let us know which you try and if any help, or if you have other tips share in the comments below. Thank you!
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