Pet adoption shouldn’t be stressful or confusing for military personnel. That’s why this guide will help military families in the Onslow County area that are considering pet adoption make the best decision for them.
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Rules on base
If you live in base housing on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station New River, you are allowed to have a limit of two domestic pets, though certain protocols outlined in the Domestic Animal Control order must be followed.
For example, all dogs and cats must be microchipped and registered, then re-registered annually, through the Domestic Animal Control Office (DACO).
Base residents have up to five days to register their pet once moved in on the installation, according to Michael Newson, Special Law Enforcement supervisor for base DACO. Pets must be present during registration to be observed and have their chip scanned.
Prohibited canine breeds include full and mixed breeds of Pit Bulls, Rottweiler, wolf hybrids or any dominant, aggressive canine breeds, per the order. There are also certain rules on inoculation against rabies, distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus. All vaccinations and procedures listed in the order must be up to date.
In the case that you must surrender a pet, it is the owner’s responsibility, Newson said. You may take it to any local shelter after notifying DACO as soon as possible so the pet can be removed from the system and the owner will no longer be responsible.
Tips and locations
Onslow County Animal Services (OCAS) does not discriminate due to breed, but advises renters to review landlord limits, such as breed, age and weight restrictions, prior to considering adoption.
“OCAS is happy to adopt to our military residents,” said Jennifer Monteforte, OCAS community outreach coordinator. “We do not have any specific requirements for military personnel or families, but do recommend that they take the time to make an informed decision.”
Consider relocation risks and fostering
Monteforte says adoption is a lifetime commitment. Potential adopters should consider cost of care, housing requirements, lifestyle and future plans like deployments and moves.
For families not yet ready to own a pet, fostering is an option.
“OCAS does offer opportunities to foster,” Monteforte said. “Fostering can be a rewarding but short-term commitment for those who may not be able to adopt, but want to share their love with a shelter pet.”
Ask yourself the basics
“Lifestyle is also an important consideration when deciding what type and breed of pet is a good fit,” Monteforte said.
Are you prepared to take on the costs of pet ownership and veterinary care? Will you be able to give the pet enough attention? Asking yourself these questions about what exactly you are looking for in a pet will simplify the adoption process.
“If you are deploying and leaving behind a spouse and a house full of children, maybe consider a cat or low energy breed dogs, animals that don’t require a lot of exercise and maintenance for your spouse in your absence,” suggests Jewell Horton, manager at the Pender County Animal Shelter in Burgaw, which also adopts to military families.
Have a backup plan
“If someone is active duty and lives on base or is deployable we will steer them away from restricted breeds that may cause an issue down the road at the next duty station,” said Amy Burdulis, president of Colonial Capital Humane Society in New Bern.
Burdulis also says that they ask military families about pre-planning for overseas moves and if potential adopters have family who could take the pet in so it doesn’t have to be returned.
“In general, we process the application the same as all others because we are always looking at what is best for our animals and finding the right fit for the applicants,” Burdulis said.
Craven Pamlico Animal Services Center in New Bern also adopts to military personnel, but only allows Pitbulls or Pit mixes to be adopted by military families that own their home due to the military housing policy.
Adoption First Animal Rescue in Jacksonville adopts to military personnel, if approved in other areas of the application. Their dogs come from shelters in the area that are at risk for euthanasia.
Ruby’s Misfits Animal Rescue in Richlands adopts to military families under the agreement that if they move out of state and decide not to keep the dog, they will have it transported back.
Misplaced Mutts in Beaufort evaluates each adopting situation on a case by case basis. They also rescue homeless pets, provide pet care and have a fostering program.