Adoption of Animals Used in University-Sponsored Activities

To establish the circumstances and procedures by which animals used in University-sponsored activities and that are owned by the University and considered property of the State of Illinois, may be considered for adoption as pets.


This policy applies to live vertebrate animals owned by the University and used in University-sponsored activities either in campus facilities or at off-campus locations.


Vice Chancellor for Research.


  1. Upon completion of a research or teaching project, dogs, cats, horses, and ornamental fish that are not needed for another approved research or teaching protocol may be considered for adoption. Domestic ornamental fish from a research or teaching protocol may be adopted as pets, but not to stock ponds for fishing or to serve as food for other animals.
  2. Adoption will be granted only to University of Illinois students, staff, and faculty when adoption is indicated as an option on the relevant approved Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) protocol(s).
  3. An individual may adopt a maximum of two animals. Future adoptions may be considered when one or both of the original adopted animals die. The Chair of IACUC will determine on a case-by-case basis the number of fish that may be adopted.
  4. The Animal Adoption Coordinator will consider requests for adoption of animals subject to this policy on a case-by-case basis.
  5. Animals from a research study will be considered for adoption if the funding entity has specified this as a requirement.
  6. In all cases, the Institutional Official, IACUC Chair, or the Attending Veterinarian have the right to deny any adoption request.


The Vice Chancellor for Research as the Institutional Official assigns the Chair of the IACUC or a designated member of the IACUC Office staff as the Animal Adoption Coordinator for university-owned animals.

The eventual disposition (euthanasia, transfer to another protocol, or adoption) of all animals used for teaching or research must be clearly stated within the approved IACUC Animal Use Protocol. Specific requirements concerning disposition of animals by a funding or sponsoring agency should be noted in the animal use protocol. When there is documentation from the entity funding the research that mandates adoption, the IACUC will assume that the animals are to be adopted, rather than transferred to another protocol.

When the option for an animal is either adoption or transfer to another protocol, the Principal Investigator (PI) will notify the designated IACUC staff who, in consultation with the Attending Veterinarian or designee, will decide the final disposition of the animal(s) on the following prioritized basis:

  1. Transfer to another approved protocol for use by another faculty member of the University of Illinois.
  2. Consideration for adoption if transfer to another research or teaching protocol is not appropriate.

Problems of health or temperament, or other unforeseen problems, may preclude transfer between protocols or adoption.

The following sequential procedures must be completed: In order for an animal to be considered for adoption:

  1. The PI listed on the Animal Use Protocol will notify the IACUC Office that the animal(s) is available for adoption.
  2. The IACUC Chair or designee, in consultation with the appropriate Attending Veterinarian and the relevant IACUC protocol, will determine if:
    1. other PIs have a need for the animal(s) in their teaching or research programs, and
    2. the animal(s) in question are suitable for use in the research or teaching protocol to which they would be transferred.

    In all cases, needs of the University teaching and research programs should be considered before animals are released for adoption, except in the case where adoption is mandated by the funding entity.

  3. If the animal(s) are released for adoption, the PI must complete the Investigator Request for Release of Animal for Adoption form to assure the IACUC Chair and the Attending Veterinarian, that in the PI’sĀ opinion, each animal that may be available for adoption would make a suitable pet.
  4. The Attending Veterinarian or his/her designee will perform a physical exam of the animal(s) and certify that the animal is suitable for adoption.
  5. The IACUC Office will notify only faculty, staff, and students listed on the relevant IACUC protocol(s) of availability of the animal for adoption.
  6. To affirm that the potential owner will obtain the necessary vaccinations and, if applicable, have the animal(s) neutered and pay for such procedures, the person desiring to adopt the animal(s) must complete the Request for Adoption of Purchased Research/Teaching Animals form.

Once these conditions have been met, the animal(s) can be offered for adoption.

In all cases, the Institutional Official, IACUC Chair, and/or the Attending Veterinarian has the right to deny any adoption request. If the IACUC Chair and the Attending Veterinarian approve the adoption, the prospective owner must make an appointment at their own expense for the animal to be examined, vaccinated if necessary, and neutered (if animal to be adopted is a dog or cat) by a veterinarian.

The fiscal responsibility for all non-terminal animals will remain the responsibility of the PI or their home department following the completion of the study or instruction until final disposition is accomplished. The PI or department will be charged the full unsubsidized per diem rate for the care of these animals. No federal or state funds will be used to cover per diem charges for animals during the adoption process. If adoption is anticipated, the PI should identify funds in advance for extending the per diem period and for covering the cost of the required physical examination prior to adoption. Some sponsors will consider requests to fund per diem beyond the length of a study in order to permit adoption. Animals on active research or teaching protocols have priority for housing whereas animals pending adoption can only be housed on a space-available basis.

To avoid tax complications for donors, in general, any animal donated to the University (or the University Foundation) whose value exceeds $5,000.00 will not be eligible for adoption unless:

  1. the animal was owned by the University (or the Foundation) for a minimum of three years, or
  2. the University (or the Foundation) certifies on IRS Form 8282 that
    1. the use of the animal was related to the University’s tax exempt purposes, or
    2. the use of the animal was not related to the University’s tax exempt purposes and the intended use of the animal became impossible or unfeasible to implement.

The forms referenced in this document are available at


Any exceptions to this policy must be approved in writing by the Vice Chancellor for Research.


The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee or the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.