Policy and Procedures for Adoption of Research or Teaching Animals

This policy defines the circumstances and procedures by which University-owned dogs, cats, and horses no longer needed for University research or teaching (collectively “Research Animals”) may be offered for adoption as pets.


This policy applies to all University units, employees, and students.


The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation (“VCRI”). The VCRI is designated by the Chancellor as the Institutional Official with responsibility for animal care and use. The VCRI assigns responsibility for enforcement of this policy to the Chair of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (“IACUC”) and the Attending Veterinarians (see https://cam.illinois.edu/policies/rp-12/ for definitions).


  1. Research Animals no longer needed for University research or teaching may be eligible for adoption either when adoption is indicated as an option on the relevant IACUC protocol or is required by the research sponsor.
  2. Attending Veterinarians have authority to determine whether a Research Animal is in suitable health and has suitable behavior for adoption.
  3. Adoptions must be approved by the IACUC Chair or IACUC designated Animal Adoption Coordinator.
  4. The VCRI, IACUC Chair, or the Attending Veterinarian may deny any adoption request for any lawful reason.
  5. Only University of Illinois students and employees or foster-based animal adoption agencies that are approved by the Attending Veterinarian are eligible to adopt approved Research Animals.
  6. An individual may adopt a maximum of two Research Animals. Consideration of future adoptions by an individual will require them to report on the status of the previous animals adopted.


  1. Eligibility of Donated Animals. A Research Animal that was donated to the University (or the University of Illinois Foundation) whose value exceeds $5,000 will not be eligible for adoption unless:
    1. It 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 Donee Information Return, that use of the animal:
      1. was related to the University’s exempt purposes, or
      2. was not related to the University’s exempt purposes and the intended use of the animal became impossible or infeasible to implement.
  1. Determination of Disposition. The Principal Investigator (“PI”) must describe in the animal use protocol submitted to the IACUC the eventual disposition (euthanasia, transfer to another protocol, or adoption) of all Research Animals to be used. Where the sponsor has mandated, in writing, that Research Animals are to be offered for adoption following completion of the study, the IACUC will assume adoption is the proper disposition. In any case, transfer or adoption may be precluded by problems of health or temperament, or other unforeseen problems. When the protocol lists adoption as a possibility, final disposition of the Research Animals will be determined by the IACUC Chair or IACUC designated Animal Adoption Coordinator, in consultation with the Attending Veterinarian or designee, on the following prioritized basis:
    1. transfer to another protocol and 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.
  1. Cost of Care. Pending final disposition of the Research Animal, the PI and their home unit will be responsible for paying the university’s full unsubsidized per diem rate for the care of all non-terminal Research Animals following the completion of the study or instruction. No federal or state funds will be used to cover per diem charges for Research Animals during the adoption process. If adoption is anticipated, funds should be identified 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. Research Animals on active protocols have priority for housing. Pending adoption, Research Animals will be housed on a space-available basis.
  1. Adoption Procedure. In order for a Research Animal to be adopted, the following procedures must be completed in sequence:
    1. The PI will notify the IACUC Office that a Research Animal is available for adoption.
    2. The IACUC Chair or designated Animal Adoption Coordinator, in consultation with the appropriate Attending Veterinarian, will review the IACUC protocol and determine if:
      1. other faculty members have a need for the Research Animal in their teaching or research programs and
      2. the Research Animal in question is suitable for use in the research or teaching activity to which they would be transferred. In all cases except where the sponsor mandates adoption, the University’s teaching and research needs should be considered before Research Animals are released for adoption.
    3. Before releasing a Research Animal for adoption, the PI must assure the IACUC Chair and the Attending Veterinarian, by completion of the IACUC Investigator Request for Release of Animal for Adoption form IACUC website link to form, that in their opinion, the Research Animal would make a suitable pet.
    4. The Attending Veterinarian or designee will perform a physical exam of the Research Animal and must certify that it is suitable for adoption before it is eligible for release.
    5. Cats and dogs must be current on required vaccinations and spayed/neutered prior to adoption.
    6. Once these conditions have been met, the Research Animal can be offered for adoption. The IACUC Office will notify employees and students covered by relevant IACUC protocols that the Research Animal is available for adoption. Where an eligible employee or student is not identified for adoption of a dog or cat, the university may release the animal to a foster-based animal adoption agency approved by the Attending Veterinarian and the IACUC Chair or designated Animal Adoption Coordinator.
    7. The person who seeks to adopt the Research Animal must complete and submit the IACUC Request for Adoption of Purchased Research/Teaching Animals form found at IACUC website address for form.
    8. In all cases, the VCR, the IACUC Chair, or the Attending Veterinarian may deny any adoption request for any lawful reason. If the IACUC Chair and the Attending Veterinarian approve the adoption, the prospective owner must assume responsibility for all future husbandry and veterinary costs.

The forms referenced in this document are available at https://animalcare.illinois.edu/compliance-safety/animal-care-forms-checklists-templates 


Exceptions to this policy must be approved in writing by the VCRI or the Institutional Veterinarian.


The IACUC <iacuc@illinois.edu> or the VCRI office <ovcri@illinois.edu>.