Policy for Adoption of Research or Teaching Animals

This policy defines the circumstances and procedures by which university-owned animals no longer needed for university research or teaching (collectively “university-owned animals”) may be offered for adoption.


This policy applies to all units with a university-owned animal and persons adopting a university-owned animal.


The Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation (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 Animal Care Program (ACP) Attending Veterinarian (see https://cam.illinois.edu/policies/rp-12/ ).


  1. University-owned animals no longer needed for research or teaching may be eligible for adoption only when adoption is indicated as an option on the relevant IACUC protocol or adoption is required by the research sponsor.
  2. An 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 universityʼs exempt purposes, or
      2. was not related to the universityʼs exempt purposes and the intended use of the animal became impossible or infeasible to implement.
  3. The Attending Veterinarian or designee has the authority to determine whether a university-owned animal is in suitable health and has suitable behavior for adoption and must approve all adoptions.
  4. Once a university-owned animal is deemed eligible and suitable to adopt, the following outlines the eligibility order for who can adopt:
    1. Priority is given to University of Illinois students and employees.
    2. Individuals not affiliated with the university as approved by the Attending Veterinarian on a case-by-case basis.
    3. Foster-based animal adoption agencies that are approved by the Attending Veterinarian.
  5. Individuals are limited to two former university-owned animals in their care concurrently. Consideration of future adoptions by an individual will require them to report on the status of previously adopted animals. Exceptions to this two-animal limit may be granted by the Attending Veterinarian.


  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 university-owned animals to be used. Transfer or adoption may be precluded by problems of health or temperament, or other unforeseen problems. When the IACUC protocol lists adoption as an approved option, final disposition of the university-owned animals will be determined by the IACUC Chair or designee in consultation with the Attending Veterinarian. As such, transfer of the animal to another IACUC protocol will be the priority, so the animal can be used by another PI at the University of Illinois. If this is not possible, then the animal will be considered for adoption.
  2. Cost of Care. Pending final disposition of the university-owned animal, the PI and their home unit will be responsible for paying the universityʼs per diem rate for the care of the university-owned animals following the completion of the study or instruction. No federal or state funds will be used to cover per diem charges between study completion and transfer of ownership. If adoption is anticipated, funds should be identified in advance for extending the per diem period prior to adoption. Some sponsors will consider requests to fund per diem beyond the length of a study to permit adoption.
  3. Adoption Procedure. For a university-owned animal to be adopted, the following procedures must be completed in sequence:
    1. The PI will notify the IACUC Office that a university-owned animal is available for adoption through submission of the Investigator Request for Release of Animal for Adoption form.
    2. The IACUC Chair or designee, in consultation with the Attending Veterinarian, reviews the IACUC protocol and determines that:
      1. other PIs do not have a need for the university-owned animal in their research or teaching programs, or
      2. the animal in question is not suitable for use in the research or teaching activity to which they would be transferred.
    3. The Attending Veterinarian or designee will perform a physical exam of the university-owned animal and must certify that it is suitable for adoption before it is eligible for release.
      1. Animals must be current on required vaccinations.
      2. Cats and dogs must be spayed/neutered prior to adoption.
    4. Once these conditions have been met, the university-owned animal can be offered for adoption.
    5. The person who seeks to adopt a university-owned animal must complete and submit the Request for Adoption of Purchased Research/Teaching Animals form.
    6. When an adoption is approved, the prospective owner must assume responsibility for all future husbandry and veterinary costs.
    7. The Attending Veterinarian or designee will submit a completed Request for Animal Adoption Checklist along with all other adoption paperwork and relevant medical records for the adopted animal to the IACUC office.


Exceptions to this policy must be approved in writing by the Attending Veterinarian.


The IACUC (iacuc@illinois.edu) or the Animal Care Program (acp-admin@Illinois.edu) offices.