Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Procedures for Adoption of Research/Teaching Animals

Animals used in teaching and research are owned by the University and are considered property of the State of Tennessee. Upon completion of a research project, companion animals such as dogs, cats, and some other species may be considered for adoption, unless otherwise prohibited by university policy. Animals from a research study may also be considered for adoption if the funding entity has specified this as a requirement.

The eventual disposition (transfer to another protocol, adoption, or euthanasia) of all animals used for teaching or research must be clearly stated within the Animal Use Protocol submitted to the IACUC by the Primary Investigator (PI) listed on the protocol. Specific requirements concerning disposition of animals by a funding or sponsoring agency should be noted in the animal use protocol. When adoption has been requested as a possible method of disposition in the animal use protocol, the final disposition of the animal(s) will be decided on a case-by-case basis by the PI, in consultation with the Attending Veterinarian (AV) or his/her designee. In a case where 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. Either transfer or adoption may be precluded because of concerns of health or temperament, or other unforeseen problems.

In all cases, the 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.

The fiscal responsibility for all non-terminal research/teaching animals will remain the responsibility of the PI or his/her home department following the completion of the study or instruction until final disposition is accomplished. Animals on active research or teaching protocols have priority for housing. Pending adoption, animals can only be housed on a space available basis. There will be a $19.95 adoption fee for any microchipped animals to cover the cost of microchip ownership transfer.

In all cases, except in the case where adoption is mandated by the funding entity, the Institutional Official (IO), IACUC Chair, and/or the AV have the right to deny any adoption request. Animals may be deemed adoptable by the PI and AV with IACUC consultation when needed. Each request will be handled on a case by case basis. Cases which cannot be resolved and decided by the IACUC will be deferred to the IO. The decision maker(s) must find that in all likelihood the cost of selling the animal would be expected to be greater than any return.

All notices about animals available for adoption must originate from the PI and be approved by the IACUC Chair and/or Attending Veterinarian before being posted. Notices about animals must be made available to the general public.

Animals that have been examined by a veterinarian and have been found free of any obvious physical abnormalities or obvious infectious disease that might affect its well-being or the well-being of other animals may be adopted. Examples of criteria for determining social adjustment will include animal’s temperament and ease of handling.

Animals Excluded from Adoption

Restricted Species — Animals that are restricted, threatened, or endangered are not allowed for adoption.

Hazardous Agents — Animals exposed/challenged with hazardous agents (radioactive, biologic, chemical) may not be adopted without prior consultation/approval of the appropriate safety/compliance officer.


Approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee on January 12, 2010 – Updated April 9, 2012