How rehoming works2018-02-20T11:44:34+00:00

Adoption procedure

We are looking for life-long, permanent homes for our animals and we need to be sure you can provide such a home. This means we have to ask questions about your personal circumstances, including your ability to meet routine and emergency vet bills, which will become solely your responsibility following adoption.

Ideally all members of the household must come to the animal centre before any small animal can be reserved for you. If this is not possible we at least ask for the primary carer of the animal to visit the centre with permission from the property owner where the animal will live. We will normally “hold” the animal of your choice for 48 hours, this will allow everyone to come along and agree to the new addition.

A home checker will need to visit you at home before you can adopt any animal, alternatively if you can bring the animal’s accommodation down to the centre this will avoid a home visit taking place.

We only adopt small animals as family pets and not for breeding purposes.

We do encourage that some small animals are kept in pairs or groups.

We may arrange to do a post adoption visit to see how your new pet is settling in.

Adoption fees

Guinea Pigs – £20* or £30 per pair

Rats – £12 or £20 per pair

Mice – £7 or £12 per pair

Dwarf Hamsters – £8 or £14 per pair

Syrian Hamsters – £10

Gerbils – £10 or £17 per pair

Degus – £15 or £25 per pair

Budgies – £10 or £17 per pair

Canaries – £15 or £25 per pair

Finches – £5 or £8 per pair

Lovebirds – £25 or £40 per pair

Cockatiels – £25 or £40 per pair

Farm Birds (Chickens & Ducks) – £5

Other Birds – Price on application

Chinchillas – £50 or £80 per pair

* Guinea Pigs can be neutered for an additional fee of £40.00

These costs do not take into account the feeding, loving care and attention our small animals have had during their stay at the animal centre. Are you aware that a lot of small animals can easily become bored and need regular handling, toys for stimulation and a good and balanced diet to live a healthy and happy life?

Veterinary responsibilities

Please be aware that after the adoption, you will become legally responsible for obtaining and funding all future veterinary treatment for your new rescue animal. This includes treatment for any pre-existing condition(s) and/or any condition(s) that your new rescue animal may have contracted at the animal centre and applies whether or not the symptoms were present or made known to you prior to adoption.

Frequently asked questions about small animal rehoming

An animal on hold means that someone is potentially interested in this particular animal, but further action is needed before it can progress to a reserve. Other family members may need to meet the animal. It may be that written permission from the property owner where the animal will live needs to be obtained, or someone is simply thinking about the animal to decide if they would like to proceed any further. We will normally put an animal on hold for 48 hours.

Once all the above has been completed an animal can then be reserved and the home visit process can start.

No, not at all. Our animal centre is open six days a week (closed Mondays), including weekends and Bank Holidays (but excluding Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day). You are welcome to visit the animals at the centre at any point during our viewing hours of 11.00am – 4.00pm.

Owning a pet is a wonderful privilege, but with that comes financial and legal responsibilities. We are always very grateful for the offer of loving homes for our animals, however your current financial situation could impact on your ability to adopt, or to adopt a particular animal considering its welfare needs.  

The RSPCA Chesterfield & North Derbyshire Branch has a responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure that potential adopters have the ability to meet routine and emergency vet bills along with any other financial commitments that come with owning an animal. In some circumstances, such as people currently unemployed, on low income and/or low income benefits, we may need to ask for further information and/or evidence of your ability to fund veterinary costs so we can be sure that you are able to meet your responsibilities in relation to the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

We deal with each situation on a case by case basis but if after considering your individual circumstances and the information provided, we have any concerns about your ability to meet the costs of owning an animal, then unfortunately we would be unable to proceed with rehoming to you.

 Animal Welfare Act 2006

Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act places a duty of care on people to ensure they take reasonable steps to meet the welfare needs of their animals to the extent required by good practice. In short this means positive steps must be taken to ensure owners care for their animals properly and in particular must provide for the five welfare needs, which includes the need to protect an animal from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

Further information about what this means in practice can be found in a specific Code of Practice produced by Defra (for England) and by the Welsh Government.


We do not recommend relying on another charity to help finance your existing animal’s veterinary treatment and careful consideration should be given to this, as the charity’s service could be reduced or withdrawn at any stage or you could find that you become no longer eligible.

If you plan to use the PDSA to help finance your veterinary fees, we strongly advise that you contact them first or visit their website to check if you are eligible to qualify for PDSA veterinary services and live within a catchment area of a PDSA service. 

Please note that from 1st November 2017 the PDSA has closed its Pet Practice scheme to new registrations. In the Chesterfield area this scheme operated in conjunction with Spire Vets. This veterinary practice is therefore unable to accept any new applicants for PDSA assistance with veterinary fees.

In light of the above, we are unable to adopt to anyone who would be dependent on the PDSA or another charity as the principal source of funding for veterinary treatment and you would therefore need an alternative means of meeting these costs should you wish to rehome an animal from our animal centre.

As long as you are permanently resident in the UK and you are able to visit the animal centre as many times as necessary to complete the rehoming process, you are welcome to rehome from our animal centre.

It is worth calling the animal centre in advance to ask for more details about any specific animals you are interested in before making any lengthy journey.

Animals cannot be reserved without meeting you as this is a key part of rehoming process. To get started, please visit the animal centre to complete a small animal rehoming application form and find out more about the animals available. If this involves a lengthy trip or you are interested in a particular animal, you are welcome to call ahead to enquire further about them.

We will reserve an animal until rehoming is complete, however, it is generally not possible to reserve or place an animal on hold for an extended period of time, such as until you return from holiday or move house. This could prevent the animal from finding another suitable home and restricting us from taking in another animal needing our help.

Yes. If you live in private rented accommodation then you will need to provide the animal centre with written permission from your landlord stating that animals are allowed to live at the property.

We do not require written permission for council or housing association properties.

We aim to publish new animals on our website twice weekly and update hold and reserve information daily.

However, please be aware that our rehoming pages may not represent all the animals we have staying with us and during busy periods information may not be 100% up-to-date.

Please feel free to contact the animal centre for the very latest information.